Chocolate and Pets

As the holidays ramp up into full swing, it’s important to keep a few pet safety tips in mind. One of these is tightly restricting your four-legged friend’s access to chocolate, one of the most dangerous and common pet poisons out there. Learn more about chocolate poisoning in pets in this article from your Sugar Land, TX veterinary professional.

What Makes Chocolate So Dangerous?

Chocolate of all types contains caffeine and a similar stimulating chemical, theobromine. They stimulate your pet’s heart and central nervous system, and that reaction can lead to serious health trouble. Baking chocolate, dark chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate contain the highest levels of theobromine, so they’re the most dangerous of all. However, other types of chocolate—milk, white, and even foods like cookies or cakes that contain chocolate—are still very hazardous!

What are the Signs of Poisoning?

The initial signs of chocolate toxicity in pets include agitation, increased thirst, vomiting, and diarrhea. Without treatment, loss of coordination, seizures, and even coma and death can occur. Smaller pets are at an even greater danger, just because their smaller size means that it takes less of the harmful chemicals to start causing serious symptoms.

How is Poisoning Treated?

If you know or even suspect that your pet has eaten chocolate of any kind, rush them to the nearest veterinary emergency room. If at all possible, let the veterinarian know what type of chocolate your pet has ingested, and how much.

A veterinarian may induce vomiting to flush your pet’s stomach of the poison, or an activated charcoal medication may be administered to stop the toxin from absorbing further into your pet’s stomach. If a pet has already absorbed theobromine into their system, anti-seizure medicines, IV fluids, and heart medications might be necessary for a full recovery. As is the case with any kind of poisoning, the sooner treatment is started, the better.

How Do I Prevent the Problem?

Obviously, preventing chocolate poisoning in the first place is a far better choice than treating it after the fact. Luckily for you, it’s not difficult to prevent chocolate poisoning in your pet. Keep any and all chocolate treats stored safely where pets can’t reach—don’t leave chocolates out on the kitchen table or counters. Instead, put them inside closed containers, cabinets, or the refrigerator so pets can’t gain access.

Call your Sugar Land, TX veterinary clinic today for more information.

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