Signs Of Chocolate Poisoning In Pets

cat in cage at vet after chocolate poisoning

PLEASE NOTE: Pet Haven are not Veterinarians. Treatment and recommendations in this blog should be used as suggestions rather than health advice. Please contact your Vet should your pet ingest chocolate or treats containing chocolate for specialised treatment and recommendations specific to your pet.

Theobromine Poisoning

Chocolate can be harmful to your dog or cat as it contains theobromine. This bitter alkaloid compound is found in cocoa and is toxic. Humans can quickly and easily metabolise theobromine – our body processes and expels the substance without delay – so chocolate poisoning in people is rare.

But our pets process theobromine much more slowly. As a result, the toxin builds up in their system and can reach a level high enough to make them ill. This is why it’s so important to keep chocolate and treats up away from your animals reach.

Dogs are particularly bad at processing chocolate. Not surprisingly, therefore, chocolate poisoning occurs most frequently in dogs, but cats and other animals are also vulnerable. Even the chocolate in desserts, cakes, and ice cream can cause a problem.

Early Symptoms Of Chocolate Poisoning

The effect of chocolate on a pet depends on the size of the animal, the type of chocolate consumed, and how much of it was consumed. Some chocolate contains more theobromine than others.

The beginning of theobromine poisoning is usually signalled by severe hyperactivity. The next obvious symptoms will probably be vomiting and diarrhoea. Only a small amount of chocolate is needed to provoke these symptoms in small pets. If these symptoms do materialise, it is important that the animal drinks plenty of water and you call your closest emergency vet immediately.

If large amounts of chocolate are consumed, it can produce muscle tremors, seizures, an irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding, or a heart attack.

Treatment Plan

The usual treatment for theobromine/chocolate poisoning is to induce vomiting within two hours of ingestion. If you suspect that your pet may have eaten a large quantity of chocolate (say, an entire box) or they are exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, you should contact your closest vet ASAP.

Different chocolates contain different amounts of theobromine. Cocoa, cooking chocolate, and dark chocolate contain the highest levels, while milk chocolate and white chocolate have the lowest. The high level of theobromine in dark chocolate means it takes only an exceedingly small amount to poison a dog. Less than one ounce of dark chocolate may be enough to poison a 20kg (44lb) dog, provoking vomiting and diarrhoea, and possibly even more severe symptoms.

Can Chocolate Kill A Dog Or Cat?

The short answer is, yes, chocolate can kill a dog or cat. The smaller the animal, the less chocolate it can consume before it begins to feel ill. This means that small dogs are more vulnerable than bigger dogs.

Cats seem to be able to digest chocolate better than dogs but they too are highly vulnerable. The darker the chocolate, the more toxin it contains and the more harmful the effects will be so it’s important to monitor them closely.

Don’t Delay – Call Your Vet

Some cheeky cats and dogs like to eat chocolate, just as much if not more than their owners. It is important not to offer your pets any chocolate over Easter. Make sure they do not accidentally get access to any. Chocolate should never ever be offered as a reward. Dogs are particularly vulnerable to chocolate poisoning, so if you suspect your dog or cat has consumed a large quantity, call your vet without delay.

PLEASE NOTE: Pet Haven are not Veterinarians. Treatment and recommendations in this blog should be used as suggestions rather than health advice. Please contact your Vet should your pet ingest chocolate or treats containing chocolate for specialised treatment and recommendations specific to your pet.

How To Help Your Pet Stay Cool

puppy playing in pool

With summer temperatures reaching as high as 40+ Degrees in some states, it’s not just us humans who need to stay cool. Pet owners also need to think about keeping their furry friends comfortable as temperatures rise – most animals don’t have sweat glands, which makes it twice as difficult for them to regulate their body temperature.

So in this article, we are going to look at seven ways pet owners can help to keep their pets cool in the heat of the summer.

⛱️ Provide Shade

It sounds obvious, but when it gets hot, many cats and dogs will want to be outside.

But you should avoid letting them outside between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you do let them out, make sure you provide plenty of shaded areas where they can find some respite from the heat. 

💧 Provide Plenty Of Water

All animals should be provided with plenty of fresh water at all times of the year. But this is particularly important during the summer months.

Fresh cool water will help your pets cool down from the inside. So don’t let water stagnate in the bowl. Keep it topped up with fresh water from the tap. Make sure the bowl or bucket is kept out of the sun to avoid it heating up.

☀️ Apply Pet-Safe Sunscreen

Dogs and cats get sunburn too. So it’s a good idea to cover any sensitive areas such as their nose and ears with sunscreen. Any pale or light-coloured skin should also be protected with regular applications of sunscreen.

Be careful to use pet-friendly sunscreen though! Some regular sunscreens contain ingredients which are toxic if ingested.

🏠 Ensure Rooms Are Well Ventilated

If your pet is kept inside, make sure your home is well ventilated. You should try to keep windows and doors open to let a cool breeze circulate.

On really hot days, it’s a good idea to close the curtains to keep the worst of the sun’s heat out. 

🐕 Take Evening Walks

On hot days you should avoid taking your dog for a walk between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This is the hottest time of the day and some dogs, particularly older ones or those with underlying health conditions, may suffer heatstroke.

So take your dog for a walk in the evening if possible. 

As a quick reference, if it’s uncomfortable for you to keep your palm on the sidewalk for at least 10 seconds, it’s too hot on their paws.

❄️ Use A Cooling Mist Spray

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, it can be impossible to keep your pet cool. One trick is to use a mist spray to gently spritz over their nose when they get hot.

For cats and dogs, placing their paws in cold water will also help them to reduce their body temperature. 

🍏 🥕 Feed Small Animals Plenty Of Fresh Fruit & Vegetables

Small animals can feel the heat too. Aside from making sure they have plenty of water, providing them with a selection of fresh fruit and vegetables each day can really help them to regulate their body temperature.

Make sure you ensure the fruit/vegetable is safe for your pet first!

Keeping your pet cool is mostly just common sense, half the battle is recognising that pets can’t regulate their body temperature as well as humans can.

So if you are feeling the heat, your pet is too. The above tips will help to keep your pets cool but you should also carefully monitor them for signs of heatstroke during really hot weather.

Do Pets Grieve When Losing A Playmate?

Like humans, no two dogs are alike, and neither are their responses to death and loss. Dogs are incredibly intuitive animals, and they can display great affection, feel loss and show signs of physical sadness through an emotional loss of a playmate.

There’s no denying the genuine love that people have for their dogs and the lengths they will go to make their dog happy. In a recent survey, people were interviewed about what their pet dogs meant to them, the findings found:

  • More than four in five (83%) dog people consider their pup to be their best friend, validating the old adage.
  • Close to nine in ten (87%) dog parents say they love their dog more than they ever thought possible.
  • And more than half (56%) wish their dog could understand how much they mean to them.

For many, the bond between a dog owner and a dog even rivals the selfless love between humans.  To find your dog feeling sad or depressed after losing a playmate can be just as distressing as the loss of the dog.

5 ways to help your dog if they’re experiencing grief:


  • Mourning can lead to a loss of appetite and sluggish responses or no interest in playing. Outside playtime and exercise are great because it raises their serotonin levels.
  • Just like in humans, when dogs exercise, their body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in their brain that trigger a positive feeling.
  • As the dog starts exercising more, they will regain their appetite and feel happier. Go for long walks to their favourite parks and beaches and give them some leash-free time.

Keep Them Hydrated

  • A dog who has experienced any loss, either from their pet owner passing or losing a playmate can have periods of depression that may result in appetite loss. Give your dog some time to adjust to the loss and make sure they are still drinking plenty of water.
  • If they refuse water of food for longer than 12 – 24 hours of they look like they are in physical pain, take them to your vet to make sure there is no medical reason.

Discipline & Harmony

  • While at the beginning of loss, you don’t want to be too hard on your dog with discipline, it’s also not a good idea to all of a sudden abandon their routine or their regular discipline. Dogs need to feel balanced just like humans do. 
  • A balanced dog is one that is fulfilled in their body, mind, and heart. In nature, dogs instinctively find that balance. However, when dogs live in the human world, it’s up to us to ensure that they get that balance.
  • Dogs need exercise for their body, affection for their heart and discipline for their mind. Without continuing these three areas, a dog will not feel balanced and happy.

Go On An Adventure

  • Just like humans, giving your dog a break from the home environment and getting away from the normal routine can be a healthy distraction. Letting them explore and sniff the ground in new areas can help them in many ways. Dogs do not have the same visual cues that humans have.
  • To a dog, sniffing the ground gives them as much information as we get by just looking around outside. Moreover, sniffing around can help a dog alleviate anxiety, much like looking out a window can help a human adjust to a stressful situation.

Introducing A New Dog

  • Often if a family knows an older or sick dog will pass away, they introduce a new dog to the home in preparation, so the other dog in the family continues to have a playmate once the other one has passed away. While you shouldn’t get a new dog if you’re not ready or don’t want a second dog in your life again, a new dog especially a puppy can create and bring new happiness into a home.
  • However, introducing a new dog too early can have the opposite effect and may cause negative feelings in the house for both you and your dog if you’re not ready.
  • So, it can be best to be in a place where you’ve all processed your grief before introducing a new dog and puppies take a lot of work where the attention may not be on your other dog.

Reach Out To Pet Haven Today!

The team at Pet Haven understand how hard it is to lose a pet and are available 24/7 at 1800 789 567, and happy to help with resources in the grieving process for both you and your other pets.

Contact us today to help your family in the final arrangements of your pet’s farewell.