Why is Chocolate Bad for Dogs

why is chocolate bad for dogs

Chocolate is delicious to us humans, but the same cannot be said for dogs. Let’s be clear, chocolate is toxic to dogs, and no amount (no matter how small) should be given to your dog. Even a tiny bite can make your beloved pet sick, especially for smaller dogs. 

Chocolate is poisonous for dogs. This is because it is made from the beans of the cocoa tree and contains two substances in particular that can cause severe harm to dogs: Theobromine and Caffeine. Man’s best friend cannot metabolise this theobromine in the same way that we do, which can adversely affect them. As a general rule, the darker the chocolate, the higher the risk it can carry for your pets. Baker’s chocolate, cocoa and dark chocolate would be seen as the most dangerous, then milk chocolate and white chocolate.

What Happens if Dogs Eat Chocolate?

How chocolate affects your dog depends on how much they have eaten. Even if it is accidentally ingested, you should take the appropriate measures.

The troubling signs that you should look out for if you are worried that your dog may have eaten chocolate are: 

  • Vomiting, 
  • Diarrhoea, 
  • Excessive thirst, 
  • Drooling,
  • Restlessness or extreme excitement,
  • Increased panting,
  • Racing heart, 
  • High blood pressure,
  • Excessive urination.


In severe cases, some dogs also experience: 

  • Muscle tremors or rigidity, 
  • Seizures, 
  • Heart failure
  • Collapse.
chocolate and dogs

How Much Chocolate is Bad for My Dog?

As we mentioned, any amount of chocolate is harmful to your dog – in some cases, it can take less than 8 grams of chocolate per kilogram of body weight to kill a dog.

To put this into perspective, 

  1. For a Yorkshire Terrier that weighs around 2.7 kg, 60 grams of chocolate could be life-threatening. 
  2. For a Pug that weighs around 9 kg, 121 grams of chocolate could be life-threatening.
  3. For a Golden Retriever that weighs around 34 kg, 2kg of chocolate would probably be life-threatening.
  4. For a Bullmastiff that weighs around 86 kg, 5kg of chocolate would probably be life-threatening.


Please note that this is for illustrative purposes only. As soon as you realise that your dog may have eaten any amount of chocolate, you should seek veterinary help immediately. Please don’t wait for them to develop symptoms; the sooner a dog receives treatment, the higher the likelihood of recovering without any severe or lasting damage. Treatment will also depend on how long the chocolate may have been in their body.

Signs of chocolate poisoning or chocolate toxicity mostly start to appear within 6 to 12 hours after ingestion. Still, there have been cases where it has taken up to 24 hours for symptoms to appear. Similarly, it can even take up to 3 days for a dog to completely recover.

What to do if Your Dog Eats Chocolate?

The first reaction may be to induce vomiting, but you should never do this without the supervision of a vet or another professional. 

Depending on the dog’s size and how much they have got their paws on, there is a chance that your dog may need to be kept at the vet’s overnight and receive intravenous fluid, anti-nausea or anti-diarrhoea medication etc. 

We would also recommend, if possible, keeping any packaging to show your vet so that they can see exactly what ingredients are included. This packaging will help them determine how it might affect them and what treatment methods may be needed. It would also be helpful to know your dog’s weight, how much you think they may have eaten and how long it has been since they consumed it.

We know it is easier said than done, but always try to keep all chocolate out of reach of dogs. The most dangerous time for chocolate poisoning in dogs is around Christmas and the festive season when there is an increased amount of chocolate in the house and sweet treats around the Christmas tree. 

For a dog to eat any amount of chocolate is a concern. If you feel that your dog may have eaten chocolate, no matter how small, you should always speak to a veterinary professional; it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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