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We may want to spoil our fur-babies by sharing our large heart shaped box full of chocolates (especially if there are a few you don’t particularly care for in the mix). But Remember that chocolate is ☠️TOXIC☠️ to Dogs & Cats!

     Chocolate ingestion can result in significant illness in pets that, though rare, can result in death. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, which is a similar chemical. Both are used as a diuretic, heart stimulant, blood vessel dilator, and a smooth muscle relaxant for people. But pets don’t metabolize these as well, making them more sensitive to the chemicals’ effects.
    How much theobromine is considered toxic? That depends on the type of chocolate. The darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more dangerous it is to pets. Baking chocolate and gourmet dark chocolate are highly concentrated and contain 130450 mg of theobromine per oz. while milk chocolate only contains about 44-58 mg/oz. and white chocolate barely poses any threat with only 0.25 mg of theobromine per ounce of chocolate.
     But don’t think that means you can spoil them with white chocolate either.All that fat and sugar can also make them sick and may cause pancreatitis. 
Your pets size matters too. A mediumsized dog weighing 50 pounds would only need to eat 1 ounce of baker’s chocolate, or 9 ounces of milk chocolate, to potentially show signs of poisoning. For many dogs, ingesting small amounts of milk chocolate is not harmful. But for cats, being smaller and lighter, this isn’t the case. Although cats don’t typically go around gulping down all edible sources in sight as many dogs do, they too may venture to try new items should they require a meal.
     Toxic doses of theobromine are reported to be as low as 20 mg/kg, where agitation, hyperactivity and gastrointestinal signs (such as drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea – all which may smell like chocolate) are usually seen. At doses over 40 mg/kg, cardiac signs like a racing heart rate, high blood pressure, or even heart arrhythmias are displayed. At doses of more than 60 mg/kg, you see neurologic distress (including tremors, twitching, and even seizures.) Fatalities have been seen at around 200 mg/kg (approximately 100 mg/lb), or when complications occur.
You may want to make sure that your candy box is put way up high out of reach from any crumb-snatchers. Also be sure to keep plenty of
treats around. And if you have several pets and your box is hit, the following are a few signs to look for so you will know which pet to  detox.

  •  The most common: vomiting and, increased thirst, panting or restlessness, excessive urination, and a racing heart rate.
  • In severe cases, muscle tremors, seizures, and heart failure.
  • In older pets that eat a large amount of high quality dark or baking chocolate, sudden death from cardiac arrest may occur, especially in dogs with preexisting heart disease.
  • Complications (such as developing aspiration pneumonia from vomiting) can make the prognosis for chocolate poisoning worse. When in doubt, immediate treatment by your veterinarian is warranted if a poisonous amount of chocolate is ingested.

Because theobromine has a long half-life, signs of chocolate poisoning can take several hours to develop, and can last for days.  The theobromine can even be re-absorbed from the bladder, so IV fluids and frequent walks to encourage urination may be necessary. It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible by calling your veterinarian or a Pet Poison Control Center as soon as you suspect that your pet has eaten chocolate.
     If a toxic amount is ingested, you should have your dog examined by a veterinarian immediately. The sooner the theobromine is removed from the body, the better your pets chances. If treated early, removal of the chocolate from the stomach by medications to induce vomiting along with administering of activated charcoal to block absorption of theobromine maybe all that is needed . This will include  readministering the charcoal every four to six hours for the first twenty-four hours to reduce the continued reabsorbtion as well).
     It may also be necessary to give I.V. fluids to your pet to help stabilize them and promote theobromine excretion. All pets ingesting chocolate should be closely monitored for any signs of agitation, vomiting, diarrhea, nervousness, irregular heart rhythm, and high blood pressure. Beta-blockers may need to be given to slow the heart rate and arrhythmia in order to prevent cardiac arrest should the rate become too elevated or erratic.
     Many gourmet pet treats use carob as a chocolate substitute. Carob looks similar to chocolate and the two are often confused. Many specialty pet bakeries may use a small amount of milk chocolate in their treats. Since the amount of theobromine is typically low, this may be safe for many dogs. However, most veterinarians will discourage you giving your pet any chocolate.

If your pet gets into your chocolates and you forget all this information just remember to call your 24hr Pet Poison Control Center.
In North America:  1(888) 426-4435