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Chocolate and liver don’t go together

30 September 2023

Chocolate poisoning is a relatively common emergency in the veterinary profession. But why exactly? What risks does my pet run if it ingests chocolate, and how should I react? Here are all the answers to your questions about chocolate.

Why is chocolate toxic for my cat and dog ?

Quite simply because our pets’ livers are unable to break down the theobromine contained in chocolate. This molecule, which is part of the same family as caffeine, is found in varying quantities in chocolate, depending on its cocoa content. The higher the cocoa content of a chocolate, the more theobromine it contains. The percentage of cocoa in the chocolate you eat will therefore determine its toxicity.

What risks does my pet run if it eats chocolate ?

The toxic molecule – theobromine – is known to stimulate the central nervous system and the myocardium – the heart muscle. It also relaxes smooth muscle fibres – particularly in the bronchial tubes – and encourages urine production.

Signs of intoxication appear within 4 to 6 hours of ingestion. Initially, the animal is agitated, with diarrhoea, vomiting, increased urine output, increased temperature and increased heart and respiratory rates. Later, heart rhythm disorders, muscular rigidity, lack of coordination of movements and loss of balance, as well as convulsions, set in. Poisoning can lead to coma and death.

What should I do if my 4-legged friend eats chocolate ?

If your pet ingests chocolate, the first thing to do is to contact your vet as soon as possible. Only symptomatic treatment can be given: there is no antidote to theobromine intoxication.

If the ingestion is recent – less than 2 hours – and symptoms are not yet present, your vet will give your dog or cat an injection to induce vomiting. Your pet will then be given oral activated charcoal.

When should I be concerned ?

It all depends on the amount of chocolate ingested, the percentage of cocoa in the chocolate and your pet’s weight.

For example, just over 20g of dark chocolate can cause symptoms in a 10kg dog.

What about white chocolate ?

White chocolate contains no cocoa. So there’s no risk of theobromine intoxication… but the quantities of sugar and fat contained in these treats could well lead to other disorders

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The importance of diet for skin and coat quality in dogs and cats

The importance of diet for skin and coat quality in dogs and cats

The skin is the body's largest organ, representing between 12% and 24% of the animal's weight, and its surface area in a dog weighing around thirty kilograms is close to one square meter. It's hardly surprising, then, that the quality and quantity of the dog's diet can have an impact on this organ, and in the event of a deficiency can lead to problems that go far beyond a simple visual appearance.  

Key nutrients for healthy skin and coat

Among the macro-nutrients, proteins play a crucial role. They provide amino acids, including sulphur amino acids, which are essential for the structure of the skin and coat. These are the main components of collagen, which gives the skin its suppleness and resistance, and of keratin, which plays a part in the effectiveness of the skin barrier. Lipids are also important; they make up the bulk of cell membranes and, in the skin, contribute significantly to the effectiveness of the cutaneous barrier. Among lipids, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help maintain healthy skin, modulate inflammatory mechanisms and promote a shiny, soft coat.  Vitamins and minerals are also involved. Vitamin A is necessary for cell renewal, as is vitamin D, which also plays a part in the skin's natural defences. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant, while B vitamins and biotin are essential co-factors in the synthesis of various skin elements such as ceramides, keratin and collagen. Among the minerals, zinc is involved in synthesis, protection against free radicals and immune defence mechanisms.    

Disorders linked to inadequate nutrition

Inadequate or poor-quality food can lead to skin problems in our pets. A deficiency in essential fatty acids leads to dry, flaky skin, a dull coat and brittle hair. When it's the vitamins and minerals that are in short supply, synthesis is affected, the skin barrier can be less effective and the breeding ground for infections and inflammations that can lead to itching. On the other hand, these nutritional benefits can be used to compensate for individual sensitivities and improve the quality of the skin and coat in the event of dermatological disorders or diseases.    


The quality of a dog's skin and the beauty of its coat are directly influenced by the quality of its diet. However, some dogs and cats have increased needs, and it is therefore necessary to provide them with greater quantities of useful nutrients. This is particularly true in the case of certain dermatological disorders, to help compensate for imbalances and accompany the medical treatments prescribed by your vet. 

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