It is always tempting especially during holidays when there is lots of chocolate and rich food around the house to share some with the dog, especially as most dogs will eye up anything that is edible! However, feeding dogs food such as chocolate is highly harmful to their bodies. Chocolate is toxic to dogs as it contains a chemical called theobromine, this is a stimulant that effects your dog’s nervous system and heart muscle. Dogs can’t metabolize theobromine as effectively as humans, although different chocolates contain different amounts of theobromine and different sized dogs can tolerate different amounts before it affects their health, it is best to avoid giving your dog chocolate altogether to be safe. There are lots of doggie treats that are safe to give your dog and will taste just as good.
The warning signs that your dog has eaten chocolate may include vomiting, diarrhoea or hyperactivity. As the chemical is absorbed into their system their heart rate may increase which can cause arrhythmia, restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching, increased urination or excessive panting. This can lead to hyperthermia, muscle tremors, seizures, coma and even death. If you suspect that your dog has eaten harmful amounts of chocolate take them to your vet immediately.
Other harmful foods that are dangerous to your dog include sweets, raw salmon, onions and garlic in large quantities, grapes, raisins, mushrooms, caffeine and mistletoe berries. Of course there are lots of things that are harmful to dogs that we wouldn’t think twice about eating, as well as the usual things to be wary of such as household cleaning chemicals, anti-freeze, rat poison etc. To keep your dog safe, treat them as you would a small child, put dangerous chemicals in a high cupboard out of reach, to avoid the risk of them eating things they shouldn’t!