Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pet Health Tip #24- Chocolate Toxicity

We are moving into the holiday season.  This is the time of year when we go chocolate crazy; from Halloween candy to baking various candies for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  So, I thought I would write a post about the potential dangers associated with chocolate toxicity in dogs.  The symptoms of chocolate toxicity can range from mild diarrhea and vomiting to seizures and death.  They include:  Vomiting, Diarrhea, Fever, Muscle Spasms, Rapid Breathing, Increased Heart Rate, Seizures, Coma, and Cardiac Arrest.

The severity of the symptoms depend upon the amount and type of chocolate ingested.  The toxicity levels include the following:

Milk Chocolate: Mild signs at 0.7 oz per pound of body weight; severe toxicity at 2 oz per pound of body weight.  In other words one pound of milk chocolate can cause severe signs in a 20 lb dog.

Semi-sweet Chocolate: Mild signs at 0.3 oz per pound of body weight; severe toxicity at 1 oz per pound of body weight

Baking chocolate: This one is the most toxic and can cause severe symptoms with as little as 2 small 1 oz squares.

In most cases, you will only see mild signs of chocolate toxicity.  However, if enough is ingested, it could cause severe toxicity.  Therefore, it is extremely important to keep chocolate stored away from pets.  If you know your dog has ingested chocolate, then keep in mind the above information when determining whether or not your pet will require veterinary attention.  If it is just a piece or two of milk chocolate, then be prepared for some mild diarrhea.  On the other hand, if your dog ingested an entire bar of bakers chocolate, then you will need to seek veterinary attention.

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