Can Cats, Dogs eat chocolate Other Foods 2022
Any amount of chocolate is too much for your cat. All forms of chocolate are hazardous to your furry friends, such as dry cocoa powder and baking chocolate (most toxic due to their high level of theobromine), dark, semi-sweet, milk chocolate, and even white chocolate with its low percentage of cocoa.
Chocolate is toxic to dogs and even deadly to cats. This article tells you what to do if your pet has eaten chocolate.
Chocolate dog and cat poisoning
At this time of year, there is often plenty of chocolate available in our homes. Take care of yourself and your pet! Chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats. Poisoning is more common in dogs because they sometimes eat off the table and do not hesitate to ingest chocolate, including the wrapper. The toxic substance in chocolate is theobromine. The amount of theobromine varies depending on the type of chocolate. In general, the darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains.
Why can’t dogs eat chocolate?
Human beings can digest this substance quickly and without any problem. It is not the case with dogs. Their organism has great difficulty in eliminating theobromine from their body. It is how theobromine can build up. Whether or not your dog gets sick depends on his weight and the type and amount of chocolate heart.
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Additionally, susceptibility to chocolate poisoning varies from animal to animal. It means that depending on the animals, a certain amount of chocolate already causes symptoms of intoxication. In contrast, other animals may show no symptoms for the same amount of digested chocolate.
Is chocolate dangerous for cats?
Theobromine is also toxic to cats. However, since cats are often very hard to please, they won’t eat the chocolate on their own. Kittens, in particular, are very sensitive to it.
The first symptoms of poisoning
To give you an idea, a 5 kg dog may show mild poisoning symptoms when he eats 16 grams of dark chocolate or 50 grams of milk chocolate. Different brands of chocolate each contain their theobromine content. The first symptoms of chocolate poisoning usually appear 4 to 12 hours after eating, but in some cases, symptoms do not appear until after 24 hours. Your pet may become restless, pant, drink, vomit, and develop diarrhoea and muscle tremors. Body temperature may rise. Some animals can even have epileptic seizures. Severe poisoning leads to cardiac dysrhythmia and can put your pet into a coma and lead to death.
My dog or cat ate chocolate: what should I do?
If your dog or cat has consumed chocolate, it is important to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Keep the chocolate wrapper with the theobromine content (cocoa content) on hand and try to estimate how many grams your dog or cat ate. It is also important to know when the dog was able to eat the chocolate. It will allow the vet to assess the severity of the problem. Admission to the clinic may be necessary. Of course, it’s always best to prevent your dog or cat from eating chocolate. Never leave it unattended on the table or in open bags.
- Toxic effects of chocolate on cats
- Chocolate poisoned cat: symptoms
- My cat ate chocolate: how to react?
- Cat and chocolate: how to prevent accidents?
Chocolate is toxic to cats. But cases of poisoning are rare because the cat is a strict carnivore, which is not attracted by the sweet or bitter flavours of chocolates. However, if you consume chocolate milk products, your cat may drink the leftovers from your breakfast.
Why is chocolate dangerous for your cat? How to react in case of ingestion of chocolate?
The answers to your questions.
Toxic effects of chocolate on cats
Chocolate contains two toxic substances for cats (and dogs): theobromine and caffeine.
- These substances have a diuretic effect that causes vomiting and diarrhoea.
- They are also powerful central nervous system and heart stimulants.
Chocolates do not all have the same theobromine levels:
- Bitter cocoa powder and dark chocolates contain a lot of it and are potentially more toxic than milk chocolates, but they are also less appealing to the cat.
- White chocolate contains virtually none.
The severity of the poisoning will depend on the amount ingested, the age and the cat’s health.
Good to know: bulimic cats and those who love dairy products, especially kittens, are more prone to this type of poisoning.
Chocolate poisoned cat: symptoms.
The signs of chocolate poisoning appear between 6 and 12 hours after ingestion; in severe poisonings, they persist for up to 3 days.
You will first observe restlessness, vomiting, diarrhoea, great thirst and drinking water.
If the intoxication is severe, the nervous system is affected: the cat becomes hyperactive, moves strangely, staggers, poorly coordinates its movements, and trembles. He is breathing rapidly, seems short of breath, and has a fever.
Death can occur from cardiac arrhythmia, pulmonary edema, or hyperthermia.
My cat ate chocolate: how to react?
At the slightest sign of discomfort, distress or sudden behavior change (agitation, vocalization or prostration), here is how to react:
- Lock the cat in a ventilated room. Don’t let it escape outside.
- Monitor if the cat urinates and notes how often: provide a clean box with clean litter!
- Examine his faeces for the presence of diarrhoea, mucus or blood, and if necessary, take a photo to show the veterinarian during auscultation.
- Evaluate his water consumption: have a small bowl with little water (and fill it as soon as it is empty).
- Could you not give him food?
- Take its temperature: if it is above 38.5°C, watch for its rise. If it is already high, confine the cat to a cage with a cooling mat or ice wrapped in a cloth.
- Notify your veterinarian and describe the symptoms. Neurological and respiratory disorders are an emergency.
Unless you’ve seen your cat eat chocolate or given it out of ignorance, you’re likely to notice the symptoms quite late. The seriousness of what may appear as indigestion should not be underestimated. In all cases, the veterinarian should be informed.
Good to know: in outdoor cats, signs of poisoning are always an emergency.
Cat and chocolate: how to prevent accidents?
Here are some tips to prevent chocolate poisoning:
- Explain to your children, friends and guests the danger of chocolate, and forbid them to offer a chocolate milk product to pets (cats and dogs).
- Keep the cat away from the table: Don’t tempt your cat when eating chocolate toast, a chocolate milk drink, or any other chocolate dessert.
- Never leave food lying around: throw the packaging that has contained chocolate products in the trash. Tidy up the kitchen or close the door if you don’t have time to do so immediately.
To know more:
- More information on cat poisoning is on our dedicated page.
- How to identify and treat a bulimic cat?
- Discover our tips for raising kittens.
- Practical sheet: knowing how to react in a veterinary emergency.
What should I do if my dog or my cat has eaten chocolate?
Chocolate contains theobromine which has a stimulating effect on the nervous system. Cats are much more sensitive to theobromine than humans because they metabolize it more slowly.
In this article
- Why are cats sensitive to chocolate?
- How much chocolate is lethal for a cat?
- What are the symptoms of chocolate poisoning in a cat?
- How to diagnose chocolate poisoning in cats?
- What is the treatment for chocolate poisoning in cats?
- What are the consequences of chocolate poisoning in cats?
Why are cats sensitive to chocolate?
Cats are also more sensitive to theobromine than dogs but are less affected by chocolate poisoning since they generally dislike the taste. Other animal species are also sensitive to chocolate, horses, mice, and parrots. Humans rapidly metabolize theobromine.
The cat metabolizes this substance poorly. It accumulates in his body and affects his vital organs, reaching his central nervous system, altering blood circulation and respiratory and urinary functions.
How much chocolate is lethal for a cat?
The lethal dose of chocolate for cats is around 80-200 mg/kg, but poisoning symptoms occur at significantly lower doses. In dark chocolate and pure cocoa, theobromine levels are highest at around 5-15 mg/g of chocolate and sometimes go up to 28 mg/g (equivalent to 280 mg in a 100-gram chocolate cake). Milk chocolate contains relatively little theobromine with levels around 2 mg/g, and white chocolate contains almost none.
What are the symptoms of chocolate poisoning in a cat?
Symptoms of poisoning appear between 2 and 24 hours after ingestion and may last for several days. Even ingesting a small, but often repeated, amount of chocolate is dangerous because theobromine accumulates in the body. A cat that has become intoxicated with chocolate may show the following signs:
- increased thirst,
- an acceleration of the heart rate with arrhythmias,
- rapid breathing,
- hyperactivity and restlessness, as well as
How to diagnose chocolate poisoning in cats?
If you think your cat has eaten too much chocolate, consult your veterinarian immediately. Depending on the information you give him and the medical analyses he will carry out, he can tell you if the gastric disorders, palpitations and neurological disorders are due to the ingestion of cocoa or another pathology.
What is the treatment for chocolate poisoning in cats?
There is no cure for chocolate poisoning in cats. Your veterinarian will treat your pet’s symptoms through various tailored remedies. First of them? Inject the feline so that it vomits the toxic food ingested, and this within three hours of taking the food. Laxative and activated charcoal can also allow theobromine to be evacuated more quickly. Then, the remedies administered will depend on the affected organs:
- If there are muscle stiffness: anti-convulsants or relaxing drugs.
- If the animal has an arrhythmia or palpitations: cardiac treatment.
- If he vomits: remedies to protect his stomach or intestines.
What are the consequences of chocolate poisoning in cats?
If the cat survives the acute poisoning, it usually recovers completely afterward. Consult your veterinarian quickly at the slightest sign (fatigue, loss of appetite, diarrhea, difficulty breathing).
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