With Easter just around the corner, we would like to remind pet guardians about the dangers of chocolate for your furry friends. While for humans, chocolate is simply a yummy treat, for your furry friend it can make them very sick. In fact, death from chocolate poisoning is a very real possibility!

Theobromine, a compound found in cocoa, can make dogs, as well as other pets like cats, very sick. Some chocolate is worse than others, as the concentration of theobromine varies depending on the type of chocolate. Straight cocoa powder, baking chocolate, and dark chocolate all contain high levels of theobromine. Milk chocolate has lower levels but should still be avoided.  Veterinarian Dr. Anne Fawcett warns that many vegan chocolates are dark and dark chocolate is the worst so it needs to be kept away from pets.

If your pet has ingested chocolate he or she may show these signs of poisoning:

  • Restless,
  • Seem excited or hyperactive,
  • Start panting and shaking,
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea,
  • Be extremely thirsty and have increased urination.
  • Seizures are also common in dogs who have chocolate poisoning.

“Dogs are the number one victim because they are the least fussy in their eating habits. I can tell you, from inducing vomiting gazillion times, that dogs don’t care if they eat the wrappers.

Cats are susceptible to chocolate toxicity but don’t tend to pig out to the degree that dogs do, so we see very few cases of chocolate ingestion in cats (though they are very adept at eating other things they shouldn’t like string, wool, hair elastics, tinsel etc),” said Dr Fawcett.

If you think your dog or cat may have ingested chocolate – regardless of the type or amount – contact your local veterinarian ASAP. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning can last up to 72 hours and have long-lasting effects.

Always keep chocolate well out of reach of your dog, in a sealed container in a cupboard that shuts securely or in the fridge. That means more chocolate for you, and less risk of serious illness for your beloved furry friend.

Easter with your pets sources:

Delta Tails newsletter Autumn 2018 edition

Chocolate poisoning in pets simply explained by Dr. Anne Fawcett

RSPCA