Parts of this information is from Dr. Karen Becker, DVM
I have experience chocolate poisoning from a family pet and it was scary. We spent Christmas Eve and early into Christmas Day in the Emergency Veterinarian Clinic with my son's Golden Retriever about 6 years ago and it sure made me more cautious about keeping an eye on what food is around that we might not even thing twice about being a concern for our pets. This sweet counter surfing dog ate a majority of some rich dark chocolate brownies. She couldn't have had a more dangerous snack for this was the most serious type of chocolate poisoning.
The vets had to pump her stomach and then get charcoal into her stomach to absorb any of the chocolate that wasn't discharged by vomiting. After that she had to be watched very closely to make sure she didn't have any other reactions which made for a very long night. Luckly there was an emergency clinic close and she was cared for immediately so she did fully recover.
Please watch your Pets Closely especially if you have children in the household!
By Dr. Karen Shaw Becker
According to veterinary journal dvm360, here’s the extent of what most pet parents know about the dangers of chocolate: Chocolate + Dog = Big trouble. This is actually a good, if simplistic way to frame the issue.
Dogs are much more often the victims of chocolate poisoning than cats, because dogs like sweet-tasting things, and they’re indiscriminate eaters. They make up 95 percent of chocolate emergency calls according to the Pet Poison Helpline, and in some dogs, even the wrappers from candy can result in secondary obstruction in the stomach or intestines.1 But why, exactly, is one of our favorite treats such a problem for furry family members?
Chocolate Poisoning PrimerChocolate is made from the roasted seeds of the Theobroma cacao or cocoa tree. The seeds have certain properties that can be toxic for dogs (and cats), including caffeine and theobromine, which are naturally occurring stimulants. Both theobromine and caffeine stimulate the central nervous system and heart muscle. They also relax smooth muscles, especially the bronchial muscles, and increase production of urine by the kidneys.
Studies show dogs are especially sensitive to theobromine compared to other domestic animals. This is because they metabolize the substance very slowly, which means it stays in the bloodstream for an unusually long time. This may also be true of cats, but because kitties don’t commonly overdose on chocolate, there isn’t a lot of research on feline chocolate toxicosis.
Even small amounts of chocolate can cause adverse reactions in pets, and the darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains. Baker’s chocolate, semisweet chocolate, cocoa powder and gourmet dark chocolates are more dangerous than milk chocolate.
Other sources include chewable flavored multivitamins, baked goods, chocolate-covered espresso beans and cocoa bean mulch. White chocolate has very little theobromine and won’t cause poisoning in pets. Though not commonly seen, the worst of the worst is dry cocoa powder, which contains the highest amount of theobromine per ounce — 800 milligrams per ounce versus Baker’s chocolate at 450 milligrams per ounce.
How Much Is Too Much?“It’s the dose that makes the poison,” according to the Pet Poison Helpline. For example, a few M&Ms or a bite of a chocolate chip cookie are unlikely to cause a problem for your dog. Standard guidelines for chocolate poisoning in dogs include:2
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