It's Halloween time again and while we all get caught up in the decorations, costumes and hauntings, lets not forget about the dangers that candy (especially chocolate) can have on our pets.
Chocolate poisoning is always high this time of year. According to PetPlan® pet insurance, pets are 32% more likely to suffer food poisoning during Halloween week versus any time of the year.
Chocolate is poisonous to pets because it contains toxic theobromine, and different types of chocolate affect pets differently because they have varying levels of the theobromine.
Did you know that baking chocolate has the highest concentration, and is therefore the most toxic - followed by dark, milk and then white chocolate.
Help! My Dog Raided the Halloween Candy!
If you dogs eats chocolate, there are three things you, as a pet parent needs to know:
- How much theobromine the chocolate contains.
- How much your dog ate.
- How much your dog weighs.
If your dog ingests close to 20mg of theobromine per pound of body weight, he's in the danger zone for food poisoning.
Mg of theobromine per ounce:
Baking Chocolate - 450mg/oz
Dark Chocolate - 160mg/oz
Milk Chocolate - 64mg/oz
White Chocolate - 1mg/oz
Here's how to do the math: Multiply the oz of chocolate ingested by the mg of theobromine per oz and divide that by the weight of your dog in pounds. The closer the number is to 20, the worse the toxic effects.
A 25lb. dog who eats 3 ounces of milk chocolate:
3oz x 64mg/oz = 192/25lbs = 7.7 mg/lb (Non-Toxic level of theobromine)
A 25lb. dog who eats 3 ounces of dark chocolate:
3oz x 160mg/oz = 480/25lbs - 19.2mg/lb (Dangerous levels of theobromine)
What to Do Next:
A number close to 20 indicates a toxic level of theobromine that can terrorize a pet's health. Get to the vet and or emergency clinic immediately. If the number is well below 20, your pet's tummy may turn on him, but you don't need to panic. Call the vet for tips on how to treats signs of trouble.
Veterinarians at PetPlan put together a step-by-step plan and the following cheat sheet graphic to help pet owners if they find themselves in this situation on Halloween.
Has your dog ever eaten chocolate?