Today is World Chocolate Day, which is great for humans. But before you celebrate, we’d like to remind everyone that chocolate is toxic to most pets. Most animals are susceptible to chocolate poisoning, and it is particularly dangerous for birds, dogs, cats, and ferrets. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual:
“Ingestion of chocolate can result in potentially life-threatening heart rhythm abnormalities and central nervous system disturbances. Many species are susceptible, but chocolate poisoning is most common in dogs because of their tendency to eat anything and the fact that chocolate is readily available. Deaths have also been reported in animals that have eaten mulch containing cocoa-bean hulls.”
If you think your pet may have consumed something poisonous, contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.
Cocolate toxicosis (chocolate poisoning)
Chocolate is especially dangerous for dogs, cats, birds, and ferrets. For example, Dogs are vulnerable because they will often eat anything that seems like food. Even though cats are less likely to eat chocolate because they cannot taste sweet things, they may still be attracted to chocolate milk, ice cream, or pudding (cats are lactose intolerant, as well, so avoid feeding these things to your kitty). Even small amounts of chocolate can be deadly to birds, according to board certified veterinarian Laurie Hess. If you’re a ferret owner, you know that these little rascals are expert thieves, so be careful to keep chocolate far away from them, too.
Signs of chocolate poisoning can include:
- rapid breathing
- increased heart rate
In severe cases, chocolate poisoning in pets can lead to heart failure, coma, and even death.
Keep Your Pets Safe
The most important thing you can do to prevent chocolate poisoning in pets is to keep all chocolate away from your animals. Don’t leave chocolate treats, like brownies or cupcakes, on a table where your dog or cat might reach it; don’t leave out bowls of chocolate candy treats; keep chocolate and cocoa ingredients in tight containers away from your your pet eats.
The Human Society notes that other foods can also be dangerous for pets, including:
- Apple seeds
- Apricot pits
- Cherry pits
- Macadamia nuts
- Moldy foods
The Animal Store wants to help you keep your animals happy and healthy. Ask our expert staff about safe treats for your pet, so your human family can enjoy World Chocolate Day without worry.
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