Your dog may give you a loving look when you feed it chocolate, but what tastes good now can become excruciating later. It’s all because of a substance called theobromine.

Theobromine is an alkaloid related to caffeine, researchers from the University of Liverpool, in England, recently explained in the specialised journal Veterinary Record.

In high doses, theobromine is poisonous for all living creatures, but certain special enzymes allow human beings to metabolise it relatively quickly. It stays longer in a dog’s system, however.

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs include diarrhoea, vomiting, trembling, cramps and also unconsciousness.

For smaller dogs, eating large amounts of chocolate could even be fatal, so dog owners should be careful to keep such sweets away from their pets, particularly over holidays when chocolate is especially popular.

The team around veterinarian Peter-John Noble at the University of Liverpool analysed data from 229 British veterinary practices between 2012 and 2017. They found that the probability of a dog suffering from chocolate poisoning quadrupled over Christmas, while it doubled at Easter. – dpa