Chocolate is Harmful to Your Pet

Halloween is right around the corner.  You should try to prepare your pet and family, not only for the ghost and goblins but for all the sweet and delicious candies that may be coming into your house.  Candy of any sorts is dangerous for your pet. However, the one candy you should be most concerned about is chocolate. Chocolate is toxic to dogs because it contains methylxanthine theobromine. This is similar to caffeine and is often used medicinally as a diuretic, heart stimulant, blood vessel dilator and a muscle relaxant.
 
It is uncertain of exactly how much chocolate can be harmful to your pet. Some reports show as low as 20 mg/kg of theobromine showed agitation, hyperactivity and gastrointestinal signs such as drooling, vomiting and diarrhea.   The amount of theobromine varies with the type of chocolate. The darker and more bitter the chocolate, the most dangerous it is to your pet. Cooking or baking chocolate and high quality dark chocolate contains between 130 – 450 mg of theobromine per ounce of the product. Milk chocolate contains about 44-58 mg per ounce and white chocolate poses little threat of chocolate poisoning with only about 0.25 mg of theobromine per ounce. With that being said, dogs can also get sick from all the fat and sugar in chocolate resulting in pancreatitis.  This means a medium size dog weighing 50 pounds would only need to eat 1 ounce of bakers chocolate or 8 ounces of milk chocolate to potentially show signs of poisoning.
 
Signs your pet may show in the event of poisoning are vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, panting, restlessness, excessive urination, racing heart, muscle spasms (tremors) and on occasions seizures. Clinical signs of poisoning can take hours to develop and last for days. If your pet should develop any of these signs please call your vet. Remember, it is not the vampires and werewolves that may get your furry family member this holiday… but it could be the things that look and smell so good and are very tempting …Looks can be deceiving.