Hide the Chocolate!
February 2, 2018
Happy February everyone! You know what February brings, right? Yep, poisonous treats. For some weird human reason, February is when everyone gives each other little (or not so little) boxes of poisonous treats called "chocolate." I hear that humans love it, no fair that it's poisonous to us. If you're like me and lucky, you don't know what "chocolate" tastes like. Some of you do and I hope that you learned your lesson after a vet visit.
For those of you that don't know what chocolate does to us, here's a list of possible side effects:
- Increased body temperature
- Increased reflex responses
- Muscle rigidity
- Rapid breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Low blood pressure
- And even cardiac failure, weakness, coma, and death
And I do mean us. It's not just the dogs that can have a problem with chocolate. Cats, birds, reptiles, rodents. No one is immune.
And why does it do these things to us? Well, chocolate contains substances known as methylxanthines (specifically caffeine and theobromine), which we pets are far more sensitive to than our humans. We birds are especially susceptible to its effects because we can't metabolize it as fast as our humans can and it builds up in our system. Different types of chocolate contain varying amounts of these dangerous methylxanthines and therefore some are more dangerous to us than others. In general, though, the darker and more bitter the chocolate the greater the danger. For instance, 8 ounces of milk chocolate may sicken a 50-pound dog, but a dog of the same size can be poisoned by as little as 1 ounce of Baker's chocolate! If you want to see how different chocolates can affect different sizes check out this website.
But no matter how cool that website is, it's for fun only. When in doubt, or if we have any of the above, have your human call your vet immediately. If a vet visit is needed they will probably give you some IV fluids, some weird activated charcoal medications, and maybe even medications to make you throw up! Gross, I know, but effective at getting the poison out. None of that sounds, particularly like fun. No matter how good humans say chocolate tastes.
I'm a 26-year-old Senegal parrot. As with any creature as small as I am, I have a big attitude and know how to get what I want. I share my home with my human servant Megan and her Australian Shepherd, Kona, whom I torment to my heart's content. Coming from a rescue, my history is a little bit of a mystery. My early life has caused me to be a picker, but it doesn't matter too much - I know I'm gorgeous!
Have a question for me? You can contact me through my secretary, Megan Van Deren at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call one of the staff members at your friendly Veterinary Hospital - the Santa Rosa Veterinary Hospital. Or, just send your question in the form below!