Celebrations for Easter are approaching and as everyone knows it’s tradition to eat chocolate treats in different shapes and forms for this festivity. However, pet parents should be careful not to extend this tradition to their furry friends as chocolate is dangerous for them. Read this blog to learn more about why chocolate poisoning is dangerous for pets and its symptoms.
Why is Chocolate Dangerous for Pets?
Chocolate contains two substances called theobromine and caffeine, which are harmless for humans but toxic for dogs, cats and rabbits as they struggle to metabolise them. Dogs are especially at risk of chocolate poisoning as cats are usually too discriminating to eat large amounts of chocolate.
All types of chocolate contain at least some caffeine, although some varieties are more caffeinated than others. Similarly, theobromine is present in all kinds of chocolate, but its amount varies depending on the type. Generally, the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the higher the levels of toxicity. Therefore, dark chocolate is the most toxic for your pet, while white chocolate is the least dangerous.
However, even if the amount ingested by your pet is not a toxic concern, it can still cause severe illnesses due to the fat and sugar contained in this sweet treat. Furthermore, theobromine can cause your furry friend to become de-hydrated very quickly leading to additional health problems. Finally, caffeine can also lead to serious health problems in pets as its presence can cause their hearts to race too quickly.
Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning
Several symptoms can be connected to chocolate poisoning in pets, especially in cats and dogs:
- Vomiting and Diarrhea: These two symptoms are the earliest signs of chocolate poisoning and the least severe.
- Excessive Thirst and Urination: These symptoms are caused by the diuretic components of theobromine and caffeine and can lead to dehydration in your pet.
- Restlessness: This symptom is mainly caused by the caffeine contained in chocolate.
- High Heart Rate: This symptom is really dangerous for pets as it may lead to cardiac arrest, especially in older ones or with underlying health problems.
- Seizures: This is the most severe symptom of chocolate poisoning in pets.
Some of these symptoms are very dangerous and hard to monitor at home. So take your four-legged companion to the vet for monitoring and/or treatment right away after they ate some chocolate. For dogs, chocolate toxicity meters can also be found online, but your vet is a more reliable source of information.
Prevention is Key
Preventing is always better than cure, and this is also valid for pets. There are many different actions that pet parents can implement to avoid the dangers of chocolate. First is storing any chocolate in secure places that your pet cannot reach. Additionally, it is also essential to train your furry friends, and especially dogs, to follow your commands, in particular, those preventing them to eat dangerous things. Last, training is not only needed for your pet but also for your family and friends. Children and family friends, who may want to give handouts to pets, should know to only feed them safe treats.