Saturday, 19 December 2015

Christmas Science - Deadly Delights

What do holly and chocolate have in common, and why are they bad news for dogs? 

Just a quick one for you today about everyone's favourite festive spikey thing and the most delicious of foods:

Both holly (or for the geeks Ilex aquifolium) and chocolate contain an alkaloid that has a pharmacological effect on humans. The alkaloid in question is called theobromine and it is this that probably causes the potential health benefits (lowering of blood pressure, feeling content etc) that eating chocolate gives us. Unfortunately, due to differences in basic biochemistry in different animals, the pharmacological effect of theobromine in dogs makes it a deadly toxin and it can be fatal.

Last Saturday before the holidays - I'm sure any self respecting book shop has a copy or two of my book left (The Science of Everyday Life).


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Science TV Presenter, live show performer, writer, strange prop builder and all round Science Bloke. All opinions expressed are mine alone. Not the BBC's, just mine.