No holiday chocolate for Max or Fluffy! For pets, chocolate is a tasty toxin, which causes serious health problems. It contains a compound called theobromine, which, like caffeine, is dangerous to dogs and cats when eaten in large quantities, says Mary Labato, D.V.M., clinical assistant professor at the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine in North Grafton, Massachusetts. Baking chocolate, with nearly nine times more theobromine than milk chocolate, is particularly dangerous, but either kind can cause problems, she warns. A toxic dose of theobromine for a 20-pound dog is about 1,000 milligrams -- the amount found in 28 ounces of baking chocolate. If you're not sure how much your pet already ate, call your vet immediately for advice.
Bottom line: Never leave chocolates unattended.
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