Holiday Dog Hazards: Chocolate

assortment of white, milk, and dark chocolate piecesWith the holidays approaching, there is bound to more chocolate around your home. But, chocolate is a serious holiday dog hazard, so it’s important to keep it away from your dogs. Here’s why chocolate is dangerous to your dog and what to consider if they do end up ingesting some:

Why Chocolate is Dangerous for Your Dog

Chocolate is hazardous to dogs because of methylxanthine theobromine. It is similar to caffeine that is often used as a diuretic, muscle relaxant, or heart stimulant. While it can be fatal, ingesting chocolate will often make your dog incredibly ill and if untreated can become worse or exacerbate other problems which can also lead to death.

While you may be stocking up for Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or other holidays, you will want to be careful to keep the sweets in a sealed container and stored high, well out of your pooch’s reach. This helps keeps your dog safe during the holidays and can help you avoid a scary and costly trip to the vet.

3 Factors to Consider if Your Dog Eats Chocolate

In the event that your dog does ingest chocolate, here are a few things you should consider:

Variety of Chocolate

While the dark side may be tempting, it is the most harmful type of chocolate to your dog. The higher concentrations of methylxanthine theobromine give dark chocolate its richness and bitter taste. While dark chocolate can be excellent for us, it could cause your dog to vomit, have diarrhea, or even go into cardiac arrest. If you have decided to give out the healthier option of dark chocolate this year, be sure to keep it on the highest shelf in a secure container and watch your dog when around it.

Weight and Measures

The weight of the dog and the amount of chocolate ingested makes a difference. If a medium-sized dog of 50 pounds eats eight ounces of milk chocolate or one ounce of baker’s chocolate, it is likely that they will show symptoms of chocolate poisoning and must be taken to the vet immediately. On the other hands, it takes much less chocolate to put a smaller dog in peril. A small candy bar or a cookie may send them into dangerous vomiting or worse. Be sure to remember the weight and size of your dog when you find out they have eaten chocolate. If your German Shepherd ate your last chocolate chip cookie, they will probably be fine, but if your Dachshund ingested a few Hershey kisses, you must call your veterinarian.

Slow Symptoms

The symptoms of chocolate ingestion may take hours to develop and can last days. If you believe your dog may have ingested chocolate, you should contact your veterinarian and find out what to do. It may be that you need to watch them overnight or you may need to take them to the hospital immediately. Remember to consider the type of chocolate and the amount ingested compared to your dog’s size. This will help you find the best course of action and may save your friend.

The holidays are supposed to be a happy, cheerful, and fun time for everyone. You can help keep it that way for you and your dog by avoiding common holiday dog hazards.