Easter = Chocolate 復活節 = 食朱古力

Easter holidays is upon us and if you have children then the Easter egg hunt is on!

Just make sure your dog at home doesn’t manage to take a bite off the chocolate Easter egg!

Chocolate Toxicity (中朱古力毒)

There are so many types of chocolates available, how can you determine if the chocolate that was eaten by your dog is life-threatening? Well here is a list of chocolate types in ascending order of importance (most important on top):

  • Baking chocolate (unsweetened)
  • Semi-sweet
  • Dark chocolate
  • Milk chocolate
  • Chocolate flavored cakes, cookies

Easter dog 2018-3 Chocolate 2

Why the difference?

Chocolates as we know it come from cacao trees. The fruit of the cacao tree – the cacao pod contains seeds which are bitter. These seeds which are full of theobromine and caffeine are used to make chocolate.

As the cacao seeds are processed – the hull is grounded producing “chocolate liquor”. This liquor contains substantial amounts of theobromine which is toxic to dogs. Products that contains more chocolate liquor are therefore more toxic.

The list above is repeated below, now including the approximate amount of chocolate liquor:

  • Baking chocolate (unsweetened) – almost 100% chocolate liquor
  • Semi-sweet – contains approximately 35% chocolate liquor
  • Dark chocolate – contains approximately 35% chocolate liquor
  • Milk chocolate – contains at least 10% chocolate liquor

As you can see from the information above, the “darker” or “less sweet” chocolates are more deadly!

 

Chocolates also contain FATS!

As part of the processing, cocoa butter is produced which is basically an oil. This fat can be an additional problem for the pets that devour our sweets. The result of ingesting food with high levels of fat is Pancreatitis which manifests with these signs:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain

Pancreatitis can be diagnosed by a quick blood test and proper physical examination by the vet. Treatment with medicine in addition to supportive care is essential to helping your pet recover.

Unsweetened chocolate (baking chocolate) contains 60% cocoa butter. While white chocolate contains minimal chocolate liquor, it contains high amounts of cocoa butter!

 

What are the signs of chocolate toxicity?

Chocolate toxicity is primarily caused by theobromine, which leads to these signs in descending order of severity:

  • Vomiting (嘔吐)
  • Diarrhea (肚泄)
  • Rapid heart beat with possible arrhythmia (心律不正)
  • Hyperactivity (不安)
  • Tremors (發抖)
  • Seizure (癲癎)
  • Death in severe toxicity (死亡)

Vomiting and diarrhea may sound like a mild problem. However, if your pet continues to vomit and/or have diarrhea, it will become severely dehydrated and that in itself is a life-threatening problem. So, when in doubt, please call the vet clinic and make an appointment to see a vet!

Easter dog 2018-3 Chocolate

How much is too much?

Well, apart from the obvious looks your dog is giving you, we can give you a general guideline as to the expected severity of disease when ingesting chocolates. We use 50 grams of chocolate product as a guideline. Ultimately, we recommend that you contact your veterinarian right away and seek an appointment. If your pet just ate the chocolate, there is a good chance that by inducing vomiting may save your pet.

For a 10kg dog eating:

Unsweetened chocolate – 50grams

  • Potential death
  • Go to emergency immediately

Dark sweet chocolate – 50grams

  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Go to see your vet

Semi-sweet chocolate – 50grams

  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Go to see your vet

Milk chocolate – 50grams

  • Should be ok
  • Look out for developing vomiting or diarrhea

86% Cocoa chocolate – 50grams

  • Potential death
  • Go to emergency vet immediately

72% Cocoa chocolate – 50grams

  • Expect tremors and seizures
  • Go to emergency vet immediately

60% Cocoa chocolate – 50 grams

  • Super fast heart rate / arrhythmia
  • Go to emergency vet immediately

Dry Cocoa powder – 50grams

  • Potential death
  • Go to emergency vet immediately

 

Ingesting any types of chocolate can be life threatening to your pet! Always remember to keep these sweets away from your dog. If you see a pack of chocolates that has been chewed and munched on – contact the vet clinic right away. Do not wait until you see signs developing like incessant vomiting, tremors or seizures!

Easter dog 2018-3 Chocolate 3.jpg

Call us on 2915-2095 if your pet just ate chocolate or if you came home to boxes of chocolate that has been torn up!

 

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