Pets and Chocolate
Don’t Mix

Be aware that pets and chocolate are a dangerous mix. Too much is toxic to animals such as horses, dogs, parrots, and cats (especially kittens) because they are unable to effectively metabolize the chemical theobromine. Theobromine is the primary alkaloid found in cocoa/chocolate and is one of the causes of chocolate's mood-elevating effects.

If the animals noted above eat chocolate, the theobromine remains in their bloodstream for up to 20 hours, and excessive amounts may cause epileptic seizures, heart attacks, internal bleeding and possibly death.

A typical 44-pound (20-kilogram) dog will normally experience great intestinal distress after eating as little as a typical .88 ounce (25 gram) baker's chocolate bar, 8.47 ounces (240 grams) of dark chocolate, or 1.1 pounds (500 grams) of milk chocolate. Eating considerably more than these amounts could lead to irregular, very slow or very fast heart beat.

Dark chocolate has 2 to 5 times more theobromine as milk chocolate and thus is more dangerous. As one would expect, large dogs such as St. Bernards or Rottweilers are somewhat less susceptible to the poisoning. Since dogs like the taste of chocolate products as much as humans do, these products should be kept out of their reach (remembering animals’ creative ways of getting to food they like and can smell).

Cats and especially kittens are much more susceptible to toxic poisoning. Pet treats made from carob are a good substitute and pose no threat. There are reports that even mulch made from cacao bean shells can be dangerous if eaten by many types of animals.

One true life example is of Jake, the dog pictured here. Several years ago Jake ate a one-pound bag of chocolate candies and a couple of candy bars. His owners called the vet who told them to induce vomiting immediately. The vet told them to make Jake drink some hydrogen peroxide and as he started drinking it he vomited. As one of his owner’s said, “It’s funny to think that animals love the taste of chocolate just like we do, but it's true!”

If your pet does accidentally eat a dangerous amount of chocolate, medical treatment is to induce vomiting within two hours of ingestion, or if necessary, contact a veterinarian.

So enjoy your delicious chocolates but resist your pets’ begging for a bite. Remember to diligently carefully store it where your clever pet cannot find some ingenious way to get to it. Remember pets and chocolate don’t mix!

Notice & Disclaimer: All content of this website is provided for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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Jennifer from has healthy dog treat recipes plus tips on living naturally with your dog.

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