Can dogs eat chocolate?
No, dogs should not eat chocolate as it contains a chemical called theobromine, which is poisonous to dogs. Darker, purer varieties of chocolate tend to have the highest levels but it’s also found in milk chocolate.
Why is chocolate bad for dogs?
Chocolate contains several ingredients that are bad for dogs, including fat, sugar and caffeine. But the most toxic ingredient is theobromine, which is a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant. Dogs aren’t able to break down, or metabolise, theobromine like humans can and it mainly affects their guts, heart, central nervous system and kidneys.
What to do if your dog eats chocolate?
Urgent treatment may be needed if your dog has eaten chocolate so please contact your vet as soon as possible for advice or, out of hours, your nearest Vets Now pet emergency clinic immediately. Our chocolate toxicity calculator is a useful guide to help you find out if your dog has eaten a toxic dose.
Take note of your dog’s weight, the type of chocolate and how much chocolate they’ve eaten and when they ate it. Take the wrapper to the vet if you can. This information will help the vet to work out whether your dog has eaten a toxic amount of chocolate and how to treat them.
What does chocolate do to dogs?
Chocolate poisoning mainly affects the heart, central nervous system and kidneys. Symptoms of dogs eating chocolate usually occur between four and 24 hours after your dog has eaten chocolate.
The effect and signs of chocolate poisoning in dogs depends on the amount eaten and the size of the breed. For example, a Labrador-sized dog that’s eaten 200g of milk chocolate is likely to have a stomach upset such as vomiting and diarrhoea. At 500g, it’s likely that cardiovascular problems and increased heart rate will be seen. Eating 750g may result in seizures.
Does chocolate kill dogs?
Although chocolate can make dogs ill, it’s rarely fatal. According to the Veterinary Poisons Information Service, out of 1,000 dog chocolate toxicity cases it recorded on its database, only five dogs died. Concerns have been raised, however, that many dog chocolate toxicity cases go unreported.