Chocolate is bad for both cats and dogs, but dogs, in particular, are at risk because of how much they enjoy sharing “people food.” It smells tasty to them; as good pet parents, we need to take extra precautions to keep them away! With Valentine's Day around the corner, your pet's health depends on how well you can hide the holiday goodies.
Waipahu Waikele Pet Hospital in Hawaii explains what makes chocolate so dangerous, and what you should do if your pet ever eats it:
- What Makes Chocolate Bad For Pets? Chocolate contains a stimulant, similar to caffeine, called theobromine. Adult humans can digest it quickly and easily, but it takes dogs much longer, allowing toxic levels of the chemical to build up inside.
What Types Of Chocolate Are More Dangerous? Generally, the darker a chocolate is, the more dangerous for pets. That means white chocolate has the lowest risk, as it contains very little theobromine, while milk chocolate contains more. The most dangerous chocolates are baker's chocolate, cocoa powder, and gourmet dark chocolates.
- What Are The Signs Of Chocolate Poisoning? If your dog has eaten a small amount relative to his body weight, the symptoms may include vomiting and diarrhea. More serious symptoms, resulting from consuming a large amount, include extreme agitation, hyperactivity, racing heart, tremors, seizures, collapse, and even death.
- What Should You Do Next? If your dog experiences any of the above, try to identify what kind of chocolate he ate and how much. Your veterinarian will need this information over the phone, along with your dog's body weight, to advise you further. Your dog may be able to stay home if he's had only small amounts of chocolate but may require more serious treatment at the veterinary hospital if he's eaten a lot.
If you ever become concerned that your dog has eaten chocolate, please note that Waipahu Waikele Pet Hospital is available for emergency after-hours service. To reach their office directly, call (808) 671-7387. You can also visit their website to learn more about their pet health services.