Christmas means chocolate!
Christmas is associated with an excess of food and top of the list is chocolate. This of course means an increase in cases of accidental ingestion in pets, particularly dogs. We see a huge increase in call numbers relating to chocolate at this time of year – around 20% of all chocolate cases reported to the VPIS occur in December.
Chocolate contains two related chemicals that can be toxic to pets, theobromine and caffeine. The amount of caffeine and theobromine in products will vary due to natural differences in cocoa beans and the formulation of the products.
White chocolate contains only very small quantities and there is little risk of toxic effects. Milk chocolate contains a larger quantity of these compounds and dark chocolate contains the highest concentration. Toxic effects can occur after only a relatively small dose of dark chocolate.
Although chocolate poisoning is very common in pets, especially dogs, and frequently makes them ill, fatal cases are rare.
Animal PoisonLine and VPIS are here 24/7 for advice.