2. Chocolate, candy and gum
In the case of chocolate, the substance known as methylxanthine (specifically caffeine and theobromine) is what affects the dog negatively. According to PetMD (How Chocolate Makes Dogs Sick), “Methylxanthines are stimulants that inhibit the activity of the enzyme phosphodiesterase. This enzyme is responsible for breaking down the substance cyclic adenosine monophosphate, which regulates a variety of metabolic processes.” Okay, so what does that look like? When low levels are consumed, vomiting, diarrhea and hyper-excitability may result. When higher levels are consumed, nervous system dysfunction (e.g., seizures), irregular heart rhythms and even death may result. The rule of thumb is this – the darker the chocolate the more dangerous the chocolate.
In the case of candy and gum, xylitol is the dangerous ingredient creating issues for your pet. Xylitol does not affect a human’s blood sugar level, but the same can’t be said for pets. In dogs, xylitol can cause more insulin to circulate through the dog’s body, creating a situation where blood sugar drops. This can cause liver failure. According to WebMD (Foods Your Dog Should Never Eat), early symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, and loss of coordination. Eventually, he or she may have seizures. And finally, liver failure can occur within just a few days.
So save your candy, gum and chocolate for your own sweet tooth!