(WHTM) — Dogs and cats love food, but they are not supposed to have certain foods such as coffee, chives, onions, grapes, and garlic.
But one very dangerous food for both dogs and cats is something many humans love: chocolate.
When it comes to chocolate, it is toxic for both dogs and cats. This is because chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine, which is used medicinally as a blood vessel dilator, heart stimulant, and for other purposes.
Dogs and cats cannot metabolize theobromine and caffeine as well as people can, so they are more sensitive to the chemical. According to VCA Animals Hospitals, theobromine varies with the type of chocolate. The darker the chocolate the more dangerous it can be.
Baking chocolate and dark chocolate are highly concentrated with up to 140 milligrams of theobromine per ounce, while common milk chocolate has a lower concentration of the chemical with around 44 to 58 milligrams per ounce.
White chocolate does not pose as much of a threat since it only has 0.25 milligrams per ounce.
VGA Animal Hospital says that a medium-sized dog weighing 50 pounds would only need to eat 1 ounce of baker’s chocolate, or 9 ounces of milk chocolate, to possibly show signs of poisoning.
Signs of chocolate poisoning depend on the amount and type of chocolate ingested. For many dogs and cats, the most common signs are:
- Increased thirst
- Excessive urination
- Racing heart rate
In severe cases, symptoms can include muscle tremors, seizures, and heart failure.
If you suspect that your cat or dog has eaten chocolate, immediately call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661