Alvin Raj asked:
Why is chocolate toxic for dogs?
We put this question to Sorrel Langley-Hobbs from the Vet School at the University of Cambridge. Yes. Chocolate, unfortunately, is toxic to dogs. And the reason for that is because it contains a compound called theobromine. Theobromine and caffeine are both present in chocolate but theobromine is the problem. Theyíre both methyl xanthines. In dogs, theobromine is very long lasting. So itís got a very long half-life of about 18 hours. Whereas in people, the half-life is only two or three hours. And people readily absorb the theobromine.
It's a chemical present in chocolate called theobromine that is the problem. Animals such as dogs and cats cannot metabolize theobromine effectively, in addition to having a lot less body weight than humans (although cats are less prone to eating large amounts of chocolate due to their inability to taste sweetness).
Dogs are not really equipped to digest plants and their associated toxins. Their normal food - other animals- doesn't normally contain any alkaloids to speak of so dogs don't have the enzymes to deal with them. Similalrly cats are particularly susceptible to poisoning by phenol derivatives like aspirin. Bored chemist, Tue, 15th Dec 2009
Fascinating point BC.
AFAIK theobromine is accumulative... so while a small amount of chocolate will probably be of little harm... making sure the dog doesn't get to the 'Easter hunt' eggs before the kids seems fair. JnA, Wed, 16th Dec 2009
If I catch any dog eating my choccy, it'll get a toxic size 9 steel toecap up it's ....... Don_1, Wed, 16th Dec 2009
Notwithstanding the fact that dogs can eat a vegetarian diet (though you need to be careful) it remains that case that their normal food is other animals.
DiscoverDave has given us the actual toxicity of chocolate, in respect of canines and BC has put a forward a perfectly reasonable reason why it should be the case, namely evolution. Dogs are carnivores, well the wild ones are. That is the OR answered.
very erudite and interesting thread.
I have started a new topic about pets & animal based foods.
Just as soon as someone shows me the part of a dog's DNA that codes for either the abillity to digest cellulose, or the weird multi chambered stomach or two pass systems that cattle or rabbits respectively use to digest cellulose (with, where appropriate, help form microorganisms) I will accept that I was wrong to say "Dogs are not really equipped to digest plants and their associated toxins."
Fine by me, BC, if you're willing to redefine "toxins" & also admit that using your criteria, humans are not really equipped to digest all plants since we have no microorganisms in our gut which produce the required enzymes to break down cellulose & do not make them ourselves. glovesforfoxes, Fri, 18th Dec 2009
Lots of information about theobromine metabolites being the toxic culprits responsible for poisoning dogs that have ingested chocolate...but WHY are these methyl xanthines bad news? What do they do to the dog? How would one recognise a chocolate-intoxicated animal?
Thanks Dave; so it's chiefly potentiation of adrenergic signalling - a bit like a caffeine OD in humans... Meera, Mon, 21st Dec 2009