We have discussed the dangers of giving pets human chocolates before, and no doubt most of you are all too aware that you should never give your pets even the smallest taste of the stuff. However, with Easter almost upon us, we thought it would be a good idea to remind you once again (if it avoids just one animal facing emergency treatment over the holidays it will have been worth it!)
Those who have only recently welcomed a pet into their lives may be unaware that chocolate is poisonous for all pets – it contains a stimulant called THEOBROMINE, which is similar to caffeine. The danger this poses to your pet is directly linked to how much he/she consumes (dose-dependent). Cocoa powder and dark chocolate contain the highest proportions of theobromine, and therefore eating even a couple of squares is likely to make a small dog ill. Cats are even more susceptible to the effects of theobromine, but are less likely to be tempted by chocolate.
Common signs of chocolate poisoning to look out for include:
- Restlessness and hyperactivity
- Rapid breathing
- Muscle tension
- Lack of coordination
- Increased heart rate
If you spot any of these symptoms in your pets and suspect that they may have got hold of any chocolate, contact your vet for advice straight away (we always recommend that you check in advance with your practice as to what their emergency cover arrangements are for the long bank holiday weekend). You will almost certainly be advised to take your pet in for urgent assessment and treatment, and it’s a good idea to take the outer packaging with you if possible, so that your vet can assess the likely level of theobromine exposure. It is also important to know that some chocolates can contain either xylitol (a sweetener) or raisins/currants, both of which can be poisonous to dogs even in tiny quantities (non-dose dependent).
There is no antidote for chocolate poisoning. Your vet may make your dog vomit to clear the chocolate out of his/her body. Your dog may then be fed activated charcoal to absorb any remaining theobromine from the intestines. Not a pleasant process, and certainly an upsetting and potentially expensive end to the Easter fun!
Of course, chocolate drops and chews that are formulated specially for pets are perfectly fine to treat those special dogs in your life with.
Until next time, best wishes from Shailen and The Ralph Site team
The Ralph Site, non-profit pet loss support
Please note: The Ralph Site is not affiliated with the third-party organisations in any of the links shared here, and the views, ideas and suggestions expressed in this and other blogs are simply shared with the intention of helping you, our friends, take care of the special animals in your lives.