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Dogs and Chocolate

July 15 2021

Most people enjoy a piece of decadent chocolate. But, while most of us are more than happy to find any occasion to indulge in chocolate, this is one thing that you don’t want your pet to eat. Chocolate is extremely dangerous to our furry pals! A local veterinarian provides some information on chocolate toxicity in pets.


 Toxicity

What makes chocolate dangerous to pets? A substance called theobromine is the culprit. Theobromine is much like caffeine, and causes the same bodily reactions. It’s a blood vessel dilator, muscle relaxant, diuretic, and heart stimulant. Dogs can’t metabolize this substance and can get very sick from eating it. Also, the sugar and fat in chocolate can lead to pancreatitis. Your pooch doesn’t have to eat a large amount to get sick: chocolate is toxic to dogs at only one pound per body weight.


Symptoms

Look out for symptoms of chocolate ingestion. These include increased water consumption, vomiting, diarrhea, elevated heart rate, panting, and increased or excessive urination. Severe reactions can include seizures, muscle tremors, and perhaps even death. These symptoms generally develop within a few hours after ingestion and may last for days. Call your veterinarian immediately if you see any of these warning signs, or if you suspect that your pooch ate chocolate.


Kinds Of Chocolate

Some types of chocolate are more dangerous than others. Darker chocolate is more dangerous than lighter chocolate. Dark chocolate can contain as much as 450 mg of theobromine per ounce, which is a very toxic dose for Fido. With only about 0.25 mg of theobromine per ounce, white chocolate is the least dangerous, but it’s still not safe.


Cats

What about your feline friend? Chocolate is just as dangerous for Fluffy as it is for Fido. But, cats are less likely to eat it since they are a little more finicky. 


Precautions

As we all know, canines can be opportunistic eaters. If something falls on the floor, Fido will quickly snap it up. Watch your pup closely whenever you are eating chocolate. If you have young children, keep an eye on them while they are enjoying their chocolate treat. Small children often innocently give their food to pets, unaware that our canine companions can’t always eat the same foods that we do.


Do you have questions about chocolate toxicity in pets? Call your local vet today! 

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