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19 July 2011

Chocolate poisoning

Just like us, dogs and some cats find chocolate highly palatable but it is important to avoid giving too much.

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Chocolate is very bad for your pet's health - not only does it cause obesity, but it could also poison your pet.

Just like us, dogs and some cats find chocolate highly palatable but it is important to avoid giving too much. There are some minor problems that can result from too much chocolate:

  • Chocolate is high in calories so it can contribute to the development of obesity.
  • Dogs fed chocolate regularly are predisposed to develop tooth decay (caries) because of the high sugar content.
  • Too much chocolate can reduce the animals appetite for it's normal ration.
  • Chocolate contains the chemical theobromine - which is toxic, and potentially lethal to dogs and cats. One reason for this is that dogs are unable to clear theobromine from their bodies as quickly as humans can. 

The signs of chocolate poisoning due to the theobromine toxicity include:

  • Increased urine production (diuresis)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Muscle tremors
  • Death

The official LD50 (a measure of the toxicity of a product) of theobromine in dogs is 240-500mg/kg body weight of the animal. But there is a report of a dog dying after eating only 114 mg/kg body weight.

Milk chocolate contains about 1.5mg theobromine per gram, and unsweetened baking chocolate contains upto 15mg per gram. So potentially toxic levels can be reached in a 10kg dog by eating only 63g of unsweetened cooking chocolate, or 670g of milk chocolate.

Source: Provet

 
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