Can cats eat chocolate? Symptoms Of Chocolate Poisoning In Cats
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The cat is one of the pets most loved by his guardians. Chocolate is one of the most precious and consumed foods among people. Many guardians wonder can cats eat chocolate.
The feeding of our pets is a crucial fact that cannot be neglected. Chocolate is part of that list of prohibited food for our animals.
We should never offer a sweet to our feline. Here we leave you the reasons why chocolate can be harmful to a cats health.
Can cats eat chocolate?
Can cats eat chocolate? The answer is no. Chocolate is one of the foods that cats cannot eat. Therefore, if the first one accumulates in large quantities in your blood, it can be a deadly food. Chocolate contains two toxic substances that the cat's body cannot digest. These components are theobromine and caffeine.
Caffeine is the most popular because it is contained in many foods and beverages consumed daily, such as tea or coffee. However, theobromine is a lesser-known substance that cocoa beans have so chocolates may contain it.
This last compound is an addition to chocolate because it is responsible for producing the feeling of relaxation, pleasure, happiness, or stimulation when we consume this food. It acts directly on the nervous system, affecting muscular, respiratory, and cardiac functions.
Moderate consumption of chocolate in humans offers a stimulating and energizing vision. However, your cat does not contain the necessary enzymes to digest this food.
In addition, some chocolates have another harmful food for your pet: milk. If a cat eats chocolate, it can cause digestive problems, such as diarrhea and vomiting.
Changes in their behavior can also be observed, such as symptoms of hyperactivity and a state of nervousness due to the stimulation caused by these substances.
If your feline consumes large amounts of chocolate, it can have very serious consequences, such as seizures, difficulty moving and breathing, and even respiratory failure. In this situation, you should go to a veterinary clinic immediately.
Take care of your pet's diet to be in optimal health condition.
Problems caused by theobromine in the cat's body:
Theobromine is gradually stored in the body, so it is not convenient to give the cat even a little bit. It causes the following problems:
Incrise of cardiac frecuency.
Decrease in blood pressure.
Acceleration of fluid loss, as it is a powerful diuretic.
Nervous system stimulation.
Relaxation of smooth muscles.
Changes in their behavior, such as hyperactivity and nervousness, may also be seen.
Symptoms of chocolate poisoning in cats
If your cat has eaten this poisonous food, some specific symptoms will be observed between 2 and 24 hours after ingestion, which can last for several days. These may include the following (they do not have to occur all at once):
More thirsty than usual
Fast and labored breathing
What do I do if my cat has already eaten chocolate?
We learned the answer to the question of can cats eat chocolate. what to do when a cat eats chocolate As soon as you notice that the cat has eaten chocolate, take it to the vet. Some of these actions will take place there:
If between one and three hours have elapsed since ingestion, the veterinarian can induce vomiting in the cat. It is done with the help of an injection. To prevent any further absorption of theobromine, activated charcoal may be given.
When respiratory distress is noted, intubation and artificial ventilation are performed. In case of seizures, you will be given muscle relaxants and anticonvulsants.
You will be given intravenous fluids to treat dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhea and to help flush out toxins by increasing urine output. A urinary catheter may be necessary to prevent the reabsorption of toxins.
Your heart will be monitored, and medications to slow it down may be prescribed if the rate is elevated, such as beta-blockers. Once you can bring your cat home, you should feed your cat a bland diet for a few days after receiving treatment.
What things should you avoid feeding your cat?
Myths about what foods your cat likes encourage feeding mistakes that can be costly. This is the case of the belief that it is a natural fish animal.
The unknown part about the fish-eating cat is that too much offal from this raw meat can cause paralysis or muscle stiffness (called Chastek's palsy). Why? They contain a component that destroys vitamin B1, "whose lack causes paralysis in the cat's muscles,".
Another danger for the feline that consumes fish is the bones, which can cause perforations in the esophagus and intestinal obstructions.
In addition, it should be remembered that raw fish contains anisakids, a parasite capable of causing serious illness and stomach upset in cats.
Salt, a dangerous condiment
A feline should eat little salt to avoid accumulations of salt residues in the kidney that cause urinary problems. Specific foods for them contain the right proportion of salt, but if the owner wants to offer some extra culinary on time, ham or turkey is recommended low in salt.
Cats with cardiovascular problems should always avoid salt to keep their disease under control.
Chicken bones are dangerous for the feline because their ingestion can cause damage to the intestine, such as perforations or obstructions.
Coffee and tea
A cat that ingests exciting substances, such as those contained in coffee or tea, may become upset or nervous.
The feline lacks the ability of other animals, such as the dog, to eliminate toxic substances that accumulate in its liver, so a cat that drinks caffeine or theine will show more of the exciting properties of these substances in its body since it will take longer to make them disappear from your body.
Avocado has a high-fat content, which is bad for the cat, as it is very difficult to digest. It can cause serious pathologies such as pancreatitis. In addition, it contains persin, a substance that can cause cardiac disorders.
Alcoholic beverages are one of the foods that potentially kill the cat.
Grapes and Raisins
Grapes and raisins are also harmful. Thus, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals advises not to feed cats with this food.
If they take them, there is a possibility of acute kidney failure. Probably, according to North American studies, due to a toxic substance for the cat contained in the pulp of the grape.
Onion and leeks
Onions, chives, and leeks are toxic foods for your cat. They contain thiosulfate, a component that causes the cat to destroy its red blood cells, which is also known as hemolytic anemia. Another part of this vegetable that is toxic to you is the green shoots (similar to stems) that grow on it.
Cat feeding: precautions
Cats like tuna for its creamy and tasty texture, but it is a meat that lacks a substance called taurine, an essential amino acid for the proper functioning of the feline metabolism.
The plants that are in the houses are mainly toxic to the cat. Special care must be taken with lilies, rhododendrons, oleanders, poinsettias, ivy, or holly. These animals are elastic and skillful climbers, so care must be taken, so they do not have access to these plants.
A thin feline, weighing between two and three kilos, can endanger itself if it eats a small amount of food that is not its usual feed, such as three olives: it is as if it ingested three times that amount due to its size, for which can cause diarrhea or vomiting.
Self-medicating the cat is counterproductive to its health. This is the case with acetylsalicylic acid and paracetamol, components that the feline liver has a hard time eliminating, so the animal can become intoxicated.
Chocolate Dog And Cat Poisoning
Chocolate poisoning in dogs or cats is linked to the theobromine in cocoa. Our animals have a particular sensitivity to this substance compared to us. Depending on the nature of the chocolate, the dose ingested, and the animal considered, theobromine can quickly become a deadly poison.
You must become aware of the toxic risk of chocolate for your animal to shelter it and be more vigilant, especially during the Easter and Christmas holidays, during which chocolate flows freely. What should be done if your dog or cat has eaten chocolate (black or white)? What is the toxic dose of chocolate for my animal? Our veterinarian will explain the symptoms, the risks, and the treatment of this cocoa poisoning. You will also learn how to calculate the toxic dose of chocolate ingested to know if you need to go to your veterinarian urgently or simply monitor your dog or cat.
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What should I do if my dog or my cat has eaten chocolate?
You must immediately call your veterinarian or the one on duty if your dog or cat has eaten chocolate! There is no antidote against Theobromine; only your vet's care can save your animal!
It is necessary to act quickly because the diffusion of Theobromine is very fast (maximum concentration reached in 4 to 5 hours)!
The treatment or advice your veterinarian gives will depend on the time of presentation and the symptoms developed by your dog or cat. In the absence of an antidote, treatment is eliminative and symptomatic.
Toxicity of chocolate for dogs or cats
Theobromine: chocolate poison for dogs and cats
In reality, it is the cocoa contained in the chocolate which is toxic and not the chocolate itself. The cocoa content is therefore essential because it is the one that brings the incriminated Theobromine. We take this opportunity to point out that certain organic fertilizers made from cocoa pods are now sold commercially. These represent a danger for your animals, who can ingest them. The cocoa pod is more concentrated in Theobromine than the bean used for chocolate. Note also that Theobromine is not the only molecule involved in this poisoning. Indeed, chocolate contains methylxanthine-type alkaloids: Theobromine, Caffeine, and Theophylline. These alkaloids have an action on the nervous system and the cardio-respiratory system. We essentially talk about Theobromine because it has an action:
8 times more important than Caffeine.
2000 times more important than Theophylline.
Theobromine has the particularity of being transformed (liver) and eliminated (urine) very slowly in dogs and cats compared to humans. Its 1/2 life (i.e. the time it takes for half of it to be eliminated from the body) is almost 18 hours in our pets, whereas it would only be 2 to 3 hours in humans. You should know that this fairly long elimination period may have a cumulative effect on dogs and cats. Small doses repeated over short periods may cause symptoms.
What increases the risk of chocolate poisoning?
The type of chocolate: Dark chocolate is 3 to 10 times more toxic than milk chocolate. It is a question of concentration in cocoa and, therefore in Theobromine. Note that white chocolate, on the other hand, is not a problem. The species concerned:
Dogs are more at risk than cats for the simple and good reason that they are much more attracted to sweets than their feline counterpart. Age:
A young animal or an old animal will be more sensitive to this poisoning.
The breed: Brachycephalic breeds (“crushed noses” such as Bulldog, Boxer, Shi-Tzu, Pekingese, Pug, Exotic Shorthair, Persian, etc.) are much more sensitive they are predisposed to respiratory problems.
The size of the animal: The smaller the animal, the greater the risk because the concentration of Theobromine relative to the weight will be higher. The state of health:
Animals with heart and/or respiratory problems, hepatic (liver) insufficiency, or anti-depressant treatment (MAOI type) are at increased risk.
The time of year: Easter and Christmas are periods when the largest quantities of chocolate are purchased as gifts. So be vigilant during these periods!
The negligence of the owner: Leaving the open jar of spread, candies, or chocolate bars lying around increases the risk. The chocolate must be put in a safe place to avoid poisoning your dog or cat and a little out of greed so that you have more leftovers
Repetition at regular intervals: As mentioned above, there can be a cumulative effect when giving chocolate to your dog (more rarely to your cat) morning and evening or at each meal. This is linked to the duration of elimination of Theobromine well over 12 hours. The use of organic fertilizers based on cocoa pods.
Pregnancy or breastfeeding of babies: Theobromine passes into the blood and the milk. This is a risk to be taken into account given the low weight and size of the young.
Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs and Cats
As you have seen above, there are several phases and damage to different degrees on the body (digestive, nervous, cardio-pulmonary). Digestive symptoms appear first. They are followed by nervous symptoms, which shortly precede the cardio-respiratory symptoms. Common symptoms
Digestive: vomiting, increased salivation, possible diarrhea. These appear in just 4 to 5 hours!
Nervous: panting, agitation, tremors, possible convulsions.
Cardio-respiratory: cardiac acceleration (tachycardia) and more rarely decrease (bradycardia), respiratory acceleration (tachypnea).
Other possible but less common symptoms
Cardiac arrhythmias (=abnormal changes in heart rhythm).
Ptyalism > it is salivation so important that the dog or the cat drools a lot.
Increased drink intake.
Possible incontinence linked to the diuretic effect of methylxanthines.
Also, be aware that there are cases of sudden death without any symptoms! It's worth saving the chocolate!
Treatment of dog and cat addicted to chocolate?
Elimination treatment: limit the absorption of theobromine
The chocolate if there is any left in the stomach and the Theobromine already diffused must be eliminated as much as possible! Theobromine follows an enterohepatic cycle. This means that after absorption, part of it returns to the intestine via the liver, and then further absorption follows. We, therefore, seek to capture as much as possible with activated carbon over several days.
The veterinarian may make the animal vomit if it is alert within the first 2 hours after ingestion.
At the discretion of the veterinarian, gastric lavage is sometimes necessary (coma, convulsions, tranquilized ingestible animal, etc.).
Activated charcoal is almost systematic on alert animals and when it comes out, it is generally prescribed every 4 hours over several days for the reasons mentioned above.
During hospitalization, fluid therapy (infusion) is systematic to help the animal eliminate theobromine in the urine.
The urine can also be acidified to promote this elimination.
charcoal treatment chocolate poisoning dog cat
Vegetable charcoal is very useful to limit the absorption of theobromine in our dogs and cats
Symptomatic treatment: countering the effects of chocolate
The veterinarian also manages the symptoms caused and in particular the nervous and cardiac symptoms. The importance of these justifies, most of the time, hospitalization. Depending on the need, your veterinarian can use and talk to you about:
Anti-diarrheals, gastric bandages or charcoal to calm certain digestive symptoms.
Analgesics for abdominal pain.
Valium to counter hyper-arousal and/or convulsions.
Lidocaine to calm cardiac arrhythmias.
Atropine speed up the heart in rare cases of bradycardia.
The use of each drug and their dosage are at the sole discretion of the attending veterinarian, who is best placed to prescribe what is necessary for your animal.
Prognosis and survival of the animal
Very reserved because coma and death can occur in 6 hours at the fastest and the fatal risk extends over 48 hours after ingestion. This will depend on all the conditions mentioned in the risk factors.
Healing will depend on all the risk factors mentioned above. If your dog or cat reaches the 3rd day of treatment, he will have a better chance of getting out of it, but nothing is gained.
As you will have noticed, chocolate, which gives so much pleasure to humans, turns out to be a deadly poison in dogs and cats, which are less concerned because they are less attracted to sweets. So be careful!
Prevention only requires vigilance! Whether it's Christmas, Easter, or simply every day, keep the chocolate safe!
Do you know the most dangerous foods for your cat?
Chocolate, coffee, onion, or organ meats are prohibited foods for cats, as they cause diarrhea, poisoning, and, in extreme cases, even death
Below we explain what cats can eat and list some toxic foods and foods that can cause serious health problems. We also include the precautions that you should always take into account when feeding the kittens.
What foods can cats eat?
The importance of water for felines explains why they should be encouraged to drink plenty of water at home. But it is that, in addition, they need to complement their dry diets with wet foods.
Wet food, more appetizing and smelling, will help you ingest the amount of water you need to be healthy and live longer. What is the reason? Canned food contains about 75% water (compared to just 10% in dry food), making it a powerful source of fluids.
Felines that do not drink enough water force their kidneys to work at a higher rate and the truth is that "kidney problems are very common among cats since most do not drink enough liquid.
Some fruiets are beneficial for the cat:
They provide vitamins and fiber to their diet, but not all of them are healthy for the cat. They can eat watermelon, pear, strawberries...
Watermelon: the pulp is safe, but not the seeds or the rind. You have to take it all off before you give him a piece.
Peach: Contains carotene, vitamins, and antioxidant minerals. It should always be given without skin or bone, and in small pieces. Peach in syrup should never be given to the cat.
Pear: This fruit, always without seeds, is highly recommended because it contains many fibers and is a powerful anti-cancer. In addition, it favors hydration by having a high percentage of water.
Strawberries: from time to time strawberries can be given to cats since they provide them with vitamin C and fiber.
Banana: There is no reason not to include bananas in your kitty's diet. Of course, better in small quantities (two or three slices) and never regularly. Both the potassium and the fiber in this fruit can be excessive for the cat's digestive system.
Some vegetables are beneficial for the cat:
Carrot: it has fiber and vitamins C, E, and K. They should be given cooked or steamed because they are softer and easier for the cat to digest and chew.
Tomato: They can take ripe and stemless tomatoes. They contain potassium and powerful antioxidants, which help improve brain and liver function.
Cucumber: Contains multiple vitamins, such as K, molybdenum, and water. It should always be offered peeled and in small quantities (about two slices).
Broccoli: It's a vegetable rich in folic acid, fiber, and vitamins. It should be served cooked or steamed, previously well washed.
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