***Valentines Day Chocolate Toxicity Warning***
Valentine’s Day is a time to spoil our beloveds, woo our secret lovers, and remember to call our mothers which means that Melbourne households will be filling up with chocolate. We are asking all pet owners to be cautious of chocolate around your pets especially this weekend.
Older pets, or animals with pre-existing heart conditions, are more susceptible to the effects of chocolate poisoning and at higher risk of sudden death due to cardiac arrest.
The common clinical signs of chocolate poisoning are:
- increased thirst
- panting or restlessness
- excessive urination
- muscle spasms and tremors
- increased temperature
- increased heart rate
- abnormal behaviour
Why Chocolate is dangerous to pets:
Cooking/baking chocolate and dark chocolate pose the biggest danger, as they contain the largest concentration of theobromine. A 10kg dog would only have to eat 50 grams of milk chocolate to show clinical signs of chocolate toxicity or as little as 30 grams of dark chocolate. Whereas a mere 15 grams of baking chocolate (containing 70% cocoa) could lead to chocolate toxicity. Keep in mind that if the chocolate contains other harmful ingredients such as raisins/sultanas, alcohol or macadamia nuts then it may cause further complications.
It contains the alkaloid theobromine, which has similar effects as caffeine and is poisonous in large amounts. The toxicity level of the chocolate depends on the type and amount that is consumed, as well as the size of the dog. Toxic doses are generally considered to be 100mg of theobromine per kilogram of body weight, with fatal doses often occurring at over 200mg per kilogram.
Ingestion of chocolate in dogs does often lead to significant illness and so should be taken seriously by pet owners and treated as an animal emergency. As with all things, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so if you believe your dog has ingested any amount of chocolate you should immediately consult an emergency veterinarian and bring it in for examination at a 24 hour animal emergency centre.
Essendon Fields: (03) 9379 0700
Point Cook: (03) 8368 7400