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Chocolate: Toxic to rodents?
08-03-2012, 05:02 AM,
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writer811 Offline
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Wink  Chocolate: Toxic to rodents?
When I first got my rat Persephone, I was told of certain foods that I couldn't give her. Among those was chocolate, because chocolate is toxic to rats, just like it is with dogs. I was wondering if that's true for the rest of the pet rodents as well? Does anyone know? Also, if you're a rat owner and didn't know rats can't eat chocolate...now you do!
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08-16-2012, 03:27 AM,
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Ram Offline
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RE: Chocolate: Toxic to rodents?
I have looked into this matter and I have found conflict information on the net. From what I have read so far, some sources say that chocolate is not really toxic to rats or other rodents, and it is not even toxic to dogs until in really high quantity. While some other sources just claim rodents can't be fed with chocolate at all.

One thing for certain, since chocolate has no nutritional value, feeding your rat chocolate could off set the diet balance. Remember how small they are. A small piece of chocolate to a small pet rodent could be mean a whole lunch with chocolate only for a human. It can be bad lol. It is not recommended to feed rodents with chocolate whether or not it is toxic to them.
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08-17-2012, 05:59 AM,
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writer811 Offline
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RE: Chocolate: Toxic to rodents?
I think chocolate is toxic to both dogs and rodents just because the vets around here say it is, and I do trust them more than a random stranger on the Internet. But yeah, you're right, chocolate doesn't really have any nutritional value and isn't a healthy snack so it shouldn't be given to animals anyway, toxic of not.
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11-29-2012, 12:48 AM, (This post was last modified: 11-29-2012, 12:51 AM by gwydion.)
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RE: Chocolate: Toxic to rodents?
Chocolate is toxic to all animals, even humans. It contains a poison, theobromide, an alkaloid. It is also found in tea leaves and is produced by humans when caffeine is metabolized. All mammals can break theobromine down in the body into inert compounds, but carnivores (cats, dogs etc) are much less efficient at doing this. So about you can see theobromine poisoning with as little as 50g (about 8 oz) chocolate in small dogs, larger breeds might be able to consume up to 400g (14 oz).

Because rodents are small, even though they can metabolize theobromide efficiently, a small amount of chocolate would induce a large amount of theobromide into their bodies compared to body size.

Even in humans, gorging on chocolate (particularly in the elderly) can yield the symptoms of theobromide poisoning. In fact, if chocolate was being assessed as a medicine rather than a food, it would not be licensed for human consumption because of the potential toxic effects!

It is not true that chocolate has no food value. Admittedly, it's mostly fat with a few vitamins and the more processed the chocolate is, the more fat you have and the more sugar. But because of it's fat content it's a good source of storage energy (as long as you go for good chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids). It also contains several chemicals that can help stabilize mood, so eating chocolate to feel happier makes sense.
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