Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tip #170: Don’t Feed Dogs Chocolate

Everyone knows you aren’t supposed to feed your pets chocolate, but do you know what amounts and types of chocolate are more dangerous to our furry friends?
Chocolate contains a chemical compound called theobromine. This mild stimulant shares similarities with caffeine. Although harmless to humans, theobromine has a far more potent effect on cats and dogs. The average human would have to consume over 70 pounds of chocolate to experience the same lethal effects theobromine has on dogs and cats.

The effects of theobromine by cats and dogs can vary based on the amount and type of chocolate consumed. White and milk chocolate contain lower levels of theobromine, than darker chocolate. Unsweetened cocoa powder contains the highest percentage of theobromine. According to petmd.com, “8 ounces of milk chocolate may sicken a 50-pound dog, whereas a dog of the same size can be poisoned by as little as 1 ounce of baker’s chocolate.”
If you’ve heard that chocolate is harmful to dogs, most likely you’ve also heard tales of pets who got their paws on a pan of chocolate cookies or polished off a box of chocolates and “hey, they were fine!” Petmd.com offers an interactive chocolate toxicity meter for dog owners to enter in their dog’s weight as well as the type and amount of chocolate their pet consumed to determine toxicity levels. Even if a pet is not showing symptoms directly after consuming chocolate, it is important to keep a close watch on the animal and make an emergency veterinary visit if toxicity levels are considered moderate to severe.

During the holidays, when pet owners are likely to have chocolate within paws reach (e.g., chocolate chip cookies cooling on the counter or a box of chocolates under the Christmas tree), it may be a good time to remind customers to take precautions around their pets and offer safe, chocolate-free holiday treats for pet lovers shopping your store.

RCI member, Boehm’s Candies & Chocolates of Issaquah, WA offers 1.5-ounce dog treats dipped in peanut butter or white confectionery coating. These treats are safe for dogs and do not contain actual chocolate. 

RCI member, Bomboy’s Home Made Candy of Havre De Grace, MD sells Vanilla-Dipped Dog Bones for man’s best friend.

Give pet lovers a reason to shop in your store this holiday season by posting photos of your animal-friendly treats on social media. Even a small holiday-inspired display in your store will encourage visitors to include Fido in the holiday festivities.

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