Theobromine is a type of methylxanthine, like caffeine. It's naturally found in cocoa beans and, therefore, chocolate. Theobromine poisoning in dogs is common and can be deadly if not treated right away.
Theobromine poisoning can occur if your dog ingests too much chocolate or other product containing theobromine. Methylxanthines are a class of alkaloids found in various plants' seeds, leaves, and fruit. These include caffeine (found in tea, coffee, and kola nuts), theophylline (found in tea), and theobromine (found in chocolate). Methylxanthines are also used in pet medication to treat asthma or heart problems.
Theobromine is toxic to dogs but not people because we metabolize it differently from our canine companions. Dogs lack an enzyme that helps break down this compound into its less harmful components. This can result in symptoms ranging from mild to life-threatening toxicity if a sufficient quantity is ingested by your dog or any other pet. The risk arises when you share your food or drinks containing theobromine, such as chocolate.
What It Does To Dogs
Theobromine is a naturally occurring compound found in cocoa beans, tea leaves, and coffee beans. It's also used as an ingredient in some human food products, including chocolate. If you want your dog to eat chocolate, then there are dog-friendly chocolates available at a local pet pharmacy. Theobromine affects the nervous system like caffeine does. But unlike caffeine, it takes a lot more time for your dog's body to break down this chemical.
Theobromine poisoning can cause serious health problems if ingested by dogs. Recent studies have shown that even small amounts of chocolate can be deadly to some dogs. Call your veterinarian immediately if you think your dog has eaten something toxic or poisonous, either on purpose or by accident!
Theobromine Poisoning Is Common In Dogs
Theobromine is a stimulant found in chocolate, cocoa, colas, and tea. It's known to be toxic to dogs as well as cats, let alone the sugar content in the chocolates that are packed with these compounds.
Theobromine poisoning can occur when your dog eats chocolate or other foods that contain theobromine. When ingested by dogs in high enough amounts (the amount varies depending on the type of chocolate), it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, and heart arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). It may also lead to seizures if blood levels become too high, which can be treated with the right pet meds. Severely affected animals may need emergency treatment from a veterinarian before experiencing death from their illness due to heart failure or respiratory failure.
Symptoms Of Theobromine Poisoning In Dogs
The following symptoms may indicate theobromine poisoning in dogs:
Increased heart rate (tachycardia)
Increased body temperature (hyperthermia)
Increased thirst (polydipsia) or increased urination (polyuria).
Treating Theobromine Poisoning In Dogs
If your dog is experiencing symptoms of theobromine poisoning, take him to the vet immediately. While waiting for help to arrive, give your dog activated charcoal (sometimes called cat or bird abscesses) to absorb any remaining traces of theobromine. The vet will also likely administer fluids and pet medications designed to counteract theobromine's effects. In extreme cases where your dog is having seizures and cannot be calmed down, move him into a quiet room away from noises that could agitate him further. If his situation improves but he doesn't seem fully recovered after a few hours at home, take him back so that he can continue receiving treatment until he's healthy again.
Similarities To Chocolate Toxicity
The first step in treating theobromine poisoning is to bring your dog to a veterinarian. The vet will want to know the amount of chocolate consumed, your pet's medicines, and any other relevant history. The vet will also likely want to take blood samples from your dog to test for theobromine levels and other factors that might affect treatment plans.
The next step is often an intravenous fluid drip to help flush out any toxins still lingering in your dog's system. Your vet might recommend decontamination by administering activated charcoal or performing an enema on your dog if he or she ingested large amounts of chocolate within a short time frame.
Theobromine is a dangerous toxin for dogs and cats, but it’s treatable if caught early enough. Make sure you know what to look out for when giving your pet any chocolate or cocoa product and ensure that your pet supplies are safe from contamination, and keep them away from these items if possible.