neither for dogs nor for cats

It is poison for our four-legged friends. This Easter season, veterinarians remind both cats and dogs to avoid chocolate. It can be fatal in high doses. Cases of poisoning recorded by the Veterinary Poison Control Centers increase each year at Easter. What are the risks, what symptoms should alert you and what should you do?

Sometimes it’s hard not to surrender to a furry look and a persistent paw. However, this Easter season, resisting even the most sensitive complaints is essential.

A small square of pleasure can cause poisoning very quickly. Chocolate, you should know, contains an alkaloid, theobromine, a real poison. As an indication, 200 grams of chocolate equivalent to two tablets can kill a small breed dog. And the first symptoms usually appear only a few hours after ingestion.

If the dog consumes large amounts of chocolate, theobromine will pass into the blood, causing nervous and cardiac symptoms.

The most affected species This is the dog that is very interested in his food and will eat large quantities of basically anything his teeth can reach!

But poisoning can also affect cats, ferrets or small rodents. Dark chocolate is much more toxic than milk chocolate and white chocolate.

The toxic dose of chocolate actually depends on the percentage of cocoa in the chocolate, because we find theobromine in cocoa. explains veterinarian Meg-Anne Moriceau, Plus, milk chocolate will be much less dangerous than dark chocolate!”

“White chocolate poses no risk of poisoning, even if the animal still risks good indigestion.continuing veterinarian, therefore it is difficult to define a generalizable lethal dose for this toxic substance”.

“If in doubt, feel free to contact a veterinary poison control center to discuss the dose taken and the possible risk to the animal!

Meg-Anne Moriceau


“This risk will be assessed taking into account other factors such as the weight of the dog or cat, the amount of chocolate ingested and the cocoa content of the latter and the age of the animal. A more careful example on an older specimen. animal”.

The first symptoms may appear within an hour of ingestion, but may not appear until several hours later. The animal may appear restless, nervous, and show tremors. They usually have more difficulty breathing, panting, drinking, and urinating more. He also had to vomit.

Evolution takes an average of 12 to 24 hours, but in severe cases we can note: heart problems as well as the appearance of coma and poisoning can be fatal.

“Whatever the period, chocolate consistently ranks among the top 3 calls received at CAPAE-Ouest, with an average of sixty calls per month on this subject: this is not necessarily linked to the fact that chocolate is more toxic than any other substance available. find out why its toxicity is so well known, sometimes even a little dramatized, Meg-Anne Moriceau adds, Also the owners are glad to call us about it. However, it is true that we do observe important periods for this toxic substance, such as Christmas or Easter, when animals are more exposed to chocolate!”

During proper evolution, the animal recovers without sequelae. Chocolate, contrary to what is sometimes said, is not particularly toxic to the liver.

What advice can you give to owners? “Don’t panic anyway: yes, chocolate is poisonous, but the big Labrador in the family probably won’t die or go blind after eating a few squares of milk chocolate. It’s all about trying to gather all the necessary information before calling the vet poison control center”, says the vet.

All these elements must be taken into account by the veterinarian who will be responsible for the call. “To guide the owner as much as possible through the procedure to be followed! In case of ingestion of large quantities, it may be advisable to consult your veterinarian as soon as possible to adjust the digestive decontamination. However, be careful with homemade products. Recipes for self-induced vomiting! It is not a simple act to induce vomiting.” These should be avoided and their use should be carried out with safe molecules under veterinary supervision.

In 2021, CAPAE-Ouest received nearly 1,000 calls regarding chocolate consumption. 90% of searches were for dogs.

This cocoa pods It is used as a ground cover in flower beds as well as dangerous for feeding livestock. Therefore, toxic effects have also been observed in ruminants and pigs.

5 to 10 grams of scallions per kilo (for example, 30 grams for a cat or small dog) can also pose a hazard. Toxins act on red blood cells (anemia, followed by jaundice). Symptoms usually appear 1 to 3 days after ingestion.

Garlic (raw or cooked), onion, or shallot poisoning can result from either ingestion of large amounts or from repeated ingestion of small amounts. Vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, loss of appetite, fever, weakness, dark urine are some of the symptoms. Garlic appears to be less toxic than onions, although it contains thiosulfate, an equally toxic substance.

Other foods should be avoided: avocado, seeds or seeds, raisins, liver, raw fish, nuts, egg whites, dairy products.

Expired or spoiled products should also be avoided. Mold contains certain toxins, such as penicillin or tremorgenic (neurotoxic) mycotoxins. The compost bin placed in the garden should generally be out of reach of the animal.

Finally, be careful when going out. You need to be especially careful during walks with the dog (or the cat in the garden). As with humans, there is a risk of poisoning. mushrooms.

“The best food for the animal is dry food or pate, specially formulated for the breed!”the vet finishes

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