With Halloween approaching, Pets Premier Mobile Veterinary Clinic would like to remind all pet owners to be very careful not to let your pets eat any chocolate and also candies/gum containing artificial sweeteners such as Xylitol.

Chocolate toxicity is mainly due to the caffeine and theobromine it contains, but the high fat content can also cause pancreatitis, a potentially life-threatening condition. The toxic dose of chocolate depends on your pet’s weight and the type of chocolate ingested. Baking chocolate and dark chocolates are the most toxic, followed by semi-sweet and then milk chocolate.

Signs of chocolate toxicity include:

-Racing heart rate and/or abnormal heart rhythms

Xylitol, a very popular artificial sweetener, can cause severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), liver failure, bleeding and death. The effect in cats is undetermined, but ingestion should be avoided all the same.
Signs of Xylitol poisoning include:

1. Vomiting
2. Weakness/lethargy
3. Collapsing and/or seizures

**Some dogs do not show any immediate signs and later develop liver failure.

Here are a few important things to remember about Xylitol poisoning:

1. A tiny amount of Xylitol is toxic to your dog. This can be as few as 1-2 pieces of sugarless gum!
2. Xylitol is rapidly absorbed, so seek veterinary treatment immediately if you suspect your pet has ingested any Xylitol-containing products.
3. Even if your pet has no immediate signs of toxicity after eating Xylitol-containing products, you should seek treatment without delay!
4. Bring food labels with you to help your veterinarian determine how much Xylitol is in the product.
5. Xylitol can also be found in certain toothpastes.
6. There is no specific antidote to Xylitol. Treatment includes aggressive supportive care to maintain a normal blood sugar and monitoring liver enzymes and clotting values.

If your pet has ingested any chocolate or Xylitol-containing candy/products, please contact us or your local emergency clinic immediately. You should be ready to tell us which type of chocolate/Xylitol containing product, how much your pet has eaten, and when it was eaten. We can then determine if your pet has ingested a toxic dose. Immediate treatment gives the best outcome for both toxicities.