Category Archives: ASPCA

Chocolate Toxicity in Pets: Symptoms & Precautions


By Linda Cole

Halloween is once again at our doorstep. Trick or treaters will begin tapping on doors to collect the goodies we have to offer. Among the caramel apples, popcorn balls and tasty treats of this spooky holiday will be chocolate candy bars, brownies or other special goodies made with chocolate. We devour tons of chocolate each year, but just a small amount can be deadly for our dogs and cats. Why is chocolate so toxic to pets?

Pets do have a sweet tooth. That’s why outside pets are attracted to spilled antifreeze on someone’s driveway and can become poisoned from licking even a small amount. Pets think they should be able to eat everything we eat. It’s hard to ignore their begging, bright eyes asking for (or demanding) a bite of whatever we are eating. When it comes to chocolate, even one bite can leave them begging for more.

Once pets, especially dogs, have tasted chocolate, they will develop a craving for it. The best thing to do is just not give your pet chocolate, period. Not only is chocolate toxic for pets, it can be fatal if they eat too much, and chocolate poisoning is more common than you may think. The ASPCA Poison Control Center and vets across the country see a spike in calls from worried pet owners during holidays like Halloween, Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

It’s important for children to understand that sharing their Halloween chocolate treats with their dog or cat can make the pet extremely sick. A little chocolate won’t hurt most dogs or cats; however, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Avoid any risk to your pet by not giving them any chocolate to begin with.

The amount of chocolate considered to be too much depends on the health, age, weight and size of your pet. The smaller the animal, the smaller amount of chocolate it takes to poison them. An older pet who is out of shape or has underlying illnesses could be affected by a very small amount of chocolate. It also depends on the type of chocolate; darker chocolate is more deadly. Dogs are more likely to be affected because they seem to be able to search and find chocolate better than cats, but cats can also be poisoned.

Theobromine is a natural stimulate found in the cocoa bean. This is what’s poisonous to pets. It affects the central nervous system and heart muscles, and it also increases urination. Caffeine is also present in chocolate although not in high concentrations like Theobromine.

Chocolate toxicity in pets is a serious health issue. If you suspect your pet may have eaten too much chocolate, call your vet immediately. Symptoms of chocolate toxicity in pets will begin within 12 hours or less and include:

* Being excited, nervous, shaking, hyperactive

* Diarrhea or vomiting

* Drinking a lot of water or increased urination, which is caused by too much Theobromine in their system.

* Muscle spasms or seizures

Most of us have a variety of chocolate in the house for baking purposes or eating. Dry cocoa powder tops the list of chocolate that is most dangerous for our pets, followed by Bakers chocolate (unsweetened), cocoa bean mulch, semisweet chocolate chips, sweet dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate. When evaluating chocolate toxicity in pets, it’s important to know what type of chocolate was ingested, and how much.

If your Siberian Husky or Lab eats a small chocolate candy bar, they will probably not be affected as long as they are healthy to begin with. A cat or Chihuahua grabbing a chocolate chip that fell on the floor should be fine, but when it comes to chocolate and pets, it best to just say no.

After the kids return home with their bags of Halloween goodies and everything is spread out on the table so you can survey their haul, please remember to make sure Halloween is safe for all members of your family. Chocolate is great in our tummies, but pets are better off with a healthy, chocolate-free snack made just for them.

My cats beg just as much as my dogs do, and it’s hard to deny any of them a small bite of whatever I may be eating. For me, the choice is easy when it comes to chocolate. It’s just not worth the risk. Besides, by not sharing, it leaves more for me!

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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Why Donate to the ASPCA and Local Shelters?


By Linda Cole

Pet owners understand the cost associated with caring for their pet or pets. Food, vaccinations, flea control, toys, beds and medical assistance when needed – it all adds up far too quickly sometimes. Shelters deal with financial challenges every day. Regardless of whether our economy is up or down, abandoned and lost pets who have found their way to any shelter need the continued generosity of others for food, shelter and medical care. “No kill” shelters are located in most states, and costs can be staggering. Fortunately, pet food companies like CANIDAE donate food to shelters to help out. However, most shelters still rely on the generosity of individuals who can donate money to help pay for everyday expenses, medical treatments and medications for those animals who are sick.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was founded in 1866 to fight for the rights of animals, both domesticated and wild. It is the oldest and first organization of its kind that gives animals a voice and has continued to fight for stricter laws against abuse and cruelty against all animals. They also share their resources with shelters throughout the United States.

We have a small local shelter that no longer accepts unwanted or stray pets simply because of a small yearly budget and not enough space. Our shelter helps local residents pay for spaying and neutering so money is extremely tight for them. They do receive donations of food, which is a big help, and they are passionate about promoting spaying and neutering to help reduce the number of kittens and puppies born that may become the next generation of homeless pets. Most no kill shelters and the ASPCA actively promote and educate the public on the importance of responsible pet ownership to help people understand why they should alter their pet. In order to help our shelter, which is at full capacity, a handful of us try to take in pets needing a home. Sometimes it’s only for a short period until that pet can be placed in a new home, but usually we become their new caretakers. So I understand the cost associated with caring for multiple pets.

Money isn’t the only way you can donate to the ASPCA or local shelters. You can help out by giving your local shelter time. You could be asked to help with office work, organize donation campaigns, groom pets, unload donations of pet food, exercise dogs, play with pets, clean cages or even be a foster parent for a pet needing some TLC after an illness or surgery. Time is just as important and appreciated as money if you can’t make a cash donation. Shelters depend on volunteers to help stretch their yearly budgets.

The ASPCA is at the forefront in the fight against animal cruelty. Stricter laws imposed on those who are found guilty of being cruel to pets are largely due to the work done by the ASPCA and other organizations. Shutting down puppy mills is a never ending fight and the ASPCA is doing everything in their power to educate people on how to spot a puppy mill and help get them shut down.

Why donate to the ASPCA and local shelters? Because they need as much help as they can get to give lost or abandoned pets a temporary home until a responsible and loving home can be found. The work these organizations perform on a daily basis has saved the lives of countless pets and will continue to do so as long as we continue to support them in their passionate cause of saving as many lives as possible. Cats and dogs don’t ask us for a lot. Yet they give us everything they have in the form of unconditional love. The least we can do for them is help out the organizations who have dedicated their lives to help unwanted and abandoned pets have a safe, warm home of their own, whether it be temporary or permanent.

Please donate what you can, whenever you can –money, your time or both if possible. The life that you save with a donation could be your own pet if he/she were to ever become lost. Visit the ASPCA website for more information or to make a donation.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.