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Halloween Chocolate a Serious Threat to Pets

Halloween Chocolate a Serious Threat to Pets

10/11/10

MONDAY, Oct. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Chocolate Halloween candy may be a treat for children but poses a serious threat to pets, warns an expert.

Pets who consume chocolate can experience vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and urination, irregular heartbeat, tremors, seizures and even death, said Susan Nelson, a Kansas State University veterinarian. These problems are mainly caused by a substance in chocolate called theobromine.

Different types of chocolate have varying concentrations of theobromine. Baking chocolate contains the most, semisweet and milk chocolate sport a medium amount, and white chocolate has the least, Nelson explained in a university news release.

If your pet consumes a large quantity of chocolate, you should call a veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately, Nelson said.

"Chocolate consumption is a very common problem among pets, dogs especially," but it can also harm cats, birds, rats and ferrets, Nelson said in the news release. "It is important to recognize that individual reactions vary by pets, but it is best to assume your pet is one of the sensitive ones and not delay in seeking advice from your veterinarian. Be aware of the chocolate sources in your house, and tell any new dog owner about this potential threat to their pet."

In order to protect pets, she suggests keeping all foods out of their reach and confining pets during family gatherings and parties so that guests don't feed them.

More information

The American Veterinary Medical Association has more about household hazards to pets.

Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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