It’s No Myth: Chocolate is Toxic For Cats and Dogs

Emergency Situations

Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and Easter are days of celebration. Cards and chocolate are common presents. But, pets can’t read cards and they certainly shouldn’t eat chocolate. Remember to keep your chocolate desserts put away or high out of reach from your pets. Dogs especially love to eat chocolate and will commonly steal chocolate and eat it wrappers and all! Chocolate is the number one toxin people call pet poison control for.

Dark Chocolate Contains the Most Toxins

There are many different kinds of chocolate and the toxicity of that chocolate depends on what type it is. Bakers chocolate and dark chocolate have more of the dangerous substance methylxanthine, also known as theobromine. Milk chocolate and cookies and brownies typically have less chocolate and less methylxanthine.

Symptoms of Chocolate Toxicity in Pets

Consumption of chocolate can cause many clinical signs including vomiting and diarrhea, increased drinking and urination, panting, abnormal heart rhythms. It can even cause seizures and death.

Contact Your Veterinarian if Your Pet Eats Chocolate

If your dog has eaten chocolate please contact us as soon as possible. We will recommend your dog come to us or the ER for decontamination and further treatment if needed. The sooner we see your pet the better the outcome!

We may even ask that you call the Pet Poison Control or the ASPCA poison control for an expert veterinary toxicologist’s advice.

  • ASPCA Poison control: 888-426-4435
  • Pet Poison Helpline: 855-764-7661

Chocolate isn’t the Only Danger

You may also call them if you feel your pet has eaten a toxic substance besides chocolate. Keep an eye out for any mysterious symptoms, or evidence that your pet has gotten into something they shouldn’t have. There is a consultation fee.

Remember, chocolate causes the most cases of pet toxicity every year, so please make sure to keep your candy safely hidden. Or, just eat it all before the animals can get into it!

– Dr. Katherine Siefker, DVM

Spotsylvania Animal Hospital provides medical and surgical care for every stage of your pet's life including preventive wellness care exams and vaccines, spays/neuters, and a variety of specialized care for your dog or cat. Learn more about us!

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