Chocolate in moderate amounts is a sweet part of life for many of us. However, even a small amount of chocolate to some cats and dogs can be devastating and potentially fatal.

As well as a high-fat content, chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine. These two stimulants, affect the central nervous system and the heart muscle, as well as urination frequency.

How much chocolate is toxic?

It depends on the type of chocolate and the weight of your pet. White chocolate has the least amount of stimulants and dark chocolate has the highest, of which cooking or baking chocolate will cause the most severe symptoms.

A lethal dose of theobromine is 80-200mg per kg, cooking or baking chocolate has 14.1mg per gram of theobromine, dark chocolate has 5.3mg per gram, milk chocolate has 1.4mg per gram, and white chocolate has very little real chocolate in it. If in doubt (and recommended if your pet has eaten chocolate) please contact us so we can evaluate the danger to your pet.

When will your pet show signs of chocolate poisoning?

Between 30 minutes to 3 hours after ingestion.

What signs to look out for?

If your 20 kg dog gets their paws on a single chocolate-chip cookie, it probably won’t cause them serious problems. However, if they gobble up enough of your favourite chocolate treats they may develop symptoms such as:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • increased urination
  • restlessness
  • hyperactivity
  • muscle twitching
  • and in severe cases or where left untreated seizures.

What to do if you suspect poisoning?

The sooner you seek help from your vet the better off your pet will be. Seek veterinarian attention immediately.