By Dr. Kathryn Sarpong, DVM
Chocolate is toxic to cats and dogs. As little as an ounce of chocolate per 10 pounds of body weight can be potentially fatal depending on the type of chocolate. Dark chocolates and baking chocolates are more toxic than milk or white chocolate.
Symptoms of chocolate toxicity range from mild irritant to life-threatening. Small amounts of chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea and hyperactivity. Increasing amounts can lead to cardiac arrythmias (irregular heartbeats), seizures, and even death. If you return home and find that your four legged friend has indulged in chocolate very recently, you may want to induce vomiting. One of the most common methods to induce vomiting is to give hydrogen peroxide. (It is a good idea to keep a bottle of hydrogen peroxide at home in case of emergencies.) Call your veterinarian and ask if inducing vomiting is appropriate given your animal’s health, weight, and amount of chocolate consumed. Other treatments your veterinarian may recommend include stomach lavaging, activated charcoal administration, IV fluids, EKG monitoring, and medications to ease the vomiting and diarrhea.
So, spare yourself and your animal a lot of heartache and keep those yummy treats for yourself!