What Makes Chocolate So Toxic to Pets?
PetSmart Chris Brownlow
One of the cardinal rules of pet ownership is “don’t feed your pet chocolate.” But what is it about chocolate that can make your pet so sick?
According to a report published on the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), two main components of chocolate are toxic to pets: Theobromine and caffeine. Both can effect the central nervous system, increase heart rate and cause an increase in blood pressure. Even in small amounts (approximately one-half ounce of baking chocolate per pound of body weight), chocolate can be poisonous, the reports states.
And some types of chocolate are more poisonous than others. An article written by Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM, states that unsweetened or baker’s chocolate contains eight to 10 times more Theobromine than milk chocolate. Semi-sweet chocolate has a bit more than milk chocolate and white chocolate has the least amount.
Remember, no amount of any chocolate is good for your pet so it’s best to keep chocolate out of your pet’s reach. However, we all know accidents can happen. If you believe your pet has ingested chocolate, contact your vet immediately and make note of the amount of chocolate you believe was ingested. If it was cake or another homemade treat, refer to the recipe.
The signs of Theobromine poisoning include:
Nervousness, trembling or hyperactivity
Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- In high enough doses, death can occur
Your vet's treatment of chocolate poisoning may include IV fluids to prevent dehydration, vomit-inducing medication, activated charcoal, anti-seizure medications or cardiac medications.