Some dogs (and people) will eat whatever gets put in front of them. I had heard that you should never ever feed a dog chocolate, but I wasn’t sure why. I happened to be thinking about post Valentine’s Day chocolate sales and for some reason began wondering about the dog connection. I did a little research to find out why chocolate was bad for them and discovered more things that might also be harmful.
1. I don’t own a dog. I grew up with them — beautiful German Shepherds — but now I only have cats. Four cats.
2. I didn’t get any chocolates for Valentine’s Day, but my husband gave me an awesome home-made card and it touched my heart.
Back to the subject at hand.
Why chocolate is bad for dogs
Look at that face! Is there an open box of chocolates nearby? Quick, put it away.
Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, compounds that belong to a group of chemicals known as methylxanthines. The darker the chocolate, the higher the amount of methylxanthines and the greater the risk of it being toxic to a dog. Symptoms of poisoning generally depend on the size of the dog and the type of chocolate it ate.
- Increased thirst
- Abdominal discomfort
- Severe agitation
- Muscle tremors
- Irregular heart rhythm
- High body temperature
If you have any concerns at all, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.
I also found a Dog Chocolate Toxicity Meter on petMD.com. You enter your dog’s weight, the type of chocolate and amount consumed and it will let you know the level of toxicity.
Five more things you should not feed your dog
To me, not giving your dog alcohol is a no brainer, but I’ve seen pictures of people offering their dogs bowls of beer. I will not be showing any of those pictures. Alcohol has the same effect on a dog’s liver and brain that it has on humans. The difference is it doesn’t take as much or as long.
Here’s what the ASPCA says alcohol can cause in dogs:
- Decreased coordination
- Central nervous system depression
- Difficulty breathing
- Abnormal blood acidity
2. The sweetener Xylitol, which is found in gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste. It can cause an increase in insulin production, which can decrease sugar levels and lead to liver failure.
Signs of poisoning include:
- Loss of coordination
- Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can happen within days.
3. Grapes and raisins
They may be good for us humans, but grapes and raisins can cause a host of symptoms:
- Kidney failure
If you think your dog would like some fresh fruit, try slices of apples, pears, oranges, bananas or seedless watermelon.
Apparently, neither cats nor dogs are able to break down and digest lactose. If they drink cow’s milk or eat a milk-based product like ice cream, they can develop digestive problems.
5. Raw meat and meat bones
The main risk with raw meat is that it could contain harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella and E.coli.
Even though chewing on a bone is good for a dogs teeth and gums, bones are potentially dangerous because they might splinter and become lodged in a dog’s throat or puncture its digestive tract.
What do you think?
I expect a lot of people to disagree with not feeding dogs raw meat and meat bones! What’s your opinion?