I adore chocolate, especially at Easter time.
But very sadly it does not love me.
But I should be grateful. If I choose to eat chocolate, or any other foods based on dairy, I
only get colic-like symptoms, abdominal pain, excessive wind and other symptoms I’ll leave
out, as not suitable reading for a family newspaper column! I get over it within twelve hours
But if a dog eats chocolate then they can die.
And this just is another proof that dogs are not mini humans.
Both dogs and people can suffer from my chocolate problem, which is lactose intolerance.
Basically, I don’t create enough of the enzyme lactase. Without it, I am unable to digest the
sugar in milk called lactose. This then passes through my whole intestines, and out the other
end, resulting in a variety of unpleasant symptoms, rather like a laxative you might use if
you were constipated. Ugh!
My GP tells me it is very common for people to experience this, and for it to get worse with
age. So, no more Easter eggs for me.
Dogs and cats can be lactose intolerant. But, whereas I, and all humans, can digest the
molecule theobromine in chocolate, they cannot. And it’s this that can result in seizures,
tremors, an irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding and death.
So why do pets steal chocolate, if it is so toxic?
I can only assume it’s because it smells and tastes so good. Even I can be tempted, with all
my scientific knowledge and capacity to learn.
The risk is dependent on the size of the dog, the amount of chocolate it eats, and the quality
and type of chocolate. WE now use online chocolate toxicity calculators to assess the risk.
So, please protect your pets from accidentally eating any naughty treats this Easter.
And, if the worst should happen, and the calculator indicates a high risk, please get to the
vet fast. We have only an hour to make them bring it back up again and avoid an extended
period in intensive care to save their lives.