My Pet Ate Chocolate! What Do I Do?


Animals, from birds to horses, have a low tolerance for theobromine, the toxic chemical in chocolate. Chocolate also contains caffeine, another ingredient that most animals can't tolerate. Humans do better with these ingredients, mostly because we're larger and can metabolize them quicker and easier. Since many humans enjoy chocolate and keep it around the house, there is a chance that a pet might accidentally ingest it. If this happens, try following some of the advice listed below.

Don't panic: Most animals don't drop dead immediately after eating chocolate. In some cases, a small amount, such as a couple licks of chocolate ice cream or pudding, won't give them more than a stomach ache. Smaller animals will feel the effects faster than larger ones. If you think your pet ate chocolate, look for the following symptoms;

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy (or acting like they're not feeling well)
  • Fever
  • Nervousness or shaking
  • Seizures

If your pet suddenly shows any of these symptoms contact your veterinarian or immediately bring him or her to the emergency vet hospital. If you know your pet ate chocolate, but is not showing these symptoms, contact a vet with questions or concerns. Most vets will want to know your pets size, age, the type of chocolate and the amount eaten. If necessary, they may tell you to induce vomiting and give you the instructions on how to do so.

Get Treatment: If you bring your pet to the emergency room, the vet will do a thorough exam, including blood and urine tests. Treatment will be similar to that for other poisons. The vet might also check the heart to check for abnormalities brought on by the chocolate.

Intravenous fluids may be given and vomiting induced. Charcoal may be given to help absorb the poison in the stomach. The length of treatment depends on the amount and type of chocolate ingested. Dark chocolate and baker's chocolate are more toxic due to their higher percentage of cacao compared to milk chocolate.

Think Prevention: There's no cure or tolerance build-up for chocolate poisoning in animals. The best way to prevent it is to keep chocolate away from your pets.  Don't leave dishes that contained foods with chocolate within easy reach of animals. Keep chocolate locked up or out of reach, especially if you know your pet likes to experiment with foods.

Chocolate is not the only potential pet poison in your pantry. Check with your vet on other food concerns. Keeping toxic food out of your pet's diet will ensure that he or she remains healthy.  


4 November 2014

Veterinary Care for Small Animals

Do you own a small animal like a mouse, hamster or even a lizard? Did you know that even these tiny creatures can benefit from veterinary care? My name is Emma, and I own a number of small pets. I have found out through my experiences that veterinary care can give my little pets a longer, healthier life. This blog will cover what a small animal needs from regular medical care as well as special situations that require emergency veterinary intervention. Tiny pets deserve a healthy life, too. Learn how to do all your can for the littlest animals in your care.