Can chocolate be toxic to the pets
Pet Food

Can chocolate be toxic to the pets

Pets often eat things, they are not supposed to which can cause various health issues. Chocolate contains cocoa, which has an active ingredient called theobromine. This active ingredient is considered toxic for pets when consumed in quantity more than expected. Chocolate toxicity in pets entirely depends upon the type of chocolate and the amount consumed.

Chocolate toxicity is found highest in cocoa and dark chocolates while white chocolate has the lowest. Even if your pet takes a small amount of dark chocolate, it can prove to be poisonous. Also, a large pet can consume much more chocolate as compared to small pet before experiencing or exhibiting signs of ill health.

A significant amount of chocolate could lead to irregular heartbeat, seizures, internal bleeding and even a heart attack. You should immediately visit a vet if your pet has eaten chocolate by mistake, especially dark chocolate.

Symptoms to look for:

  • Vomiting
  • Rise in body temperature
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle twitching
  • Cardiac failure
  • Heavy panting
  • Rapid breathing

If you find any of the above symptoms in your pet, then you should rush them to your nearest vet for immediate treatment. However, if your pet has taken a small dose of chocolate, then only vomiting and diarrhea will occur. If you find most or all of the above symptoms, then chances are that your pet has consumed a larger amount of chocolate.

Diagnosis of chocolate toxicity in your pet

Once you find any of the symptoms mentioned above in your pet, go to a vet. He will perform the necessary test; do a physical exam, and urinalysis. In order to check the concentration of theobromine in the blood, he can also do a blood test.

The toxicity of chocolates may stay in your pet’s blood for a long time. In most severe cases it can last for up to 3 days. So starting an early treatment will help your pet to recover faster, rather than waiting. The first thing done by any vet is to give your pet IV drugs with fluids for force vomiting, to get the toxins out of the body.

The lethal dosage of theobromine in different types of chocolates:

  • Cooking or baking chocolate- 14.1mg/gram of theobromine
  • Dark chocolate- 5.3mg/gram of theobromine
  • Milk chocolate- 1.4mg/gram of theobromine
  • White chocolate- almost negligible

The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is for your pets.

Prevention is always better than cure. So is the case with chocolate toxicity in pets too. Always keep your chocolates away from your pet’s reach. Try not to buy chocolates in bulk or unnecessarily as it can increase the chances of it not being stored properly and coming in contact with your pets. Always keep a watch on your pets and if you find any sudden change in their behavior or any of the symptoms mentioned above, consult a vet immediately.

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