With Halloween fast approaching, pet owners may be tempted to share chocolate with their dogs, or leave it withing paws’ reach. Leading pet insurer, petGuard, have issued a warning on the dangers this popular human treat poses to dogs.

Chocolate is hazardous for dogs because it contains theobromine, a compound that humans can metabolize easily. However, dogs metabolise it more slowly, allowing theobromine to accumulate to toxic levels. This affects the heart, liver, and central nervous system. Anything containing theobromine is a toxic and potentially deadly treat for dogs.

How Severity Varies

The severity of toxicity depends on the dog’s size and the type of chocolate consumed. Cacao, as well as cooking and dark chocolate, contain higher theobromine levels, making them the most lethal for dogs. Even a small amount of these can have severe health effects. The size of the dog also matters; smaller dogs are more susceptible to dangerous side-effects than larger breeds.

As a general guideline, chocolate becomes toxic at 20 milligrams per kilogram of the dog’s weight. However, caution should be exercised, and immediate veterinary advice is necessary if a dog consumes a concerning amount.

Dog-Friendly Alternatives to Chocolate

Instead of risking a dog’s health with a toxic treat, there are dog-friendly alternatives. Stores now offer a vast array of safe, chocolate-like product for dogs, especially around Christmas and Easter. Moreover, healthy treats can be rewarding for dogs. Fruits and vegetables like apples, pineapple, cucumber, and carrots are not only loved by dogs but also provide health benefits.

James Whitten, Marketing Manager at petGuard, said: “Chocolate can be highly toxic for dogs and can cause both short and long-term health problems.”

To ensure your dog’s safety, avoid giving them chocolate, and opt for dog-friendly treats; consult with a vet if any is accidentally consumed. Better safe than sorry, and quick action can save your dog’s life.