CAN CATS EAT CHOCOLATE?
The delicious chocolate seems to be a true gift from the gods. Milk, white, bar, bitter, with fruits… in short, there are thousands of combinations in which you can enjoy this dessert.
Who doesn’t love chocolate? Should we share this pleasure with our pets?
If we talk specifically about cats, the answer is a resounding no! Under no circumstances should you give chocolate to her.
If you want to know the reason, here we tell you what it is.
Why shouldn’t my cat eat chocolate?
Chocolate comes from the transformation of cocoa beans through a long industrial process. At the end of this process, we will have a delicious food that contains vitamins, calcium and iron, among other nutrients.
However, despite the many properties of chocolate, it is a product that can intoxicate felines to the point of being lethal.
The reason is that cocoa contains an alkaloid called theobromine (the substance that gives chocolate its bitter taste) that is really toxic for cats and dogs.
Although it is naturally present in cocoa beans, some chocolate manufacturers add more of it artificially to increase the flavor and increase the sensation of pleasure we feel when consuming it.
The toxicity inside the sweetness
It is important to emphasize that the level of toxicity is so high that it can cause the feline’s death. The dose needed to make a cat sick is very small, only 100-200 mg per kg of weight.
In addition, the high caffeine content is also harmful for pets, especially in the case of cats, as it is a stimulant that can be very strong since they are small animals, compared to other domestic animals such as dogs. Only 15 mg per kg of weight are enough to make a cat sick.
Especially if the chocolate is dark, the theobromine will accumulate in the cat’s bloodstream and could cause death within 24 hours.
This substance can cause a heart attack in your cat, as well as damage the central nervous system. No matter how little they consume, their system is not able to process it.
Cocoa powder contains 16 times more theobromine than milk chocolate, while white chocolate contains very little. In addition, theobromine is also found in tea and kola nuts, hence the importance of knowing what and how much the animal consumed.
On the other hand, chocolate has a large amount of sugar, fats and milk that, although to a lesser extent, also affect the health of the feline with digestive problems.
If you suspect that your pet has consumed some chocolate, consult your doctor immediately.
Consequences of chocolate consumption in cats
Within 6 to 12 hours after consuming chocolate, your cat may show the following symptoms:
- Vomiting every 10 to 30 minutes is a sign of intoxication.
- Increased urination
- Fast breathing
- Seizures and tremors that may be life-threatening
- Difficulty moving
Others are more difficult to detect symptoms such as low blood pressure and tachycardia.
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The consequences of having consumed chocolate would be:
- Heart attack
- Increased glucose levels
- Digestive problems
- Increased blood cholesterol
What to do if a cat eats chocolate?
If your pet has unfortunately consumed chocolate, do not hesitate to take it immediately to the emergency room.
Once in the hands of specialists, vomiting will be induced to prevent the chemicals from being digested. Gastric lavage and the administration of drugs to counteract the symptoms are also feasible.
Do not attempt to induce vomiting on your own if it has been more than 2 hours since ingestion, as the food has passed from the stomach into the bloodstream and you will not do anything to make him/her vomit, on the contrary, you may generate other symptoms.
The doctor will also perform a series of blood tests, urine tests and an electrolyte panel to determine the amount of the substance that has passed into the body.
An electrocardiogram may be required to judge the degree of involvement of the heart.
After this, the veterinarian will indicate the diet your pet should follow in order to recover satisfactorily, usually a bland diet.
Try to keep her in a quiet and cool place while she battles with the symptoms, especially if she continues with convulsions.
Do not forget to place fresh water within reach during the recovery days.
Treatment in case your cat has chocolate poisoning
The treatment will depend on the amount of chocolate she has consumed, her previous health conditions, her age, the breed and also her weight.
Unfortunately there is no antidote. The doctor will simply remove the chocolate residue from the body and prevent further absorption.
Treatment may also include:
- Administration of activated charcoal to delay absorption of the poison.
- Intubation and artificial respiration in extreme cases
- Intravenous rehydration
- Urinary catheter to prevent reabsorption of the poison.
Because there is a belief that homemade food can be more nutritious than commercial food, it is necessary to clarify that nowadays dry cat food and dry cat food contain all the nutrients necessary to keep your pet healthy.
Leave homemade food for exceptional cases or give it as an occasional treat.
It is not necessary to run the risk of food poisoning by choosing a food of poor quality or that can damage the health of your feline, it is necessary to take this into account for food in general as well as for treats. Remember that chocolate is not the only food that humans eat that is harmful to cats.
We love to please our cats, but we love to take care of them more!
If you think that by offering chocolate to your cat you can give her a little bit of sweet pleasure, we have some bad news for you: cats cannot recognize the sweet taste in food.
That means they won’t feel the same way humans do when eating chocolate because they don’t have the taste receptor in their taste buds.
If you are the happy owner of a cat, you should always be vigilant about what it eats. The exploratory and curious nature of felines makes them prone to accidents.
They also love to sniff and taste everything in their path. Although it is possible that they may not be interested in tasting it, it is always a good idea to keep your guard up.