Can Cats Eat Chocolate? What You Need to Know

Cat and Chocolate

People often like to share their treats with their pets as a way of showing affection. However, not all treats eaten by humans are safe for pets. If you are a dog owner, then you will probably already know that you should never give your dog chocolate as it is highly toxic to them and will make them very ill. You should only give your dogs the special chocolate treats that are manufactured specifically for dogs. Cat owners have probably wondered on many occasions if the same rules apply to chocolate and cats and whether or not it is safe to give their pet this treat. Here is all you need to know about chocolate and cats.

Is Chocolate Safe for Cats?

Unfortunately, chocolate is just as toxic for cats as it is for dogs. When eaten in small doses, it will cause gastrointestinal distress and result in diarrhea and vomiting. If a large quantity of chocolate is consumed the symptoms can be much worse and may include seizures or a coma. The worst-case scenario for a cat that has eaten chocolate is death. Chocolate poisoning is less common in cats than it is in dogs. This is because dogs have a sweet tooth and are more likely to steal chocolate that they see lying around the house. In most cases, a cat will ignore chocolate. There are two components in chocolate that make it toxic to cats. These are the stimulants caffeine and theobromine. These are perfectly safe for humans to eat but are toxic to cats and dogs.

Are Some Types of Chocolate More Dangerous Than Others?

There are some types of chocolate that are more toxic to cats and dogs than others. As a general rule, the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is to your cat. White chocolate poses no risk at all as it contains only traces of the toxic substances. Milk chocolate will make your cat very ill if it is eaten in large quantities. The worst chocolate for cats to eat is dark chocolate as it contains concentrated levels of the toxins. Examples of the most dangerous chocolates for your cat are unsweetened dry cocoa powder, baking chocolate, and dark chocolate with 60% cacao content or higher.

What About Candy?

Candy is completely different from chocolate and does not contain the same toxins. Therefore, it does not pose the same level of threat to cats. Candy and sugar-free gum contain a substance called xylitol and this is not toxic to cats. However, if you also have a dog in your home, it is important to note that this substance is harmful to dogs.

What Should You Do If Your Cat Eats Chocolate?

Prevention is always better than cure, so it makes sense to keep chocolate away from your cat. Although it is unlikely that the cat will try to eat this sweet treat, it is best to err on the side of caution and make sure they cannot access the chocolate.

If they do eat the chocolate, then you should take them to your vet immediately. At the very least, give them a call so they can offer you advice over the phone and tell you whether a trip to the vets is necessary or not. The vet will assess the situation by asking you about the type of chocolate eaten and how much of it the cat has consumed. The information you provide will determine the course of action that your vet will take next to prevent the cat from becoming ill or to treat their symptoms.

One thing that you should never do if your cat eats chocolate is to try to induce vomiting yourself. Dog owners are often advised to induce vomiting in a dog that has consumed chocolate, so cat owners often mistakenly believe that this is something they should try with their cat. However, inducing vomiting in a cat is a very risky thing to do and is best avoided. It could do more harm than good and inducing vomiting may not even be necessary depending on the amount and type of chocolate eaten. It is always better to leave it to the veterinarian to decide what is the best course of action to take in these circumstances.

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