As Easter approaches and we all tuck into our chocolate eggs, remember that chocolate is harmful to our pets, with problems ranging from a simple stomach upset to being potentially life-threatening…
Chocolate contains 2 ingredients that can be toxic to pets – caffeine and the chemical theobromine. Both dogs and cats are very sensitive to the effects of these ingredients, however, cats are generally not attracted to chocolate, so toxicity is less common in this species. Sadly however, chocolate toxicosis is a very common problem in dogs, who in many instances, will eat just about anything!
The amount of caffeine and theobromine can vary between types of chocolate, with dark, bitter chocolates usually containing more concentrated amounts than white chocolate. Cocoa bean mulch used in gardens can also be toxic if ingested, as it also contains theobromine. Other products containing caffeine such as tea, coffee, cola and energy drinks, should also be kept away from pets.
SIGNS OF CHOCOLATE TOXICITY:
Clinical signs can begin to occur within an hour of ingestion. The harmful ingredients caffeine and theobromine are stimulants of the brain and heart, so clinical signs can include hyperactivity, increased heart rate, muscle tremors, and potentially death. Other clinical signs may include:
CHOCOLATE SMELL ON BREATH
RESTLESSNESS AND PACING
If you suspect your pet has eaten chocolate, please contact the surgery immediately on 01325 380111 for further advice, as complications can lead to death within 24 hours of ingestion.