It is important to remember the toxic effects of chocolate on our pets. This festive period when young and old indulge in gluttony in front of so much chocolate can be synonymous with intoxication for your pets.
Particularly toxic for dogs and cats, chocolate is a real food hazard for our little furballs. Each year and especially during the Easter period, veterinarians have to deal with numerous poisonings. Often too curious or too greedy our companions do not hesitate to steal a few pieces of chocolate left lying around here and there. Poison control centers are trying to educate masters so that this kind of poisoning is reduced. Indeed, we must remain very vigilant and explain to children the harmful effects of this gluttony on our animals.
Why is chocolate dangerous for animals?
Although very appreciable and presenting many benefits for the human body, chocolate is nonetheless very toxic and even fatal for our pets.
The cocoa which is the basis of chocolate contains a substance called theobromine. This, although harmless to humans, is very dangerous for domestic animals. Dogs and cats do not have the capacity to naturally eliminate this molecule which will then attack their nervous system. Dark chocolate is the one that contains the most theobromine and therefore more dangerous. A dose of 60 to 100 grams of very dark chocolate would be enough to kill a dog weighing ten kilos.
Even in small repeated doses, chocolate can cause heart failure due to the accumulation of this molecule in the blood of the animal.
Dogs, cats, birds, horses, or even rats do not have a metabolism capable of eliminating theobromine, chocolate is, therefore, a deadly poison for them.
Symptoms of chocolate poisoning
The first symptoms usually appear 5-6 hours after swallowing the chocolate. The first signs appear at the digestive level with vomiting and diarrhea.
Subsequently, the animal will start to drink large amounts of water and urinate because of the diuretic effect of the poison molecule. Your companion will appear breathless and gasp faster and faster due to the increased heart rate.
The nervous symptoms are the last to appear: agitation, convulsions, muscle spasms, heart attack, and in the worst cases, death of the animal by respiratory arrest. This unfortunate consequence can occur between 18 and 24 hours after ingesting chocolate.
How to act during chocolate poisoning?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for theobromine poisoning.
In the event that you find that your dog has eaten a large amount of chocolate, immediately contact your veterinarian or the nearest poison control center. If it was swallowed within two hours, you can try to induce vomiting. For this you can use a teaspoon with salt and hot water, it will quickly bring out what he has eaten.
You will still have to take your pet quickly to your veterinarian, who will then put him on a drip to help him eliminate the molecule. Hospitalization may be longer or shorter depending on the quantity ingested and the size of the animal.
In case you haven’t seen your pet eat chocolate but has similar symptoms, don’t wait and get to the vet as soon as possible.
Please NEVER feed your dog or other pet chocolate. There are many suitable treats to please him without risking poisoning him.