Chocolate Poisoning in Pets

#Cats, #Dogs
Chocolate Poisoning in Pets

Chocolate is a popular tasty treat for us humans, particularly at certain times of the year such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter and Halloween. Unfortunately, these are also common times of the year where we see an increase in pets being brought into practice suffering from chocolate toxicity.

Why is chocolate poisonous to pets?

Chocolate often contains ingredients such as theobromine and caffeine. These ingredients are toxic to pets and they’re found in the highest concentrations in dark chocolate and baking chocolate. However, no chocolate is safe for pets - even white or milk chocolate.

Signs of chocolate poisoning in pets

Signs to look out for include:

  • Sickness and diarrhoea
  • Restlessness
  • Frequent urination

In severe cases, this can progress to an irregular heart rhythm, seizures, internal bleeding and even death. 

What to do if your pet has eaten chocolate

If you know your pet has consumed chocolate, this should be treated as a medical emergency and you should take them to your local veterinary practice immediately. 

What’s the treatment for pets that have eaten chocolate?

The treatment offered to your pet will depend on how much time has passed since they consumed the chocolate. Vomiting may be induced to help remove the chocolate from their system. Liquid activated charcoal can be given to reduce the absorption of theobromine from the intestines into your pet’s bloodstream. 

It’s likely your pet will need to stay at the veterinary practice for ongoing observation to ensure they’re making a good recovery. 

How to reduce the risk 

  • Keep chocolate stored safely away where pets can’t reach it
  • If you’re eating chocolate, don’t leave your pet unattended i.e. leaving a box of chocolates on the coffee table while you leave the room
  • Teach your dog the ‘leave’ command so you can quickly intervene if you see them going to eat chocolate