Death by chocolate
We can’t emphasise enough just how dangerous chocolate is for animals, particularly for dogs. It can be any chocolate: dark, milk or white. The thing about chocolate is that it contains caffeine and the chemical compound theobromine, both of which are toxic to pets. The most dangerous of all is cooking chocolate. It’s one of the worst types of chocolate because it contains the highest level of theobromine.
The reason that it can be so lethal for cats and dogs, is that their digestive system can’t break these elements down like humans. Once the chocolate is eaten, the chemical can remain in an animal’s bloodstream for hours and build up to cause organ damage if not treated quickly and properly. For example, it only takes one gram of dark or baking chocolate per kilogram of your dog’s weight for the chocolate to reach toxic levels.
The symptoms of chocolate intake will occur within four to 24 hours. It could be in the form of an upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive urinating, hyperactivity and heart irregularities. This in severe cases can be followed by depression, coma and seizures. So keep a close watch. If your cat or dog shows signs of any of these symptoms, or if you even you think they’ve eaten some chocolate, take them to your vet for immediate attention. With prompt intervention, even if a large amount of chocolate has been ingested, the prognosis for your dog is a good one.
No-nos for dogs
While chocolate is the danger treat this Easter, there are other foods and ingredients that you should be aware of. You might think the traditional hot cross buns should be ok, but they contain raisins (dried grapes) that can cause kidney problems. Lollies of all kinds are a real worry as well. So are off cuts and fatty leftovers, bones, garlic, onion and cooking dough – to name a few.
Care for your cats
You should also keep a close eye on your cat. They can be vulnerable to toxic foods and ingredients as well. Human medicines, lollies, onions and garlic as well as lilies are all toxic. And just like dogs, cats are susceptible to adverse effects of alcohol. So don’t leave any crème cocktails or rum infused fruit cake about.
So if you are concerned that your pet may have consumed chocolate, or any other ‘human-only’ foods, and is showing unusual symptoms as previously mentioned, don’t hesitate to contact your nearest Greencross Vet for immediate treatment.