Awwww, your sweetheart just gifted you your favorite chocolate for Valentine’s Day! While this is fantastic for you—it is not so great for your furry friend. Here’s more in-depth info on why it’s important to enforce the separation of chocolate and pets, and what to do if they get their paws on these sweets:
- Chocolate contains an ingredient called theobromine, which is toxic to pets. Humans can metabolize it, but pets process it very slowly, which allows it to build-up toxic levels in their systems.
- Chocolate is also high in fats and can contain caffeine which affects the heart, central nervous system and urination frequency.
- The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is for our furry friends. Please be careful with baking chocolate, as this poses the biggest risk. Less than an ounce of dark chocolate may be enough to poison a 45lb dog.
- If your pet has ingested chocolate, monitor them for symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drinking, pacing, shaking and hyperactivity. The usual treatment is to induce vomiting as soon as possible after ingestion, but no later than within 2 hours. Even after inducing vomiting, your pet’s blood values will need to be monitored to ensure that there is no long term damage to any major organs.
Please contact us immediately if ingestion happens during GOVC during business hours. We do our best to accommodate urgent cases and provide critical care for our patients. If you’re bringing your pet in, please bring any chocolate packaging to help us understand what kind of chocolate it was and how much your pet has ingested.
The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is also a valuable resource for chocolate consumption and other toxic scenarios. Their number is 888-426-4435.
While we’re not advocating for you to have Valentine’s Day sans chocolate, we do want our clients to be safe and responsible during this time. Please always be aware of any chocolate that is left out, and keep it in pet-safe containers or inaccessible drawers!
For more information on chocolate toxicity and pets, please contact us at (713) 659-0650.