With Halloween approaching, we want make sure everyone knows to keep chocolate out of Fido’s trick-or-treat basket. Here is why. Chocolate contains a compound called theobromine, a close cousin of caffeine with very similar effects. Have you ever noticed a little boost in energy after a nice piece of dark choclate? Very small amounts of theobromine, such as the amounts found in milk chocolate, can have a profound stimulant effect on cats and dogs. It can also make them vomit the chocolate, which isn’t very nice to clean off of your carpet.
Unfortunately, darker chocolates contain much higher amounts of theobromine. The effects are intensified, and can even lead to seizures if enough is eaten. The safest thing to remember is to stay away from chocolate in pets, but be especially careful not to leave any dark or baking chocolate around where pets can reach. If your pets do steal some chocolate, please call your veterinarian and try to determine the type of chocolate and the amount.
-Ryan Frome, DVM