Chocolate and the dangers to your pet

safe halloween for pets

If your dog is anything like mine, they will eat anything they can get their paws on. This makes the holidays a particularly dangerous time of year in my house and for most dog owners. During all of the holiday fun and excitement, it is easy to loose a few pieces of candy or baked goods here and there, and the most deadly to our animals is CHOCOLATE.

Why is chocolate harmful to animals?

Chocolchocolate dangersate contains substances known as methylxanthines (specifically caffeine and theobromine), and animals are far more sensitive to them than humans. Theobromine is a central nervous system stimulant that can cause seizures, excessive urination leading to dehydration, and heart damage. Different types of chocolate contain varying amounts of methylxanthines. The more bitter and darker the chocolate is, the greater the danger. It would take more milk chocolate to be fatal or seriously damaging, because the chocolate is cut with sugar and milk. White chocolate is hardly dangerous at all, as it is made from cocoa butter. 

Is chocolate toxic to my cat too?

Chocolate is equally as dangerous for cats as it is to dogs. The difference is most cats don’t like the taste and therefore don’t seek it out. This makes the risk much lower.

What are the symptoms of an animal that has ingested chocolate?

Theobromine has a life of 17.5 hours in the body. It can take that long for the symptoms to appear. Unlike humans, animals can not metabolize methylxanthines. , an animal that has ingested chocolate could have the following symptoms;

  • increased heart rate (A dog’s heart beat is normally faster then a human’s)
  • vomiting 
  • diarrhea
  • increased body temperature (normal body temperature for a dog or cat is 100 to 102.5 degrees)
  • increased reflex responses
  • muscle rigidity
  • rapid breathing
  • low blood pressure
  • seizures
  • advanced signs are cardiac failure, weakness, and coma.

What other sweets and baked goods can be harmful to pets?

Xylitol, a common sweetener, is poisonous to cats and dogs. Nuts, particularly walnuts and macadamia nuts. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure, eve as little as one serving of raisins can kill a dog. Also, wrappers can create intestinal blockages.  

What do I do if my animal eats one of these?

Don’t panic. Call your emergency vet or pet poison helpline. They may instruct you to induce vomiting, know your pet’s weight, what they may have eaten, and hydrogen peroxide ready. Give large amounts of water and Luxolite, via syringe if necessary, until the symptoms subside. 

Pet Poison Helpline  1-855-213-6680

 

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  1. Pingback: Including your pet this Thanksgiving | Vitality Science

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