Your pup got hold of some of the Hershey Kisses from your Easter basket?
Due to their content of chocolate, these popular sweets can be toxic to dogs and, in some severe cases, can lead to death.
Suppose your dog ate Hershey Kisses, or another sweet or candy bar like a Kit Kat, or any other kind of chocolate. In that case, it is essential to know some basic information, including the possible dangers, how much chocolate can kill a dog, and what to do if your pet ate chocolate.
Please, keep in mind that chocolate can lead to severe poisoning in some canines, so you should refrain from giving your pet any kind of chocolate or products containing cacao, cocoa powder, or chocolate.
Why is chocolate toxic for canines?
Chocolate contains theobromine, which is a chemical compound that affects the nervous system. Theobromine, similarly to caffeine, is a stimulant that causes a higher heart rate and blood vessel dilation. It relaxes the smooth muscles. It also acts as a diuretic in both canines and humans. But humans weigh more than dogs and are capable of breaking down the compound quickly. Dogs are smaller and cannot metabolize theobromine.
It can take up to 20 hours for the theobromine to completely leave the dog’s system.
This build-up in the body of the dog can lead to mild and sometimes severe and fatal results.
Some types of chocolate are more toxic for dogs than others.
Different types of chocolate and cacao-based products have different theobromine concentration levels.
In general, the darker and more bitter the chocolate – the more theobromine it contains. This is why dark chocolate is more toxic to dogs than milk or white chocolate.
Here are some approximate estimations of the content of theobromine in different types of chocolate and their level of toxicity for dogs:
Dark chocolate can be toxic at only 0.1 ounces per pound of the dog’s body weight
Semi-sweet chocolate can be toxic at 0.3 ounces per pound of the dog’s body weight
Milk chocolate can be toxic at 0.7 ounces per pound of the dog’s body weight
Hershey Kisses contain milk chocolate. Nine pieces of these sweets weigh 41 grams and contain 61mg of theobromine.
The toxicity of Hershey Kisses, fudge, chocolate cake, or any other chocolate product depends on the weight, health, and age of the dog, as well as the quantity consumed.
So, if you find that your pup has gobbled up several of the Hershey Kisses, we recommend that you call the pet poison control hotline or your vet immediately.
How is chocolate poisoning in dogs treated?
Your vet will give you instructions about how to act if your dog has eaten some Hershey Kisses or anything else with chocolate, such as a donut or some chocolate milk. In less worrying cases, you may be instructed to monitor your pup closely for symptoms at home. In others, you will be asked to go to the clinic immediately for emergency treatment.
Your veterinarian will run the required tests, including a blood panel and urinalysis, and can do an EKG to measure your pup’s heart rate.
The vet may induce vomiting and flush the dog’s digestive system with activated charcoal to reduce the toxic effects and theobromine levels in the body.
It may require IV infusions, heart medicine, or other therapy, depending on the severity of the poisoning and the condition of your dog.
To stay safe, we strongly recommend that dog parents keep all Hershey Kisses or any other chocolate treats, desserts, and drinks safely away from their pups! And, of course, to abstain from giving their dogs treats containing cocoa or chocolate at all!
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