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Techly Explains: Why can’t dogs eat chocolate?

Chocolate and dogs are probably the two best things in the world, so why is it that they go together like Quentin Tarantino and the paparazzi?

The issue with the Rovers and Fidos of the world is that trying to prevent them from eating chocolate is a bit like telling a kid that they’re not allowed to look under your bed – it’s pretty much the first thing they’re gonna do. And when they do, things can get pretty ugly.

According to the American Kennel Club symptoms appear within six to 12 hours of ingestion, can last up to 72 hours, and include everything from vomiting and diarrhoea, to seizures and (whisper it) even death.

Also, several sources, including Petmd, suggest that the best you can really do in the event of chocolate poisoning is to seek immediate professional advice. There’s no specific home remedy or antidote available and even then, the best that veterinarians can do is to induce vomiting and run tests.

As for what specifically causes such an intense reaction, the good people over at RSPCA Australia have it pinned to theobromine, a chemical compound present in cocoa, the basis for lovely lovely chocolate.

The levels of theobromine present are in relation to how cocoa-rich the chocolate is so, for example, that fancy, dark chocolate your one mate who’s been to South America keeps insisting tastes better is more dangerous for dogs than milk or white chocolate.

Interestingly, not only is theobromine safe for humans, but actually carries health benefits. This paper studies the effect of theobromine and found that it has similar effects to caffeine – which is also present in cocoa, although “at doses that are probably not enough to activate neural mechanisms”.

All of the mood-enhancing, alertness-increasing fun of a cup of joe, but without the negative side effects, which can run from distractedness to sweating and palpitations.

Now then, that’s a whole lot of sick doggy chat to take in, and we’d like to make it up to you (we’re not here to ruin anyone’s day), so here’s a little something to cheer you back up.

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