This week’s subject is near and dear to my heart. What do you think about this one:
Toxic or Not?
One M&M isn’t going to kill your 100 lb. Rottweiler, but an ounce of dark (semi-sweet) chocolate will make your 20 lb. Beagle sick. The active ingredient in chocolate, theobromine, is in the same chemical class as caffeine, and the initial signs of chocolate toxicosis are rapid heart rate, restlessness and jittery behavior, and hyperactivity. Advanced cases exhibit irregular heart beats and seizures, and could potentially cause death in extreme cases.
The amount of theobromine increases with the increasing cacao concentration, so white chocolate, which contains practically no theobromine, is the least toxic, milk chocolate next, dark chocolates are more toxic than milk chocolate and unsweetened baking chocolate is the worst in terms of toxic potential.
Semi-sweet chocolate: Symptoms 1 oz., Life-threatening 3 oz.
Baker’s chocolate: Symptoms 0.5 oz., Life-threatening 1.5 oz.
Interestingly enough, this seems to be primarily a dog problem. Not to say that theobromine isn’t toxic to cats, but dogs are the real chocoholics of the pet world; most cats show little interest in chocolate.
Semi-sweet chocolate: Symptoms 0.5 oz., Life-threatening 1.5 oz.
Baker’s chocolate: Symptoms 0.25 oz., Life-threatening 0.75 oz.