Chocolate Halloween candy may be a treat for children, but it poses a serious threat to pets, warns an expert.
Pets who consume chocolate can experience vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and urination, irregular heartbeat, tremours, seizures and even death, said Susan Nelson, a Kansas State University veterinarian. These problems are mainly caused by a substance in chocolate called theobromine.
Different types of chocolate have varying concentrations of theobromine. Baking chocolate contains the most, semisweet and milk chocolate sport a medium amount, and white chocolate has the least, Nelson explained.
If your pet consumes a large quantity of chocolate, you should call a veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately, Nelson said.
"Chocolate consumption is a very common problem among pets, dogs especially," but it can also harm cats, birds, rats and ferrets, Nelson said. "It is important to recognise that individual reactions vary by pets, but it is best to assume your pet is one of the sensitive ones and not delay in seeking advice from your veterinarian. Be aware of the chocolate sources in your house, and tell any new dog owner about this potential threat to their pet."
In order to protect pets, she suggests keeping all foods out of their reach, and confining pets during family gatherings and parties so that guests don't feed them.
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