Chase Booth, of Balclutha Primary School, asks :-

Is chocolate poisonous to cats as well as dogs?

Arnon Gal, a veterinary internal medicine specialist at Massey University's Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, responded.

This is a very good and important question. Chocolate (excluding white chocolate) is toxic to dogs and cats.

The toxic component in chocolate is theobromine. Experiments indicate that dogs develop signs of toxicity or even die depending on the amount of theobromine ingested.

Different types of chocolate contain different quantities of theobromine with milk chocolate containing the least, and dark chocolate, cocoa beans and cocoa powder containing the highest.

Also, there is a breed difference in the ability of the liver to break theobromine to non-toxic compounds. This variance is due to a genetic difference in one of the liver enzymes. Interestingly, though it is commonly thought that cats can also develop chocolate toxicity, the experimental evidence for that is sparse. Nevertheless, in one of the veterinary textbooks there is a short paragraph that claims that cats get similar toxicity. Therefore, I would not recommend feeding cats or dogs any chocolate products no matter how tasty it is.

Other common household causes of toxicity in cats and dogs include administration of Panadol (acetaminophen), ingestion of anti-freeze liquid (ethylene glycol), ingestion of garlic and onion, raisins (dogs only), and ingestion of the Easter lily flower petals (cats only).

To have your pet in the best condition it is highly recommended that it will only be fed commercial food without any table scraps, no matter how much they beg for it.