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Why is chocolate bad for dogs? And what other household items can cause toxicity?

Why is chocolate bad for dogs? And what other household items can cause toxicity?

(From ASPCA Animal Poison Control)
Chocolate can contain high amounts of fat and caffeine-like stimulants known as methylxanthines. If ingested in significant amounts, chocolate can potentially produce effects ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, seizures and even death in severe cases. Milk chocolate is less toxic than dark chocolate or baking chocolate because the methylxanthine concentration is lower. Always call us if your pet has helped itself to choclate.

Also the high fat content of chocolates (white, milk, and dark) could still lead to vomiting and diarrhea, as well as the possible development of life threatening pancreatitis, an inflammatory condition of the pancreas.

Watch out for Xylitol – a non-sugar sweetener in gums, mints, among other things.

While human blood sugar remains stable when we eat treats sweetened with xylitol, dogs can potentially have a sharp drop in their blood sugar. This can result in depression, loss of coordination and seizures, and in some cases, liver damage. Other toxic items: raisins, grapes, onions, anti-freeze, pennies (zinc), rat poisons, and human drugs.