bulldog puppy

Around this time of year, it is common to get calls from pet owners about their dogs getting into the holiday candy.  So here are a few facts about dogs and chocolate.  Chocolate can sicken and even kill dogs and is one of the most common causes of canine poisoning.

Chocolate contains two substances that are toxic to dogs; theobromine and caffeine.  Dogs metabolize these substances much slower than people do.  The buzz we get from eating chocolate may last 20 to 40 minutes, but for dogs it lasts many hours.  Both theobromine and caffeine are stimulants to the central nervous system.  If too much chocolate is ingested then the increased stimulus to the central nervous system can cause increase in blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms and possibly even death.

Dark and baker’s chocolate are the most dangerous.  Milk chocolate and white chocolate pose a much less serious risk.  Mild symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea.  More severe symptoms include hyper-excitability, hyper-irritability, restlessness, increased heart rate and muscle tremors.  If you think your pet has ingested chocolate contact your veterinarian immediately.  They can help you determine the proper treatment for your pet.