Easter is coming and those who usually frequent pet stores must have noticed the extensive offer of canine Easter eggs. But are these products really safe for dogs?
First, it is necessary to clarify that, despite having shape, color and, often, chocolate smell, products made for dogs do not have real chocolate in the formula. So, if the dog doesn’t have specific dietary or health restrictions, it’s okay to offer the treat.
“Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as “chocolate for dogs”! What exist are snacks that the brands title in this way. They have many differences from sweets for humans. The main one is the absence of cocoa and sugar, the most toxic ingredients for dogs. Among the main components of this type of “chocolate”, we have corn, rice, soy, oats, wheat, vegetables, fruits and meats”, explains the veterinarian Maurício Tomazdirector of operations for an app that offers mobile pet shop services.
Offer, but in moderation!
Although canine chocolates are considered safe for pets, some care is needed when offering the delicacy, and precaution begins at the time of purchase.
“It is necessary that the tutor always pay attention to the packaging of the product he is buying, and check if it is made especially for pets to be considered safe”, warns the veterinarian. Mariana FragosoMaster in dog and cat nutrition. For her, before offering any treat, it is important to talk to the professional who accompanies the animal to know if the product is really released.
Another care is to purchase the snack from trusted places. “Chocolate eggs made for dogs are safe, but it is worth mentioning that it is a snack, and should not be exceeded in quantity. In addition, it is important to look for the product in pet stores, being careful not to exchange it for human products”, emphasizes the veterinarian. Valeska RodriguesPhD in veterinary nutrition and professor of the Veterinary Medicine course at Unifran.
And the real chocolate?
If chocolates made especially for pets are allowed for dogs, the same cannot be said about chocolates for humans. These should be kept away from the animal feeder.
“Chocolate is a food rich in sugar and fat, it has stimulant components, such as theobromine and caffeine. Theobromine is toxic to dogs and chocolate compositions have different concentrations of this substance. Depending on the amount ingested and the type of chocolate, the clinical signs may be milder or worse”, explains Valeska.
According to professionals, if the animal accidentally eats real chocolate, the ideal is to seek the veterinarian as soon as possible. This is because the consequences range from vomiting to death.
“The consequences of chocolate poisoning will depend on the amount that the pet has ingested, and can take two to four hours to happen. In mild cases, where the intake was small, vomiting and diarrhea are frequent, however, when the amount consumed by the pet is large, heart problems, convulsions and even death can occur”, says Mariana.
Valeska also adds that, in some cases, pancreatic lesions can occur, causing the animal to develop insufficiency of this organ and need medication for the rest of its life.
Just as the consequences depend on the amount of chocolate ingested by the pet, the treatment also varies according to the same conditions, and may only involve the administration of medication until hospitalization.
“The recommended treatment is aimed at maintaining cardiovascular, renal and hepatic parameters, as well as reducing the discomfort caused by vomiting and diarrhea. Hydration is very important, because the metabolic alteration can lead to hydroelectrolytic imbalance. There is no antidote, what we do is just minimize the effects of theobromine in the puppy’s body”, concludes Valeska.