Pets & the Dangers of Chocolates

We have all heard “Don’t give your dog chocolate-it could kill him”.

Chocolate contains a xanthine compound, theobromine, which is toxic in sufficient quantities. Caffeine is another xanthine compound. Xanthines affect primarily the central nervous system, the cardiovascular system, and peripheral nerves. There is a diuretic effect as well. Clinical signs include hyperexcitability, hyperirritability, increased heart rate, restlessness, increased urination, muscle tremors, seizures, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Fortunately, it takes a fairly large amount of theobromine (100-150 mg/kg) to cause a toxic reaction. On average, milk chocolate contains 44 mg of theobromine per ounce. Semisweet chocolate contains 150 mg/oz. Baker’s chocolate contains 390mg/oz.

There is no specific antidote for theobromine toxicity. Medical treatment is supportive. Inducing vomiting can help if the ingestion is known and has occurred within one to two hours. Administration of activated charcoal may inhibit absorption of the toxin from the digestive tract. It may be necessary to use medications to control the effects of the poisoning, especially seizure control medications, oxygen therapy, IV fluids, and medications to control the effects on the heart. Xanthines may be reabsorbed from the bladder, so urinary catheterization is recommended in order to prevent this.

If your pet consumes chocolate, call Affordable Pet Care N.W. right away.

You will be asked 1) what kind of chocolate was ingested, 2) the amount ingested, 3) how much the animal weighs, and 4) when the chocolate was ingested.

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