Even though we just passed Valentine’s Day, you might have several chocolate treats left around your house. Unless you have an allergy, chocolate is a sweet and harmless treat if you don’t overindulge. However, this isn’t the case for your pet. He could experience toxic or even deadly consequences from eating even a small amount of chocolate.
Your pet’s small size and body weight makes it difficult for her to handle caffeine and theobromine, two of the main ingredients in chocolate. Because of this, Chaska Valley Veterinary Clinic recommends that you don’t share any chocolate with your pet at all. If you don’t think you can resist the begging efforts of your dog or cat, keep chocolate out of her reach and avoid eating it when you have a hopeful pair of eyes staring at you.
Chocolate Types and Toxicity Levels
Cocoa beans and baking chocolate present the greatest risk of poisoning because they contain the highest amount of concentrated chocolate. Milk chocolate and white chocolate are less dangerous for your pet, but he still shouldn’t have any. It’s also important to remember that some gardening materials, such as cocoa mulch, contain ingredients harmful for pets. You’re probably greatly looking forward to spring after this cold winter, but make sure that you keep this and all gardening supplies out of your pet’s reach.
How to Know When Your Pet Has Consumed a Toxic Level of Chocolate
You don’t have to give your pet chocolate directly for her to be at risk. She could find a wrapper in the garbage can or even nab a candy bar out of your child’s hand. If you’re concerned that your pet has eaten chocolate, look for these symptoms:
- Excessive thirst, urination, or panting
- Unusually low or high heart rhythm
- Muscle twitching
A seizure is a severe reaction that can lead to death. Kittens, puppies, older pets, and those already in poor health are more susceptible to seizures and a fatal reaction to chocolate. Even if you’re not certain that your pet ate chocolate, we encourage you to bring him to Chaska Valley Veterinary Clinic for an evaluation of his symptoms. If it is indeed chocolate poisoning and depending on his symptoms, we may try to induce vomiting, give your dog or cat IV fluids, or prescribe medication for diarrhea, heart irregularity, or convulsions.
Please contact us during regular business hours at 952-448-2936 to request an appointment. After hours, you may contact the Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota at 952-448-2936.
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