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Chocolate Toxicity in Our Pets

The holiday season means lots of sweets and treats. Animals often have a sweet tooth just like their human counterparts. Unfortunately chocolate is toxic to dogs, cats, ferrets, birds and rats. Kansas State’s Susan Nelson, DVM points out that chocolate contains large amounts of methylxanthines such as Theobromine and caffeine. It is theobromine that causes the majority of symptoms in pets. Unlike people, pets take much longer to clear theobromine from their bodies, which leads to the build up of toxic levels. Those are big words but the message is simple, do not give it to your pets!

Guide for Theobromine levels in different types of chocolate:
From The Merck Veterinary Manual, here are approximate Theobromine levels of different types of chocolate:

  • Dry cocoa powder = 800 mg/oz
  • Unsweetened (Baker’s) chocolate = 450 mg/oz
  • Cocoa bean mulch = 255 mg/oz
  • semisweet and sweet dark chocolate is = 150-160 mg/oz
  • Milk = 44-64 mg Theobromine per oz chocolate
  • White choc contains an insignificant source of methylxanthines.

Take precautions by keeping all foods out of a pet’s reach to avoid hazardous consumption situations. Also, confining pets during parties or family gatherings will help prevent guests from feeding them toxic foods. Follow these guidelines and have a safe and happy Halloween!

chocolate

Kitten with Top Hat Mark

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