Can Dogs & Cats Eat Chocolate?
Can Dogs And Cats Eat Chocolate?
Dogs and cats are inquisitive and always on the look-out for a snack. If you leave chocolate within their reach, they will eat it. Family members sometimes feed them from the table, including sweets and chocolate. However, chocolate poses a serious risk to your pets.
What’s The Problem?
Chocolate contains an ingredient called theobromine, which is similar to caffeine, and this is toxic to dogs and cats. The amount will vary depending on the kind of chocolate: dark chocolate tends to have higher levels, but it is also found in milk and white chocolate. It will also affect your pet differently depending on their breed and size.
Theobromine affects the heart, central nervous system and kidneys, and within 24 hours of ingesting, your pet may show symptoms such as:
- Restlessness and hyperactivity
- Rapid breathing
- Muscle tension, incoordination
- Increased heart rate
If this happens, it is important to take your pet to a vet.
How Much Is Safe?
It is best to avoid giving chocolate to dogs and cats. Theobromine doses in the region of 100-150 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight (for dogs), and 7 grams of baking chocolate / 60 grams of milk chocolate per kilogram of bodyweight (for cats) are toxic, so a smaller pet could withstand less. Very small doses will make your pet unwell; a large enough dose can be fatal.
What Should I Do?
If your pet has eaten chocolate, please consult a vet practice as soon as possible. It would be helpful if you could explain what kind of chocolate has been eaten, and how much. Also if you can give an estimate of how heavy your pet is.
You can find your nearest VetsNow emergency clinic here: https://www.vets-now.com/find-an-emergency-vet
Alternatively you can find your nearest RCVS registered vet practice here: https://findavet.rcvs.org.uk/home
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