Chocolate & Aspirin

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Filed in Dogs, Safety

Dogs make wonderful companions, and sometimes it's tempting to treat them as if they were human. A table scrap here, some ice cream there.

While such occasional treats aren't that harmful to dogs, there are a couple of common household items that can be very hazardous to your dog's health: chocolate and aspirin.

Chocolate Danger: Fact or Fiction?

When you were growing up someone probably told you at one time or another that you shouldn't give chocolate to dogs. Is this statement fact or fiction?

The truth is that all dogs react differently to this sweet substance. Some dogs are able to process chocolate without toxic side effects, although diarrhea and vomiting may occur. Some dogs have an enzyme in their body that does not allow them to process the harmful substances that are found in chocolate, and these dogs tend to suffer a toxic reaction. Some have even died.

These toxic reactions can be set off by even the smallest amount of chocolate. If your dog should happen to ingest some form of chocolate, it's a good idea to contact your veterinarian immediately to have them walk you through it. So how do you know if your dog is allergic or not? You don't. It's better to be safe than sorry, so you should never give your dog any kind of chocolate. There are many different types of dog treats on the market to keep your dog happy, and there really isn't a single good reason to give your dog chocolate.

Aspirin: A No-No

Another common household product that people sometimes give to dogs is aspirin. Sometimes after taking their dogs on a strenuous hike or a long jog, dog owners like to give their dogs aspirin. This coupled with recent research about the benefits of aspirin to humans (it's good for arthritis, it's good for heart disease, etc.), gives some people the impression that aspirin is good for dogs as well.

Despite the fact that dogs can have aspirin derivatives, there are some substances (specifically ibuprofen) which cause severe liver and kidney damage in dogs. If you've worked your dog really hard or if they seem to be in some type of physical pain it's hard not to want to do something about it. However, the intelligent thing to do is to let your vet take care of it.

There are so many things that could go wrong by self-medicating your dog, it just makes sense to leave your dog's health in the hands of professionals. Contact your veterinarian for more information.

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