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Chocolate is Sweet

Poison To Canines

That sweet devil that inveigles so many of us to indulge in way more calories than we should.
Unknown to many of its addicts, within that delicious flavor lurks two common stimulants,
caffeine and theobromine.
It's these two compounds that make chocolate a no-no for canines.
Actually it's bad for many animals, but the effects on dogs have been better studied.
Cacao, a tree scientifically known as Theobroma cacao, is the fountain of this delight.
Its seeds are roasted and ground and squeezed free of their
fat to provide the powdery substance known as cocoa.
The fat that is extracted is cocoa butter,
a popular ingredient of many sweets as well as cosmetics.
Chocolate is formed when sugar and fat are added back to cocoa.
Add milk to that and you have milk chocolate.
Theobromine is the main cause of the signs associated with chocolate poisoning.
Baker's chocolate is the most potent form of chocolate,
carrying about 400 mg of theobromine per ounce.
In contrast, milk chocolate has 46 to 60 mg of theobromine per ounce.
Theobromine has caused death at 115 mg/kg, but more typically 250 to 500 mg/kg is the lethal range.
Thus an ounce of baker's chocolate may be lethal to a 7-pound dog,
while an ounce of milk chocolate may simply make the dog sick.
The dangerous effects of a given piece of chocolate are unpredictable since the combined effect of
theobromine and caffeine is more dangerous than either substance ingested by itself.
At lower dosages, chocolate may make dogs seriously ill or cause hyperactivity and irritability.
Typically, a dog that has eaten dangerous quantities of chocolate will appear ill within 12 hours.
In addition to being hyperactive, the dog may seem nervous and flighty. He may drink a lot and vomit.
There might be diarrhea and sudden urination or a staggering walk and unexpected falls.
Seizures may occur, followed by death soon afterward.
Death can also occur with no prior signs -
theobromine interferes with the normal electrical activity and pumping of the heart.
If your dog is showing any of these signs and may have had access to chocolate,
get him to a veterinarian right away.
Treatment is aimed at preventing absorption of any remaining chocolate in his stomach or intestines
and correcting some of the neurological problems caused by the theobromine and caffeine.



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