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Chocolate is Toxic to Dogs

Updated on April 15, 2013

Is It Okay For Dogs to Eat Chocolate?

Is it okay for dogs to eat chocolate? Dogs shouldn't eat chocolate, because chocolate is toxic to dogs. Chocolate contains three substances that are harmful to dogs and other household pets. These three substances are: caffeine, phenyethylamine and theobromine. Caffeine is a stimulant, theobromine stimulates the heart muscle and nervous system, and Phenyethylamine, which could be a mood enhancer and anti-depressant. Dogs metabolize theobromine slowly. unlike humans. If a dog eats a large amount of chocolate, it can take up to 72 hours for the theobromine to be secreted out of the dog's system. A dog could possibly die, if not immediately taken to a vet for treatment of chocolate poisoning.

Some types of chocolate are worse than others, for instance: dark chocolate and baker's chocolate. Dark chocolate and Baker's chocolate contain much more of the substance: theobromine. Milk chocolate and white chocolate contain lesser amounts of the substance. The more theobromine in the chocolate the more dangerous it is for dogs. When a dog ingests a large amount of chocolate it is known as chocolate poisoning. Small dogs are at the more risk for chocolate poisoning, because of their size.

A Dog

A Dog
A Dog | Source

Chocolate Contains Stimulants

There are different types of chocolate that contain different amounts of the stimulant: theobromine. Dark chocolate and baker's chocolate contain the most theobromine, while milk and white chocolate contain the least amount. The size, breed, weight, age, health, type and amount of chocolate are all factors to consider if a dog has eaten chocolate. A small amount of chocolate may not hurt a dog as much as a large amount, but still it would be best not to give a dog any chocolate to eat. Chocolate should be kept out of a dog's reach, especially dark and unsweetened chocolate, which contains a lot of theobromine. Theobromine is toxic to dogs, cats, and even birds. Other pets in the home could be at great risk, as well, if given chocolate to eat. Dogs and horses are the most susceptible to theobromine poisoning.

Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate
Dark Chocolate | Source


If a dog eats a large quantity of chocolate a vet should be contacted immediately or animal poison control, and proper procedures should be followed. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs are vomiting, diarrhea, trembling, seizures, excessive thirst, and excessive urination. Dogs can go into a coma, or even die from chocolate poisoning. Chocolate poisoning is a veterinarian emergency that requires immediate care and support. Since chocolate contains stimulants, such as caffeine and theobromine, it's probably best not to feed chocolate to dogs, or any other animals. Dogs don't need stimulants in their diets, so they don't need to eat chocolate, at all. Dogs are better off to eat high quality dog food, and dog treats in small amounts, instead of eating chocolate.

Chocolate Shell Mulch

Chocolate shell mulch has become popular for landscaping, and could also be a threat to dogs. Dogs shouldn't be allowed near chocolate shell mulch, as they might eat it and get sick. Chocolate shell mulch shouldn't be used in bedding for horses, either. Horses are greatly susceptible to theobromine poisoning, just as dogs are. Theobromine is toxic to cats, as well, but cats most likely wouldn't eat chocolate. Dogs are much different than cats, dogs will eat almost anything that they can get a hold of. They gulp their food down fast, as they are known to, so that makes them more susceptible to chocolate poisoning than cats.

Dogs and Chocolate Poisoning

Dogs Eating Chocolate

Dogs shouldn't be given chocolate, because it may be unhealthy and lead to many problems. Chocolate contains stimulants that dogs don't need in their system. The substance: theobromine is bad for the heart and nervous system in dogs. Dogs can't metabolize theobromine quick enough like humans. Theobromine can stay in a dog's system for up to 72 hours, and may require immediate veterinary care and support, or animal poison control.

Dogs Eating Chocolate


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    • gail641 profile image

      Gail Louise Stevenson 6 years ago from Mason City

      Thanks, Its a good thing that it didn't cost the former high school instructor much trouble. Thanks, again.

    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 6 years ago from USA

      This is really a helpful hub.:) I remember a former high school instructor who had a trouble with the dog who had gotten into her bedroom and ate all the chocolates she had. Luckily it hasn't cost her much trouble. Now she knows chocolate aren't a good idea being left around with dogs around. Voted up and useful!

    • gail641 profile image

      Gail Louise Stevenson 6 years ago from Mason City

      Hi, I heard someone where I work telling someone else not to give her dog bones, because the bones could splinter. Maybe bones that are for dogs would be ok.

    • WD Curry 111 profile image

      WD Curry 111 6 years ago from Space Coast

      Whoa is me. I am a bad man. I will never give a dog chocolate again! How about beef bones?