Halloween pet safety tip

Dog licking chocolate. Tasty dessert

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Happy Howlween everybody! I hope all of you have a fun time trick or treating with your families and everyone gets lots of candy.  However, be mindful of your furry family members.  Candy is never a good treat for our pets, especially chocolate.  Chocolate is poisonous to both dogs and cats, though a dog is much more likely to ingest chocolate than a cat, as cats cannot taste sweet.  

The toxic ingredient in chocolate is theobromine.  People have no problems processing theobromine, but our pets process it much more slowly, causing it to build up to toxic levels in their system.  Small amounts of chocolate usually result in your pet experiencing an upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea.  Larger amounts will cause severe hyperactivity in your pet followed by panting, excessive thirst and urination, which in turn can result in abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures, and even death.  

The hazard of chocolate does depend on a few factors: 1) the size of your pet, 2) the type of chocolate, and 3) the amount eaten.  A large dog that eats a few pieces of chocolate will be at much less risk than a small dog that eats a whole box of chocolate.  Cocoa, cooking chocolate and dark chocolate contain the highest levels of theobromine, while milk chocolate and white chocolate have the lowest.  To emphasize the dangers of dark chocolate, less than an ounce may be enough to poison a 44-pound dog.  

If you believe your dog may have eaten chocolate of any kind and they are showing any of the signs listed above, please call or go to your veterinarian immediately.


Dr. Susan Bonilla is the owner of Passionate Paws Animal Hospital in Waxhaw, offering traditional and complementary treatment options.  She is certified in acupuncture, chiropractic, and physical therapy.  You can reach her at 704-256-7576 or e-mail at Hello@PassionatePaws.Vet

Grooming Tip of the Week

Regular bathing will keep your dog’s coat and skin clean and healthy.  However, over bathing can lead to skin and coat problems.  The skin and coat can become severely dry and itchy as you remove the natural oils.  In efforts to scratch their itch, your dog can develop red, irritated skin resulting in hot spots.  If you must bathe them more often due to outside activities or lifestyle, no more than twice a month.  You can also use pet grooming wipes (similar to baby wipes) that clean, freshen and condition while giving the coat a healthy shine in between baths.

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