Thursday, October 3, 2013

Happy Halloween

With Halloween just around the corner, it is a good time to talk about Chocolate Toxicity.  Everybody loves chocolate. Chocolate candy, chocolate ice cream, and chocolate cookies.  Although we may want to share a favorite treat with our eager pets, it is best to think twice.

 So what is it in Chocolate that proves so deadly for our pets. Theobromine which is found in the chocolate liquor (the liquid that results from grinding the hulled cacao beans) can cause things such as vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, racing heart rhythms and death in severe cases. The more chocolate liquor in a product, the more theobromine there is.

Milk chocolate contains 10% chocolate liquor, Semisweet chocolate contains 35% chocolate liquor and unsweetened or Bakers chocolate contains up to 50% chocolate liquor.  Additional sources of fat and sugar that can be found in some chocolate can also set our pets up for a lethal metabolic disease called pancreatitis.

How much is too much.  It doesn't take very much theobromine at all to cause mild to severe symptoms. For example as little as 18mg per pound of dog can cause severe toxicity signs in some dogs.  And 1 ounce of baking chocolate can contain 390mg of theobromine.

It can take nearly four days for the effects of chocolate to work its way out of the pet's system.  If chocolate ingestion has just occurred please contact us immediately as we can often induce vomiting. Otherwise hospitalization and supportive care will be required.

So with Halloween just around the corner, and Fido at home eagerly waiting to share all your Halloween candy it is best that we avoid all chocolate and sweets and reach for a much safer option like a dog or cat friendly biscuit.