Humans love chocolate for all occasions, especially at Halloween! Unfortunately, chocolate in all forms is poisonous to our pets and should be kept away from them.
Who is at risk?
Cats and dogs are both at risk of chocolate poisoning. However, there are more reported cases of dogs being affected since dogs typically eat just about anything. Smaller pets face much greater risk of chocolate toxicity than large breed dogs because it only takes a small amount of chocolate to negatively affect them. 3 ounces of milk chocolate can cause vomiting and diarrhea in a 9kg dog while it takes about 11 ounces to cause the same effects in an 35 kg dog.
Theobromine, the naturally occurring stimulant in chocolate and cocoa, along with caffeine can cause an increased heart rate. A pet that consumes toxic amounts of chocolate can experience hyperactivity, tremors, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and potentially death.
Take pets with suspected chocolate poisoning to their veterinarian immediately. The veterinarian may induce vomiting. Active charcoal may be used to prevent absorption into the bloodstream. Additional fluid therapy may also be warranted.
Different types of chocolate
Dark chocolate contains more of the stimulants than milk chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate and baking chocolate contains even higher amounts, which make them more dangerous. White chocolate contains only trace amounts of caffeine and theobromine, but is still bad for your cat or dog and should still be avoided.