Chocolate and dogs are a bad combination. Sure, they’re each great on their own, but together, the combination can be lethal. The same can be said of chocolate and cats, or chocolate and any pet.
The theobromine in chocolate, one of the substances that makes it so pleasant for us, is toxic to many animals, including dogs and cats. They are unable to digest this chemical, and, as it circulates in the bloodstream, it damages the central nervous and circulatory systems.
ALL CHOCOLATE CONTAINS THEOBROMINE, THEREFORE ALL CHOCOLATE IS BAD FOR PETS. CHOCOLATE AND DOGS, CATS, OR OTHER PETS = BAD BAD BAD!
The higher the cocoa content, the more theobromine it contains, so 100% pure baking chocolate has much more theobromine than milk chocolate, which in turn has more than white chocolate. Even though white chocolate must be ingested in huge doses before it is usually lethal, it is best to KEEP ALL CHOCOLATE AWAY FROM PETS! A single ounce of baker’s chocolate can be lethal to a 10-pound animal. It wouldn’t take much to do in your hamster or lizard.
If you are a cat owner, do not assume your finicky cat can be trusted with your chocolate bar. Cats are curious, and my cat happens to adore chocolate! Because of their small bodies, even small doses of chocolate can be lethal.
Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include:
Symptoms usually appear within a few hours, but can take up to 36 hours to manifest. The sooner an animal is treated, the better chance it has, so if you suspect your pet has eaten chocolate, do not wait for the symptoms! Take your pet to the vet immediately! If your pet displays these symptoms, go to your vet!
Be ready to tell your vet:
1) how much chocolate you think your pet ate,
2) what type of chocolate it was, and
3) how long ago it was.
It is helpful to bring the chocolate wrapper, if it is available.
If your pet ingested the chocolate within the past couple of hours, the vet may induce vomiting or pump the animal’s stomach. If it has been longer that a couple of hours, the theobromine will already be circulating in the animal’s system and the vet will attempt to support the animal’s own defensive systems through intravenous fluids and drugs, such as anti-seizure medication.
Remember that the best medicine is prevention. Keep your pet safe by being a responsible chocoholic. Keep all chocolate and candy away from your pets!