If you feel like rewarding your well-behaved doggy with the occasional yummy treat, be sure to always steer clear of chocolate. Although the sweet stuff tastes wondrous, it's actually highly toxic to most pets, including dogs. The good news, however, is that carob isn't at all poisonous to your four-legged friend.
Dangers of Chocolate
According to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, chocolate is a serious medical danger to dogs and cats because it contains theobromine, an alkaloid that functions as a cardiac stimulant and a diuretic. Not only can excessive levels of chocolate lead to convulsions in dogs, it can even be fatal. Some of the symptoms associated with chocolate poisoning in dogs are frequent urination, weakness, vomiting, fever, fast breathing, shivering, panting and diarrhea. Never, ever allow your dog to eat chocolate. If he accidentally eats any, seek urgent veterinary attention for him without hesitation.
Although chocolate is a severe hazard for dogs, the ASPCA reports that carob is not. Carob is extracted from the pods of the carob tree, Ceratonia siliqua. This evergreen tree originated in the Mediterranean region. The sweet pulp of the pods has a pleasant flavor that is reminiscent of chocolate, and because of that is frequently used for pets—and unlucky allergic people—as a safe, significantly healthier alternative. Other names sometimes used for the plant are "algaroba" and "sugar pod."
The ASPCA indicates that since carob is free of methylxanthines, it should not be threatening to your precious pooch. The organization also notes, however, that it may be suitable to keep portions of carob to a minimum. If you give your pet just a tad too much, he may experience a slight case of of tummy ache and perhaps even diarrhea. One or two carob chips, for example, make a good treat.
Whether you just baked a batch of fresh chocolate chip cookies or have a decorative goblet of fancy chocolates for guests, don't let your curious pup anywhere near it. Also remember that darker-colored chocolate is especially toxic to dogs, although all varieties are potentially harmful. In the meantime, start preparing those tasty carob chip cookies and carob brownies for your hungry canine! Just remember that moderation is key when it comes to treats for pets.
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