Valentine’s Dangers to Pets

Chocolate and flowers are commonly gifted during Valentine’s Day.  While both are sweet and wonderful gestures from your significant other, they pose dangers to our four-legged friends!

On the case of chocolate, we consulted with our very own Dr. Michelle Lindsey to find out exactly how much chocolate is unsafe for your dog.

Theobromine and Caffeine are two compounds found in chocolate and are toxic to dogs.  Typically, darker and bitter chocolates have higher concentrations of Theobromine and Caffeine.  This means that the darker the chocolate, the more poisonous it is to your dog.  Initial toxicity signs would be vomiting, diarrhea and not eating, then effects on the heart – fast and/or irregular heartbeat, then tremors and seizures, and finally death if not treated.

Since most of us can visualize the size of a Hershey’s Kiss, Dr. Lindsey went ahead and calculated the chocolate volumes in the size of Hershey’s kisses!

1 Hershey’s Kiss = 0.16 ounces

3 lb toy breed dog (Chihuahua, Yorkie, etc.) eats:

Milk Chocolate:

2 kisses – vomiting/diarrhea
5 kisses – affects the heart
7-8 kisses – can lead to death

72% Cocoa Dark Chocolate:

1 kiss – affects the heart
2 kisses – possible death

Baker’s chocolate:

1/2 of a kiss – vomiting/diarrhea
1 kiss – seizures
More than 1 kiss – death

20 lb dog (Miniature Schnauzer, Westie, French Bulldog, etc.) eats:

Milk Chocolate: 

15 kisses – vomiting/diarrhea
30 kisses – affects the heart
50 kisses – potential death

72% Cocoa Dark Chocolate:

5 kisses – vomiting/diarrhea
7 kisses – affects the heart
11 kisses – death

Baker’s Chocolate:

2 kisses – vomiting/diarrhea
5 kisses – affects the heart
8 kisses – death

50 lb dog (Labrador Retriever, Pit bull, etc.) eats:

Milk Chocolate:

40 kisses – vomiting/diarrhea
80 kisses – affects the heart
125 kisses – death

72% Cocoa Dark Chocolate:

10 kisses – vomiting/diarrhea
20 kisses – affects the heart
30 kisses – death

Baker’s Chocolate

5 kisses – vomiting/diarrhea
12 kisses – affects the heart
18 kisses – death

 

Can’t keep up with all these kisses? Try this cool chocolate toxicity calculator!

If your dog OR cat ingests any amount of chocolate, it is best to call your veterinarian ASAP so they can calculate if the amount may be toxic. If you know your pet ate or could have eaten chocolate and they are having any symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea, not eating, restlessness or hyperactivity, heart racing, seizures) you should seek immediate veterinary care.

Fortunately for cat parents, felines are less likely to dive into the chocolate than our canine companions.  That being said, chocolate is still toxic to cats and any cat who has ingested chocolate should be treated.

As for flowers, many commonly given flowers like lilies, tulips, and azaleas, can be toxic to cats and dogs.  Check out this full list from the ASPCA to see if your beautiful flowers could poison your pets!

At Emerald Animal Hospital, we have been providing compassionate veterinary care to the Cleveland area since 1976. As a full-service hospital, we offer high quality medicine and surgery.  If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact us 216-749-7161.  We will discuss the best care options for each individual pet and are happy to answer any questions that may arise.

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