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Chocolate toxicity and pets

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After the holiday is a good time for a reminder about chocolate toxicity in dogs and cats. Chocolate contains Methylxanthine Theobromine which is a stimulant that is similar to caffeine; it is a diuretic, smooth muscle relaxant, heart stimulant and blood vessel dilator. In people this is usually not a problem, but for a dog or cat it can be a huge problem, it could even be fatal.
The affect on a pet depends on its weight and the amount of chocolate ingested. Type of chocolate also plays a factor because the Theobromine quantity is higher in dark chocolate than milk chocolate and is extremely low in white chocolate. If a pet is suspected of ingesting chocolate, especially a large quantity, it should be seen by a veterinarian right away. If caught early enough, and taken in right away, a veterinarian might be able to induce vomiting in order to avoid dangerous symptoms.
Symptoms of chocolate toxicity include; restlessness, panting, extreme thirst, vomiting, drooling, diarrhea and even seizures. A dog or cat with these symptoms needs to be seen immediately by a veterinarian for treatment. Treatment of chocolate toxicity depends on the case, but can include; activated charcoal which helps to block absorption, fluids to dilute what is in the system, and monitoring of vitals.
As with all toxic substances the best rule is avoidance. So keep all chocolate up and away in order to keep a healthy pet.

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