Dog owners should do what they can to prevent their pets from eating chocolates, but a new study shows that they should be extra vigilant every Christmas.
Chocolate, a holiday favorite among humans, contains substances that are dangerous for dogs. To prevent unexpected and costly trips to the veterinarian, dog owners need to keep their pets away from it.
Chocolate Poisoning In Dogs During Christmas
A study published in the British Medical Journal revealed that Christmas is the day that carries the highest risk of chocolate poisoning among dogs.
Researchers analyzed all the cases of chocolate poisoning among dogs in the United Kingdom from 2012 to 2017. From 229 veterinary practices across 500 clinics, there were 1,722 cases of suspected chocolate poisoning over the six-year period, of which there were only 386 cases involving 375 dogs confirmed as legitimate cases of chocolate poisoning.
The standout findings of the analysis involved the days that carried the greatest risk for chocolate poisoning among dogs. The study discovered that chocolate poisoning for dogs was nearly five times more likely in Christmas than other non-holiday dates. This may be because, during Christmas, treats like chocolates are abundant, and with children and other family members moving about the home, it is easy to forget that there are chocolates out in the open that dogs can eat.
Easter is another holiday that is more dangerous for dogs than regular days, with cases of chocolate poisoning nearly two times more likely.
Interestingly, Valentine's Day and Halloween, two other holidays when chocolates are everywhere, do not lead to more-than-usual cases of chocolate poisoning.
What To Do When Your Dog Eats Chocolate
Chocolate contains theobromine, a chemical from cocoa beans that is not easy for both dogs and cats to process. When too much chocolate is eaten, dogs may experience symptoms such as restlessness, panting, diarrhea, faster heart rates, and vomiting.
Chocolate can also be fatal to dogs, at an amount of between 100 milligrams to 500 milligrams per kilogram of a dog's weight. The amount varies between different kinds of chocolate, with white chocolate having the least amount of theobromine and cooking chocolate having the most.
If your dog eats chocolate, the best course of action would be determine what kind of chocolate was eaten, and how much. The dog might have eaten just a little amount of chocolate that will be more uncomfortable than deadly, but it is always best to check with a veterinarian to be sure.