AUG 18, 2017 06:48 AM PDT

Why you shouldn't feed your dog chocolate

2 2 222

Have you ever wondered why veterinarians advertise chocolate as a death threat for your dog? Well, it all has to do with a molecule called theobromine, which is made of up nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon atoms. Theobromine is a type of alkaloid, which is a huge class of molecules that generally contain rings with at least one nitrogen atom. Caffeine is another alkaloid and many alkaloids like these two have physiological effects on humans and animals.

The right amount of theobromine can make our hearts pump faster, dilate our blood vessels, and give us energy, all of which we as humans tend to see as good physiological reactions - up to a point. But too much theobromine (after, say, downing a king-size chocolate bar) can make us feel sick with nausea, make our hearts pump too quickly and our muscles contract uncontrollably. This, as it sounds, can be dangerous.

But luckily for us humans, we process theobromine rather quickly and rarely does too much chocolate in one sitting cause any real health threat. An average adult human would need to eat about 8 kg of dark chocolate for theobromine to be lethal. Dogs, on the other hand, process theobromine much more slowly and the alkaloid can build up in their systems and cause all those scary symptoms. That, combined with the fact that dogs are smaller and lighter, means that a medium-sized dog would only have to eat about 1 kg of dark chocolate for the theobromine to be very dangerous for the animal.
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
JUL 04, 2018
Videos
JUL 04, 2018
Jockey Will Donate Brain for CTE Research
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a condition where the brain, after repeated traumatic impacts, is injured. Brain function slows down and cognitio
JUL 09, 2018
Videos
JUL 09, 2018
How Spiders Use Electricity To Fly
Spider rains, or ballooning spiders, are a natural phenomenon believed by scientists to be caused by the silken threads of these unique insects that genera
JUL 18, 2018
Videos
JUL 18, 2018
Brain Differences in Men and Women
Men and women are different, of that there is no doubt. In neuroscience, there has been a lot of research into these differences, as they relate to treatin
JUL 19, 2018
Videos
JUL 19, 2018
Hazmat Spill at Johns Hopkins
Biohazards are a common problem in any kind of scientific research, and if a spill of dangerous materials occurs, it can be deadly. Luckily, a recent spill
JUL 24, 2018
Plants & Animals
JUL 24, 2018
These Animals Experience Harsher Childbirths Than Humans
You might be quick to think that humans have it hard during childbirth, but compared to a few other species in the animal kingdom, humans actually have it
AUG 01, 2018
Videos
AUG 01, 2018
Why You Shouldn't Hold in a Sneeze
Despite how tempting it might be to hold in a sneeze when you’re in a public location, it’s in the best interest of your body that you just let
Loading Comments...