Chocolate not such a "sweet" treat for pets

For Andi and Bosco, 1 year old French Bulldogs, a rummage under the Christmas tree and breaking into the presents early could have been disastrous for the pair! Their concerned owners brought them into Adelaide Animal Hospital one evening, after discovering the troublesome duo had run amuck tearing presents under the Christmas tree and devouring a block of very tasty organic dark chocolate.

Chocolate contains the stimulants caffeine and theobromine, both of which can be toxic to the central nervous system of both dogs and cats.  Cooking chocolate contains the largest amount of toxic ingredients, then dark chocolate, followed by milk chocolate. A lethal (deadly) dose of theobromine is 80-200mg/kg, cooking chocolate has 14.1mg/gram of theobromine, dark chocolate has 5.3mg/gram, milk chocolate has 1.4mg/gram. This means as little as 50g of cooking chocolate can be toxic to a 20kg dog. Cocoa powder and coffee beans can also be a source of these toxic stimulants.

Signs of chocolate toxicity include vomiting, diarrhoea, increased urination, restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching and in severe cases, or when left untreated, seizures. These signs can occur between 30 minutes and up to 12 hours after ingestion. Luckily for Andi and Bosco, their owners had discovered their chocolate binge only moments after ingestion and sought veterinary attention immediately.

The pair were immediately admitted for treatment to remove any potential toxin in their systems. Intra-venous catheters were placed and both dogs were given injections to make them vomit. Both dogs brought up chocolate as well as the foil and cardboard it was wrapped in! Their vitals signs were monitored in hospital until they were discharged home with their owners.

Cases of chocolate toxicity hit their peak during the Christmas/ New Year/ Easter period. The smell of that delicious choccy treat is as tempting to our pets as it is to us humans, so please keep your pet safe and keep your chocolate out of reach. If you pet does find a sneaky little treat, then please do seek veterinary help immediately.

From Bosco and Andi's owners:

"Bosco and Andi are two very enjoyable pets who are very different yet very much the same. Bosco is 17 months old and has been with us since he was 8 weeks old. He is a very relaxed loyal dog who loves attention and always needs to be close by. Whereas Andi, who is 13 months old and has also been with us since she was 8 weeks old, is very independent, adventurous and loves a good scratch. She loves her toys and brings them everywhere with her.
At home both Bosco and Andi are very quiet sleepy pets. They spend the day sleeping around the house and in the evening you will find them chasing each other both inside and outside. They have broken 4 doggy doors from trying to trick each other running through at high speeds. After 10 minutes of running around they are very relaxed and asleep for the rest of the night. French Bulldogs are very friendly loyal pets and are great to have around."

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