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Chocolate Toxicity and Your Pets

I found an article written by a company that makes doggie treats, and they talked about chocolate toxicity. I have warned against your dog or cat getting hold of chocolate before, but I have never gotten specific about how and
why.

You can read my past articles about the dangers of chocolate, and other toxic foods your pets should avoid if you click here.

Update: 2011 —–

The K9 Confections blog has been changed, and I can no longer find the article they wrote titled, “Why Carob is Fine, Chocolate is Not.” I removed the broken link I had here. You can go to the K9 Confections website and read the ingredients they put into their treats, including carob. While you are there, you may want to purchase some doggie treats.

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Chocolate contains Theobromine, which naturally occurs in chocolate. It causes different reactions to your pets, depending on the size of your dog or cat, what type of chocolate is ingested, and how much.

Theobromine is a stimulant that raises the heart rate. It can raise the heart rate to a point that it can be fatal. Dogs and cats that are small are the most succeptible, those with other health problems, and especially those with
epilepsy.

Chocolate is just as tempting to your pets as it is to humans. Just note that baking chocolate contains the most theobromine of all the chocolates. So, 1/2 to 1 ounce of baking chocolate can cause death in small dogs and cats. For medium sized dogs, 2 to 3 ounces can be fatal, and in large dogs, the amount which can be fatal is 4 to 8 ounces.

With milk chocolate, 4 to 10 ounces can kill small dogs and cats, 1 to 1 1/2 lbs. can be fatal to medium sized dogs, and 2 to 4 1/2 lbs. can be fatal to a large dog.

Remember, caffeine is also found in chocolate and is a toxin itself. The combination of the two is very dangerous for your pets. Fortunately, most cases of accidental ingestion of chocolate ends up with a dog or cat with an upset stomach along with vomiting and diarrhea. But, you want to be extremely safe and make sure you keep all chocolate away from your pets.

Sources:
Dogs, The Ultimate Care Guide, Rodale, 1998, pg. 384
KISS Guide to Cat Care, Dorling Kindersley, 2001, pg. 183

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