Cleveland Clinic officials say dogs can’t process some of the ingredients that make up many chocolates and candies.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Veterinarians color dog owners during the holiday months, particularly Easter, to avoid giving their pets chocolate and candies containing chocolate. New data released by the Kennel Club shows dogs eat and become sick from chocolate treats at a 123% higher rate during Easter than any other time of year, excluding Christmas.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, chocolate contains two particular ingredients that cause harm to dogs, as well as cats: theobromine and caffeine, which cannot be metabolized as well in those animals as it can in humans.
A fact sheet produced by the clinic shows warning signs of chocolate toxicity beginning within 6 to 12 hours of ingestion, and can include:
- excessive thirst
- racing heartbeat
- high blood pressure
If not treated quickly, the pet could die. Generally, the darker the chocolate, the higher the risk becomes.
The smaller the animal, the less chocolate it takes to make them sick. For example, a six-pound Yorkshire terrier’s “danger zone” is 1.67 ounces of milk chocolate. For a 20-pound pug, the danger zone is 5.5 ounces of milk chocolate, and a 75-pound Golden retriever can get toxicity from just over 20 ounces of milk chocolate.
The statistics above are what can cause signs of cardiovascular damage. In general, no amount of chocolate is safe for a pet.
If you think your dog or cat has ingested chocolate and may be experiencing the onset of illness, contact your veterinarian immediately.
You can also contact the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center toll-free at 1-888-426-4435.
Veterinarians also want to remind you that grapes, raisins, sultanas and currants are also toxic to “man’s best friend.”