Chocolate is one of the most common toxins that dogs and cats are exposed to. The primary reason is that most of us have some sort of chocolate in our homes everyday. Whether it is that chocolate chip cookie, candy bar, or chocolate we use to bake with, it is everywhere.
The ingredient in chocolate that makes it toxic is theobromine. Theobromine causes the release of substances that can increase a pets heart rate and cause heart arrythmias.
Other symptoms of chocolate toxicity include:
- muscle rigidity
- elevated body temperature
- elevated heart rate
The degree of toxicity is very dependent on the size of your pet, the amount of chocolate consumed and the TYPE of chocolate eaten.
Basically, the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is. Baking chocolate has the highest concentration of theobromine and caffeine. For example, just 1 one ounce square of baking chocolate can be very toxic to a 10 pound dog.
You can use a chocolate toxicity meter to give you a reasonable idea of how much chocolate would be toxic for your personal dog.
If your pet has ingested chocolate of any type, please call our office to determine the best course of action.
The best prevention of chocolate toxicity is to keep all forms of chocolate away from your pets!!!