What makes chocolate so happy? The delicate melt combined with the aromatic ingredients of cocoa butter and sugar. But there is one more thing that chocolate can do: it wakes you up. This is due to the alkaloid theobromine, which is related to caffeine and has a stimulating effect. We humans – like rats and mice, by the way – can break down the “food of the gods” – from the Greek “theos” (god) and “broma” (food) – with the help of special enzymes.
Consequences of chocolate poisoning in dogs
It looks completely different with dogs. They cannot break down the alkaloid as quickly, which results in their body being poisoned. The consequences range from vomiting and diarrhea to tremors and cramps and even loss of consciousness. However, as some speculate, it will not blind them unless the dogs are given too much sugar over a longer period of time. Then, like us humans, they are more likely to get diabetes and therefore see worse.
Act immediately in the event of symptoms of poisoning
So if a dog has messed about with dominoes, truffle pralines and nougat confectionery, then they should see a veterinarian as soon as possible. Because the higher the cocoa content in the chocolate, the greater the risk of poisoning. In the worst case scenario, smaller dogs can die as a result of this poisoning. Therefore, dog owners should not leave such sweets standing around openly.
Chocolate poisoning common at Christmas
When does a dog bite most often?
The team led by veterinarian Peter-John Noble from the University of Liverpool was interested in something else. The scientists wanted to know whether the poisoning cases follow a seasonal pattern. To do this, they evaluated the data from 229 British veterinary practices from 2012 to 2017. They focused around Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, and Halloween. In their analysis, they also included information on the age, breed and sex of the dogs and the consequences of the poisoning.
The researchers published their results in December 2017 in the journal “Veterinary Record”. In fact, around Christmas the risk of chocolate poisoning for four-legged friends increases by a factor of four, at Easter it doubles. Four-legged friends under four years of age are particularly at higher risk of chocolate poisoning. Perhaps because, like human children, they simply try more out. So the veterinarians advise: Paws away from chocolate cake, Easter eggs, Santa Clauses, Advent calendars and sweet Christmas tree decorations!
“If chocolate has been eaten, owners should consult their veterinarian as soon as possible and ideally be able to tell how much and which chocolate has been eaten.”
Veterinarian Peter-John Noble from the University of Liverpool
What dogs thirst for leaves cats cold
Incidentally, cat owners can be a little more relaxed in this context: House tigers tolerate theobromine even less. But since they can’t taste sweet things, they largely ignore chocolate.