Chocolate—from cocoa powder to chocolate chips and candy—is the most obvious entry on this list, but it remains one of the most toxic foods for pets. According to Dr. John Otto, DVM, of the University Animal Hospital in Norman, Oklahoma, chocolate is the number one toxicity issue his practice treats. “We do not see much spice toxicity, [but] more common is eating chocolate, which causes gastrointestinal issues and is toxic to the liver,” he says.
According to the Pet Poison Helpline, baker’s, semisweet and other dark varieties of chocolate are the most toxic types for dogs and cats. Chocolate causes vomiting, hypertension, abnormal heartbeat and seizures, even in moderate amounts.
Even though most of us are aware of the dangers of chocolate, pet owners need to be vigilant. Don’t leave dishes or mugs with chocolate remnants lying around, and keep chocolate treats and powders locked away in pet-proof containers.
If you think your pet ate chocolate, call your veterinarian or the emergency clinic right away. Save the bag or container so that you can tell the clinic exactly what was consumed. This will help in determining the next step for treatment.