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Cat Health Health

Make Valentine’s Day Special for Dogs and Cats


We love our pets.   We want to give them all the love and care we can. But sometimes, NOT giving them what they want is the best we can do for them.

Holidays are usually dangerous for our pets. While we are extra aware of our pets activities during Christmas, we can sometimes let our guard down during other holidays. 

Valentine’s Day is one of these holidays. We are barely aware of leaving chocolate-covered strawberries on the counter. Or putting our beautiful flowers around he house (and generally the more beautiful, the more dangerous to our pets). Even the small sugar-free mints we find on the floor are potentially a problem for pets. 

Some people say “my dog/cat really, really likes chocolate, and it has never caused a problem”.  But….. chocolate in large enough quantities can kill. Even if it has never been a problem in the past. 

Chocolate contains a caffeine related substance called Theobromine which can sicken or kill animals. There are three factors that determine how toxic the chocolate will be to an individual animal: the type of chocolate, the size of the animal, and the amount of chocolate ingested.

Here are some fun facts (and a handy chart) to help you determine levels of toxicity.

  • Unsweetened baker’s chocolate contains 8 – 10 times more theobromine (390 – 450 mg per oz) than milk chocolate at 44-60 mg of theobromine per oz
  • Semi-sweet chocolate falls in between unsweetened chocolate and milk chocolate for theobromine levels. (190 – 225 mg per oz)
  • White chocolate contains the least amount of theobromine, in fact, so low that poisoning is unlikely, but sickness can still occur.
  • The ACPS has determined that the toxic dose of theobromine and caffeine for pets is 20 milligrams per 2.2 pounds of weight.

A dog that is 50 lbs. would see toxic effects if it consumed just 9 oz. of milk chocolate.

Are Cats Also Susceptible to Theobromine?

Dogs tend to be more prone to show poisoning symptoms, not because they are more susceptible to the effects of theobromine, but because most dogs have a keen sense of smell and urge for adventure – so they tend to seek out the sweet stuff before their feline friends.

Yes, cats are very susceptible to theobromine poisoning, and at much, much lower doses than dogs.

Cats, however, do not have the ability to identify “sweets”. They are much more apt to prefer the ribbons, plastic roses and crinkling wrappers around candy – but these can be just as hazardous. Ribbons and yarn can wrap around your pet’s intestine, macaroni from those fun necklaces and cards kids make can result in a choking death in  your pets.

Don’t forget those strong perfumes that can cause serious respiratory problems for cats, dogs, birds, and reptiles.

Pro Tip: Check out Pacifica’s line of perfumes. is nearly all-natural and absolutely divine. Best of all, they won’t overpower your pet’s senses.

What To Do if Your Pets Eat Chocolate

If you suspect your pets have eaten chocolate, aspartame (which is used in sugar-free candies) or any other substance, it’s important to act quickly by taking your pets to the veterinarian.

You may also need to contact Pet Poison Helpline, at 1-800-213-6680.

Signs of chocolate toxicity usually appear within 6 to 12 hours after your dog has eaten it and could last up to 72 hours. Keep an eye on your dog or cat for the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Restlessness
  • Increased urination
  • Tremors
  • Elevated or abnormal heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Collapse and death
    • Note: Older dogs and dogs with heart conditions are more at risk of sudden death from chocolate poisoning.

Valentine’s Day should be a day of love, not emergency veterinary visits.  Enjoy your chocolates, but show your love for your pets by keeping the chocolates and the packaging, out of the reach of your pets. They will love you all the more!

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