Last month, there was an increase in the cases of chocolate poisoning in veterinary hospitals. We all love chocolates and often give them as gifts, but pets should not eat them. Chocolate is very toxic to dogs because of its main ingredients: theobromine and caffeine. Both ingredients cause adverse effects on the cardiac, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems. While cats are less susceptible, it still can affect them.
Something important to note: the darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is to pets because it contains more theobromine. It can also contain smaller or larger amounts of caffeine.
According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, one ounce of milk chocolate per pound of body weight is a potentially lethal dose in dogs. Whether you are a pet owner or a veterinary student, there is a very handy chocolate toxicosis calculator available. It will help you determine the toxicity based on their weight and the amount ingested. It also tells you if emergency treatment is needed.
Some of the clinical signs of chocolate toxicosis are vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, seizures, muscle rigidity, tachycardia, hypertension, hyperthermia, and cyanosis. If death occurs, this was due to cardiac arrhythmias or respiratory failure. Diagnostic depends on clinical signs and history of possible ingestion of chocolate.
The first steps to treat chocolate toxicosis are induced vomiting and activated charcoal. Any medication to control seizures, tremors, and tachycardias is provided as needed. Fluid therapy is essential to increase urinary excretion of the toxic ingredients and prevent dehydration.
As always, please keep chocolate away from your pets! Dental-approved treats or vegetables are always best.
Read more by Maria,
or learn more about Chocolate Toxicosis in Animals.