Happy Valentine's Day folks. Today's the day we shower our beloved with large boxes of chocolates and huge bouquets of Red Roses. Today is also the day that many put their beloved pet companions at risk by unintentionally exposing them to Theobromide poisoning. Theobromide, a xanthine compound, xanthine compound in the same family of caffeine, and theophylline abounds in chocolate.
Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs
We've all heard, "Don't give your dog chocolate it will kill him." Chocolate can be fatal but the good news is that it takes quite a lot of chocolate to be fatal. How much chocolate a dog has to ingest before it becomes a fatal dose depends on many factors and there are warning signs to watch out for. Just because your companion ate one chocolate, covered cherry doesn't mean you have to rush him or her to the veterinary ER. It takes approximately 100 to 150 mg of Theobromide per Kg of body weight to cause a toxic reaction. For those who may be a little rusty converting metric weights, 1 kilogram = 2.204 622 621 8 pound. To err on the safe side figure 2 and ¼ pounds.
Milk chocolates contain 44 mg of theobromide per ounce, semisweet chocolates contain 150 mg/oz, and Baker's Chocolate contains a whopping 390 mg/oz. Using a dose of 100 mg/kg as the toxic dose it comes out roughly as: 1 ounce per 1 pound of body weight for Milk chocolate, 1 ounce per 3 pounds of body weight for Semisweet chocolate, and 1 ounce per 9 pounds of body weight for Baker's chocolate. One ounce of Baker's Chocolate could kill a full- grown Toy Chihuahua with a body weight of 6 pounds.
Theobromide affects the nervous system and the cardiovascular system and acts as a diuretic.
Clinical Symptoms of theobromide poisoning are
Increased heart rate
The bad news is that there are no known antidotes for theobromide poisoning and the half-life of this toxin is roughly 17.5 hours in dogs. The only home remedies is to induce vomiting within the first two hours of ingestion and to administer activated charcoal to inhibit absorption of the theobromide if the quantity of chocolate ingested is unknown.
If you know that a toxic quantity has been ingested or if neurological signs appear rush your pet to the emergency clinic because anticonvulsant are indicated and need to be administered by a qualified vet. The vet may also apply oxygen therapy, intravenous medications, and fluids to protect the heart if they are needed.