A heart-shaped box of chocolates is synonymous with Valentine’s Day, but for those of us with dogs, any chocolate in the home can put our canine companion at risk. As we prepare for an onslaught of delicious treats this February, it’s important to be aware of the dangers of chocolate toxicity and take steps to protect our pets.
It’s fairly well-known that chocolate is dangerous to dogs, but why? For starters, all forms of chocolate contain caffeine and theobromine, both of which cannot be properly metabolized by dogs or cats.
The type of chocolate, amount consumed, and the size of your pet are all factors when it comes to determining the severity of chocolate toxicity. Dark chocolate and baking chocolate contain enough theobromine to be deadly, even when less than an ounce is consumed.
Symptoms of Chocolate Toxicity in Pets
Although that dropped brownie on the floor or empty chocolate wrapper near Fido’s bed probably won’t warrant a trip to the ER, you should call us just to be safe. We’ll review your pet’s symptoms and risk factors and help you determine the best course of action for your pet.
However, if you notice any of the following symptoms, seek immediate medical attention:
- Excessive drooling
- Rapid breathing
- Increased heart rate
Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital provides emergency and critical care 7 days a week. If possible, call us ahead of time to let us know you’re on your way. For emergency care outside our regular hours, we refer patients to a local 24-hour emergency clinic.
Preventing an Emergency
Pet poisoning emergencies are common around the holidays due to an abundance of irresistible goodies around the house. Valentine’s Day is no different! To avoid turning this day into a disaster, keep the following precautions in mind:
- Keep all candy and other treats stored in a cupboard instead of in bowls or dishes on the counter.
- Supervise your pet during dinners and parties or keep them safe in a cozy spot away from all the festivities.
- Many pets are intrigued by the smell and taste of alcohol, so make sure to clean up all glasses and half-finished beverages.
- Just because a piece of candy is wrapped doesn’t mean your dog won’t try to eat it. In fact, some pups will just eat the wrapper!