Can Cats Eat Chocolate?

James Glover
by James Glover
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QuestionMy cat loves to lick my bowl after eating mint chocolate chip ice cream. I just heard that chocolate can kill cats and dogs. Is this true? (Nicole - Texas)

Answer

Even in relatively small amounts chocolate is poison to cats and dogs. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, two different types of stimulants that affect the central nervous system and the heart muscle, as well as increasing the frequency of urination. For a cat or dog to lick the remains of an ice cream from a bowl is unlikely to cause any harm at all unless the animal has a specific medical condition already.

However, if the animal was to eat a larger quantity of chocolate he may become very sick indeed and develop vomiting or diarrhea. When the amount of chocolate eaten is excessive, symptoms can include restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching, increased urination and/or excessive panting. White chocolate has the least amount of stimulants and baking chocolate or cocoa beans have the highest. A better idea is to buy chocolate drops which are made specifically for pets, as they will not harm your pets' teeth.

Disclaimer: This service is meant to provide advice only and is not meant to replace an appointment with a registered veterinarian. Users should always seek a second opinion. Unfortunately we are only able to answer several questions per week so not everyone gets a published answer. And, unfortunately we can't answer by email.
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California
quinngosling
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Added on Aug 19th, 2011
It's baking chocolate that is most poisonous to dogs and cats, milk chocolate is not great - because it has so much sugar but your pet won't die if he eats some of your ice cream, chocolate contains theobromine that is toxic to dogs in certain quantities. A small amount in bakers is equal to a larger amount in milk. Here is a good list of toxic food - http://www.foundanimals.org/pet-care/ask-experts/holiday-feasts-are-for-people-not-pets, some things are surprising, like raisins
New Jersey
lesleyjoy
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Added on Nov 2nd, 2010
i give my cat a small amount of chocolate..just a little like a piece of rice..is that bad?please answer..im so worried about my cat
Illinois
chichiowner
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Added on March 27th, 2010
i have a 6 month old kitten, she is always getting in the candy bowl and getting chocolate. she has even climbed on the table and gotten candy bars. she loves hershey kisses. none of this has ever hurt her. she eats the whole candy bar or piece of candy. i find empty wrappers around the house where she has gotten them and i never knew it. but i do refuse to let my dogs eat any chocolate.