|Why Dark Chocolate is so Toxic ... For Your Dog |
This interesting piece in the British Medical Journal explains why dark chocolate can be fatal if swallowed by a dog.
The main components of chocolate that are toxic to dogs are the methylxanthine alkaloids, theobromine and caffeine. Humans can easily digest and excrete these alkaloids in two to three hours, but dogs take a very long time -- 18 hours -- to absorb them, thus the problem. Often, symptoms can take as long as a day to appear, and no specific antidote exists.
Unprocessed chocolate contains the purest, highest and most lethal concentrations of theobromine for dogs, while milk and white chocolate have a fraction of those alkaloids.
The size of the dog also determines how damaging chocolate consumption will be, with smaller dogs having more difficulties.
British Medical Journal September 17, 2005; 331 (633)