How sweet it is: Keep chocolate danger at bay this Valentine’s Day

With Valentine’s Day close at hand, we want to remind pet owners that chocolate is toxic for both dogs and cats.

Even a small amount of chocolate can make your pet sick, and a larger amount can be deadly. How much it takes depends on the size and overall health of your pet, but just a few ounces can kill some animals. All kinds of chocolate – milk, dark, semi-sweet and baker’s – are poisonous, with varying levels of toxicity.

The culprits are caffeine and theobromine, two compounds in chocolate that dogs and cats have difficulty metabolizing. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning usually develop within 4 to 24 hours, and may include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, increased urination, and restlessness. More serious poisoning may lead to seizures, coma, heart arrhythmia, and hyperthermia – all of which can be lethal.

  • Don’t give any amount of chocolate to your pet. Even very small amounts can cause illness. Instead, show your love with a special dog and cat treats!
  • Store chocolate in paw-proof locations. Dogs are especially attracted to the smell of chocolate, so be sure Valentine’s Day treats safely out of reach.
  • If you take your dog to someone else’s house, be on the lookout for chocolate that may be left at nose-level. Even the best-behaved pet will have a hard time resisting the chance to gobble down chocolate when no one is looking.
  • If you know or suspect that your pet has ingested chocolate, call your vet immediately. Be prepared to provide an estimate of how much chocolate was consumed and your pet’s weight.

More holiday reminders…

  • Chocolate isn’t the only human treat that can cause problems. Gum, candy and other treats that are sweetened with xylitol can result in hypoglycemia, resulting in depression, loss of coordination and seizures. For safety’s sake, keep all candy well out of reach in pet-proof containers or cabinets.
  • Lilies are toxic to cats. If you’re sending Valentine flowers to a cat owner, be sure to specify a Lily-free bouquet. If you have a cat and receive lilies, remove them from the arrangement and discard or pass on to someone who doesn’t have cats.
  • If you’re thinking about giving someone special some “puppy love” this Valentine’s Day, remember that giving an actual pet is not a good idea. Instead, give a Wayside Waifs gift certificate and let your special someone select just the right animal companion for a lifetime of hugs and kisses. To get a gift certificate, just drop by our office or call 816-986-4426.

Happy Valentine’s Day from all your friends at Wayside Waifs!

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