Chocolate is a really big NO NO for cats and dogs!

Apr 14, 2022

Science shows chocolate really is best kept for yourself! With Easter just around the corner, chocolate monopolising the supermarket shelves and people stocking up so that adults and kids alike can indulge in an egg hunt around the house. But chocolate is not for everyone! What does this mean when it comes to our furry friends?

Dogs love to watch us eat, beg for food, and scour the floor for scraps all in hopes of a tasty treat. Whether it’s on the floor by accident or snatched from the kitchen bench, shiny chocolate wrappers are hard for dogs to ignore. While cats are picky and not the type to eat everything, they’d still have a lick or a bite. There are many types of food that can be fed to our furry four-legged friends, chocolate is unfortunately not one of them.

Chocolate is toxic to both cats and dogs, there is no set amount that draws the line in the sand as to whether your pet has eaten too much. What might appear to be only a small amount to a person can be too much for a furry friend, especially kittens, puppies, and small breeds. Toxicity levels can depend on three factors:

1. how much your pet weighs
2. how much chocolate they ate and
3. what type of chocolate they ate

A chemical called theobromine, is found in chocolate and is highly poisonous to dogs and cats. Once ingested, their heart can fail to pump blood effectively. The types of chocolate listed in order of highest to lowest theobromine content are cocoa powder, baker’s chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate and lastly white chocolate. Don’t be fooled though, this does not imply that milk chocolate and white chocolate are OK, ideally keep the chocolate far away from your furry friends.

Should your pet ingest chocolate, they may show signs of vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, panting or restlessness, excessive urination, and an increased heart rate. In more severe cases when excessive chocolate is ingested, muscle tremors and seizures can also be experienced. If you see your pet ingest chocolate or if you have any suspicion that they may have, seek urgent medical advice by calling your local vet. Do not wait for symptoms to show. Immediate medical attention is required

Removal of the theobromine can be achieved by inducing vomiting or administering activate charcoal to prevent abortion into the body. Fluid therapy to promote the excretion can assist with recovery. Monitoring and medication may be necessary.

Ensure chocolate is kept away and stored away from animals’ reach, keep pets away from easter egg hunts and be sure to check all the hiding locations before your furry friends are invited back into the area. Teaching your pets commands such as ‘leave it’ or ‘no’ can assist if something is spotted too late to pick up. Baking or purchasing treats that they can enjoy in their own ‘egg hunt’ this Easter is a nice way to spread the fun.

If your pet ingests any amount of chocolate, seek immediate medical assistance.