(Almost) everyone knows not to feed their dogs chocolate. Everyone has heard horror stories of pups raiding candy dishes or sneaking chocolate chip cookies and then being rushed off to the vet. But what the heck is the deal with dogs and chocolate anyway?
Chocolate contains theobromine. For us human, theobromine affects us like weakened caffeine. While hard to overdose on it (believe me, I’ve tried) I was surprised to learn that it can be poisonous to us in large quantities. Dogs, though, metabolize theobromine more slowly than humans which affects their heart, central nervous system, and kidneys. This means that even a small amount of chocolate can cause them serious harm. I found this cool chocolate chart to help you determine “how much chocolate is too much”, although I think it’s safe to say that even a bite of chocolate is too much for Fido.
While I would never give my dog…or any dog…ANY chocolate, I did have one client that would give her dogs M&Ms as treats. Seriously! In my experience, though, you should never make comments or vocal judgements on how people handle their own pups. Telling someone that they are feeding their dog a sub-par dog food or that they have gone about training wrong is the equivalent of walking up to a mom in a grocery store and telling her how to discipline her child. (The HORROR!) People really do take their pups seriously…and since I work for them, I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut. So while I didn’t feed this particular pooch any melts-in-your-mouth-not-in-your-hand goodness, I didn’t say a word as I knew the theobromine quantities were too small to do any harm.
While researching this post, I came across something that made me laugh. It seems that small amounts of chocolate won’t physically harm your dog, but it might cause psychological damage. Once your dog tastes that deliciousness, he or she will only crave more! This might drive them to obsess over getting another piece…and we all know how crafty and persistent pups can be when they want to get something. Eating just one “speck” of chocolate might turn your dog into an addict, and I’m not sure there is such thing as doggy rehab. (I laughed at this information because it reminded me of what I always hear about diet soda. It’s not that they are fattening, but they are addictive and will cause you to crave sweets. I am an absolute diet soda junkie.)
So make sure to keep a chocolate out of your pooches reach and don’t let any of those brownie crumbs fall to the floor. And of course, if you want to give your dog a sweet treat, we have just the thing!