It is nearly Valentine’s Day, and this is the time of the year that many of us will be purchasing special sweets for our loved ones. No one can resist chocolate this time of the year and that includes our furry pets.
What should you do if your dog indulges on some chocolate? First of all, keep an eye out for any of the following symptoms:
· Drinking excessively
· Muscle tremors
If you are noticing that your dog is showing any of the above symptoms, it could be a sign that they maybe suffering from the effects of chocolate consumption. It is probably a good idea to visit your local veterinarian. And remember to grab any remaining packaging from the chocolate treats. This will help your veterinarian know more about what kind of chocolate was ingested and how much.
So, you have found a wrapper or two, but your pet is acting normal. You will want to gather the information on the ingredients in the chocolate.
Be aware of what ingredients are in the chocolate as some of the fillings, including raisins or macadamia nuts, can also be toxic. Chocolates can also contain a variety of compounds that are toxic. An example is a compound called theobromine that dogs are sensitive to. Theobromine is in the same class of compounds as caffeine, so when dogs ingest chocolate in large quantities, the theobromine may cause hyperactivity or agitation, an increase in heart rate, muscle tremors, and seizures. Generally, the darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it will contain, meaning it will take less dark chocolate to pose a problem for your dog.
However, theobromine’s presence in chocolate may not be the only concern for your dog. Xylitol, a sugar substitute, is occasionally used in chocolate as well. Xylitol can cause low blood sugar and possible liver injury.
Some dogs may be sensitive to the amount of sugar and fat in chocolate. Eating the chocolate can then lead to inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).
What about your cats? Theobromine can also be a problem for them as well. Cats can be more discerning about what they eat and are less likely to consume larger quantities of chocolate.
Your local veterinarian will provide you with how you should manage the situation. If it is not serious, they may have you simply monitor your pet at home.