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Chocolate Toxicity

Ingesting chocolate can be very dangerous for cats and dogs. Chocolate contains theobromine, a distant cousin of of caffeine, and caffeine itself which causes chocolate to be so toxic. The more cocoa present in a chocolate product, the more theobromine and caffeine, and therefore more dangerous it is for dogs and cats. This is the reason why baking chocolate is the very dangerous, followed by semi-sweet and dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and then chocolate flavored cakes and cookies. White chocolate contains almost no theobromine, and is only a problem because of fat content which can cause pancreatitis. Symptoms that owners should be looking for include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, racing heart rhythm progressing to abnormal rhythms, and even death in severe cases.

If chocolate is consumed, owners should call their veterinarian or local emergency clinic to learn the severity of the situation. Owners should try to know how much chocolate the animal ate, what type of chocolate it was, and when it was eaten. Sometimes inducing vomiting can be enough, but it can take up to four days for the chocolate to work out of the animal’s system. Owners can also call Pet Poison Hotline at 800-213-6680.

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