Chocolate is delicious and sweet!
It’s no wonder dogs love it. Unfortunately, it contains theobromine and caffeine, ingredients that are toxic to pets at relatively small doses. These ingredients are most concentrated in baking and unsweetened dark chocolate, but are in all real chocolate and cocoa, including milk chocolate. Cakes and cookies flavored with chocolate are usually not toxic, but should not be given to pets. White chocolate has none of these ingredients, but should still not be fed to pets.
Toxic dose for dogs and cats:
- Baker’s or Unsweetened Dark Chocolate: 2/10 ounce (about 6 grams) per kg of the pet’s body weight
- Milk Chocolate: 2 ounces (about 60 grams) per kg of the pet’s body weight
Symptoms of chocolate toxicity:
Vomiting, restlessness, cardiac arrhythmia, increased urination, diarrhea, weakness, respiratory difficulty and seizures. Death may occur if pet is not treated.
Cocoa mulch warning!
Cocoa Mulch, which is sold by Home Depot, Target, and other garden supply stores has NO WARNING ON THE LABEL, but is made from cacao bean shells and contains toxic theobromine. Symptoms are the same as for chocolate toxicity. Do not use this mulch if pets are going to have access to the area.
If you think your pet has ingested chocolate, call the clinic immediately (530-758-5650). Save any packaging or samples of the chocolate for identification.
Immediate pet emergency?
If the clinic is closed, follow the instructions to leave a message or receive emergency clinic information.
- Check the Poison page for new, important entries
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- Alternatives to declawing your cat
- Lost a pet? Found someone’s pet? Do you know what to do?