World Chocolate Day was July 7th. However, while we are happy to celebrate this important holiday, this is one festivity you don’t want to let your pet partake in. Chocolate is very dangerous to our four-legged friends! A local veterinarian offers some information on this below.
Why is chocolate so dangerous? The culprit is actually a substance called theobromine. Theobromine is very much like caffeine, and causes similar reactions in the body. It’a diuretic, heart stimulant, blood vessel dilator, and muscle relaxor. Your furry buddy can’t metabolize these chemicals, and could become quite sick from eating them. Plus, the fat and sugar in chocolate can also cause pancreatitis. Fido doesn’t have to eat very much to get sick from it. In fact, chocolate is toxic at just one pound per body weight.
Keep a close eye out for signs of chocolate ingestion, particularly at high risk times like around Halloween, Easter, and Valentine’s Day. Red flags include trembling, vomiting, diarrhea, increased water consumption, panting, elevated heart rate, and increased or excessive urination. Severe reactions may include muscle tremors, seizures, and unfortunately, death. These symptoms typically develop within a few hours after ingestion, and can last for days. Contact your vet immediately if you notice any of these things, or if you know or suspect that your pup ingested chocolate.
All chocolates are not created equal. Some kinds of chocolate are more dangerous than others are. As a rule of thumb, the darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is. Ironically, this is the opposite rule of thumb as ours: dark chocolate contains the most antioxidants, and is the most beneficial for people. Dark chocolate may contain as much as 450 mg of theobromine per ounce. That’s a very dangerous dose for Fido. White chocolate is the least dangerous, as it only contains about 0.25 mg of theobromine per ounce.
What about Fluffy? Chocolate is just as dangerous for our feline buddies as it is for pups. However, cats are less likely to ingest it, as they are generally pickier overall.
As we all know, Fido is a very opportunistic eater. He also has a habit of snapping up anything that falls to the floor. Keep a close eye on your furry friend whenever you are indulging in chocolate. You’ll also need to be careful if you have young kids around that are enjoying some chocolate, as little kids often innocently share their food with their four-legged pals, not realizing that our four-legged pals can’t always have the same foods we do.
Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your local animal hospital in Cavan Monaghan, ON!