Easter: why you should not give chocolate to your dog and cat

100 grams of chocolate can be lethal for a dog (©Sonja / Adobestock)

The basket filled with chocolates after a very generous Easter Sunday, you want to share it with the whole family. Attention, your four-legged friends should not eat it. Cocoa is toxic to animals and can do far more harm than good.

Why is chocolate toxic?

The toxicity of chocolate comes from the theobromine present in cocoa. The darker and more bitter it is, the greater the quantity of this alkaloid. Ingested in large quantities, it can cause more or less severe digestive, nervous and cardiac disorders. Why ? Because dogs eliminate this molecule two to three times more slowly than humans.

The toxic dose is estimated at 20 mg per kilogram of theobromine, according to the Belgian poison control center. For a 20 kg dog, it only takes about forty grams of dark chocolate to intoxicate it. A whole 100 gram tablet can kill it.

The emergency-veterinarian site has set up a calculator to estimate the lethal dose of chocolate.

What are the symptoms ?

Symptoms appear very quickly. From the first hours, these signs should alert you: agitation, vomiting, loss of urine, diarrhea, tachycardia, hyperthermia, polypnea (rapid breathing).

In the following hours, the intoxication manifests itself in a more pronounced way: heart rhythm disturbances, muscular rigidity, convulsions and coma.

What to do if the animal is intoxicated?

There is no antidote. You must first determine the amount of chocolate that has been swallowed, identify the type of chocolate consumed and its cocoa content, and contact a veterinarian or veterinary emergencies (telephone number: 3115).

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You should not make your pet vomit yourself. You risk injuring him further.

Once at the vet, the latter will induce vomiting to empty the chocolate contained in the stomach. He will also infuse the dog to stimulate the renal elimination of theobromine.

Veterinary emergencies remind that “the digestive symptoms are not very serious, but the nervous, cardiac and respiratory complications can cause the death of your animal in a few hours”.

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