What we love to eat may actually be toxic to our pets.
Twinkle got her paws on a bar of brown rice chocolate and was rushed to Mount Pleasant After-Hours Emergency Clinic. She was attended to by Dr Cheryl Ho and Rodel immediately.
Chocolate contains substances known as methylxanthines (specifically theobromine) which are toxic to dogs in certain amounts
Theobromine is a stimulant similar to caffeine. It is present at higher levels in dark chocolate and unsweetened baking chocolate compared to milk and white chocolate. The toxicity of theobromine, therefore, differs according to:
- type of chocolate ingested
- amount of chocolate ingested
- size of the dog
For a small dog like Twinkle, a 50g bar of dark chocolate can cause potentially life-threatening toxicity. Thankfully, the amount of theobromine in the brown rice chocolate bar was insufficient to cause severe toxicity.
“If your dog has ingested chocolate, take her to the vet immediately. It is important to bring along the chocolate packaging, if possible, so that we can calculate toxicity levels based on weight.” ~ Dr Cheryl Ho, Mount Pleasant Central (Whitley)
Clinical signs of chocolate toxicity include:
- Increased reflex responses
- rapid breathing
- heart palpitations
- muscle tremors
TREATMENT depends on severity of toxicity and involves:
- emesis induction (inducing vomiting)
- giving activated charcoal to bind to the chocolate
- putting the dog on intravenous fluids
Twinkle and Sasha were administered with apomorphine to induce vomiting. It can be given by injection or topically in the form of a quick dissolving tablet to the conjunctival sac of the eye.
** With festive season round the corner, keep chocolates and sweet treats out of your dogs’ reach. If you suspect they have ingested chocolates, take them to the vet immediately. Do not ‘wait and see’. Prompt treatment can save your dog’s life. **
other human foods we should not feed our dogs and cats
ALCOHOL: Just a little alcohol can cause vomiting, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, coma and even death.
GRAPES & RAISINS: Substance in grapes and raisins is known to cause kidney failure.
MILK: Most dogs do not produce sufficient amounts of the enzyme lactase to break down lactose in milk and other dairy products. Lactose intolerance leads to soft stools, digestive upset or food allergies.
NUTS: Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and elevated body temperature. Other nuts, like almonds and walnuts, contain high amounts of fats which can potentially cause pancreatitis.
ONIONS: If a large amount of onions (or garlic) is consumed, your dog could suffer gastrointestinal irritation and red blood cell damage, leading to anaemia.
SALTY FOODS: Do not share salty snacks (e.g. potato chips, pretzels) with your dog. Large amounts of salt can cause vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures.
COOKED BONES: Cooked bones can easily splinter when chewed and cause internal injuries to your dog.
XYLITOL: This artificial sweetener is used in products like candy, baked goods, toothpaste. Xylitol can cause increased insulin to circulate in your dog’s body, leading to hypoglycemia (lowered blood sugar levels) and liver failure.