Theobromine, an alkaloid found in chocolate, is a neurostimulant. Toxic to dogs, theobromine may result in poisoning and, in severe circumstances, death.
Dogs are “man’s best companions,” and they deserve a nice reward in exchange for their unconditional love and loyalty. However, you must exercise caution while selecting a gift. Unfortunately, dogs cannot partake in one of humanity’s most prized delicacies: chocolate.
Chocolate is a delicious poison for dogs
People and dogs have many of the same preferences. We all like treats in equal measure. On the other hand, dogs have catastrophic effects when they consume chocolate, unlike humans.
People are, of course, not immune to the harmful consequences of excessive sugar intake. Two of the most well-known risks of this diet are tooth decay and obesity. Overconsumption in dogs, on the other hand, may be lethal.
What is the reason behind this?
Roasting bitter cocoa seeds produces chocolate. Methylxanthines are a category of compounds found in this seed. Alkaloids are a kind of molecule that includes neurostimulants like caffeine and theobromine.
Methylxanthines prevent the activation of adenosine receptors after they’ve entered the body. Adenosine receptors make us tired and decrease our physical activity. Methylxanthines are stimulants that inhibit the body from relaxing. Although both components may induce clinical signs of chocolate intoxication, theobromine is more harmful due to its high concentration in chocolate (3-10 times more than caffeine). Plus, compared to caffeine, it has a longer half-life.
Poisoning symptoms might occur within 24 hours due to theobromine’s sluggish metabolism. Theobromine has a diuretic effect and affects the circulatory, respiratory, and central neurological systems. At a 20 mg/kg dose, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) reports minor poisoning symptoms. Diarrhea, polydipsia, and hematemesis are common early symptoms. Chronic effects begin at 40 mg/kg.
Anxiety and hyperactivity are seen in the dog. Heavy breathing and muscular twitching are possible side effects. A significant dosage (approximately 60 mg/kg) might result in seizures and cardiac arrhythmias, leading to death. The toxic concentration required to kill 50% of the sample is the LD50. This is the conventional method of estimating a drug’s fatal dosage in toxicological testing. Theobromine has an LD50 of 100-200 mg/kg in dogs.
Call your veterinarian right away if you believe your pet has ingested chocolate. Induced vomiting, oxygen, intravenous fluids, and activated charcoal are all effective therapies, despite the lack of a definite antidote.
Why isn’t chocolate harmful to humans?
Humans have enzymes that break down theobromine, such as CYP1A2 and CYP2E1. These enzymes are thought to be lacking in dogs, and no alternative metabolic route has yet been discovered. Because of the activity of enzymes, theobromine is digested quicker in humans, ensuring safe digestion and excretion.
In dogs, a small dosage of methylxanthine may produce vomiting, while in humans, it merely causes moderate euphoria. As a result, theobromine may overstimulate an animal’s circulatory and neurological systems. It’s worth mentioning that cats have a similar effect. Chocolate is also harmful to cats, but because they loathe sweet foods as much as dogs do, this isn’t a huge issue.
What is the upper limit of the tolerable dose?
The quantity of critical dosage a dog can tolerate varies depending on the breed and kind of chocolate. Bigger dogs may safely ingest larger quantities, according to experience. Even a tiny quantity may be lethal to small breeds. The way a dog metabolizes chocolate is also influenced by genetics. In a separate collection, you may learn about the world’s toughest dog breeds.
White chocolate and milk chocolate have the least amount of theobromine, whereas dark chocolate has nearly three times the amount of theobromine as milk chocolate.
It’s impossible not to be swayed by those adorable puppy eyes, and dog owners understand how difficult it is to say no to their beloved pet. Of course, you may sometimes treat your pet to a tiny quantity of chocolate; it’s perfectly harmless, but it’s best not to tempt fate. Because pet-safe chocolate does not contain theobromine, it is a safer choice. It may, however, contribute to obesity.
Carob is a unique alternative. It is caffeine-free and theobromine-free, yet it has a pleasant flavor. Carob also includes vitamins A, B, and D and other essential elements. Iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and protein are also present. Carob is a good source of fiber and pectin.
During every holiday connected with sweets, such as Christmas, Easter, and, of course, Valentine’s Day, there has been a substantial rise in the occurrence of chocolate poisoning in pet dogs. To veterinarians’ credit, these poisoning instances are seldom lethal. Our job as pet owners is to keep any chocolate boxes, cocoa cans, etc., out of reach of our furry friends.