Valentines Day is one of the biggest chocolate holidays of the year. This is great if you love chocolate but not all that love chocolate should eat chocolate. Chocolate is deadly for dogs and toxic for most pet’s. (If you suspect that your dog or cat has chocolate¬†poisoning make sure to contact your vet right away)

Pet’s typically love the taste of chocolate, and of course, they do, it tastes delicious. Chocolate is made from the roasted seeds of cocoa, which contains chemicals like caffeine and theobromine that are toxic to animals. If ingested, these two substances can cause several medical problems and might prove lethal for your pets. Chocolate can be risky for most animals like horses, dogs, cats, and parrots since they’re unable to metabolize the chemicals effectively. Consumption of theobromine can result in poisoning and even death in certain animals.

Dogs are the most susceptible to chocolate poisoning because of their habit of rapid consumption. Did you know that theobromine can last up to more than 24 hours in a dog’s bloodstream? This means that it can take a while for your dog to start showing symptoms of theobromine toxicity.

Cats are also vulnerable to chocolate poisoning for the similar reason dogs are. But cats commonly are not willing to eat chocolate, since they do not have ‘sweet’ taste receptors. So for the most part, your cats, just like with most things, will be disinterested.

There is not simple answer to “how much chocolate can my pet eat and be ok?” This is because the quantity of theobromine and caffeine present in chocolate varies widely by the type of chocolate. Darker chocolates tend to have more that lighter chocolates. Also, the size and weight of your pet affects the quantity they can ingest without having serious complications. If you think your pet has eaten chocolate, always call the vet immediately.

Symptoms Of Chocolate Poisoning In Animals

  • Vomiting and diarrhea occur 3 to 5 hours after consumption, and chocolate in the throw-up may perhaps be obvious.
  • Central nervous system stimulation triggers tremors, hyperactivity, and seizures.
  • Heart-rate becomes rapid and abnormal.
  • Excessive urination might result from the “diuretic” action of the chocolate.
  • Firmness
  • Excitement
  • Seizures
  • Excessive response to light and noise.
  • Urine may contain blood
  • Gums of the pet may turn into bluish hue after few hours of chocolate intake.
  • Heart failure
  • Coma
  • Death can also happen.

How To Treat Chocolate Poisoning

There is only a little you can do for your pet, especially in the home, to treat the poisoning of theobromine once it is mixed with the bloodstream. Therefore, the general treatments are usually ways to stop the ingested theobromine from getting in to the blood stream.

These include:

1. Induce vomiting instantly, which will help remove most of the chocolate. (never induce vomiting unless under the guidance of a veterinarian)

2. After inducing vomiting the vet may make your pet to eat a small quantity of activated charcoal, which can bind completely to the theobromine and retain it from getting into the circulatory system.

3. Try to get your pet to drink as much water as it can to keep hydrated.

4. At the veterinarian, specific drugs may be used to help the pet make it through, like anti-convulsants, which can help if the pet has seizures.

Make sure to call your vet if your dog shows signs of chocolate poisoning.

While a very little amount of chocolate would possibly not harm some pets, it is safest to avoid feeding it to them in any way. Remember to keep your chocolate, sweets, chocolate coated goodies and cakes safely far away from your pets. The most effective medicine in this case is prevention; An oz. of prevention is worth a pound of cure.