Chocolate is a substance that can be harmful to both cats and dogs, due to a chemical known as theobromine, which is similar to caffeine. If your beloved family pet ate chocolate, here are a few steps you should take to make ensure pet wellness.
Pet illnesses due to the ingestion of chocolate has to do with the amount the animal ate, and how concentrated the chocolate is. The darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains, and the more dangerous it is. That means that products such as baker’s chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate chips, cocoa powder, or specialty dark chocolates are especially dangerous for pet wellness. An animal need only ingest 0.13 ounces of dark chocolate to cause poisoning, compared to the 0.5 ounces it would take of milk chocolate to have the same effect.
Signs of chocolate poisoning include mild diarrhea or vomiting, changes in behavior, abnormal or elevated heart rate, and in severe cases, seizures or collapsing. If your animal has shown any of these signs after ingesting chocolate, you will want to induce vomiting to prevent any further poisoning. Watch your pet carefully to look for any signs of additional poisoning. If the poisoning is serious, try giving your pet an activated charcoal pill to absorb the toxic elements.
If you have pet health concerns, especially if you believe your pet has poisoning, the best course of action is to seek immediate veterinary advice. Remember, your pet is not able to tell you what is wrong with them. So if your pet is acting strangely, the best way to ensure their health is to get them regularly checked by a veterinarian to make sure your pet can stay in the family for years to come.