Nutrition

Can Dogs Eat Chocolate? (Must Read for Dog Owners)

Can dogs eat chocolate?

When it comes to the diet of your dog, as an owner, you are very careful.

We make sure that we give only the best and also the safest food our dogs can get.  But sometimes, we miss the mark. We feed our dogs with food item we, humans, usually eat.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, at least in most of the cases.

But what’s right for us may or may not be good for our pets. Some can even be serious problem creators.

Chocolate is one of those food items. So, can dogs eat chocolate?

Let’s find that out!

Chocolates and Dogs

Dogs are notorious for eating anything and everything they find in their way.

With their superb sniffing skills, they can easily seek anything they want in their mouth. Unfortunately, chocolates are on that list too.

Even if you are going to hide them, your dogs are skilled finders and will succeed in finding them. So be careful to make sure your dog doesn’t eat, anything unintended by you, much.

As chocolates are made up of Caffeine and Theobromine, they can lead to medical complications once ingested.

So, if you are planning to have chocolates, take extra care to keep it in a place where your dog can’t reach.

Can Dogs Eat Chocolate?

“Give us one answer, mate! Can my dog eat chocolate or what?”

I hear you. The answer is both Yes and No.

But to keep things simple (and safe), let’s just say a big NO.

Chocolates don’t benefit your dog in any particular way. Consuming a small amount of chocolate will not hurt your dog badly.

But, if your dog goes bonkers and eats a lot of chocolate, then he or she is going to have a lot of problems.

There are three factors to consider when dealing with this issue.

1. Type of chocolate, whether white, milk or dark

White chocolates are generally considered less problematic than milk and dark chocolates.

2. Amount of chocolate consumed

If the quantity of chocolate eaten by your dog is very little, you may not have to worry that much. But if he had taken in a lot, call your vet immediately.

3. Size of your dog

Point 2 and 3 go in tandem with each other.

If your dog is a small fellow, then consuming any amount of chocolate is dangerous. If he is a big boy, then eating small bits of chocolate might not give him any problems.

But be warned that even big dogs are troubled when they eat a lot of chocolates.

Why is Chocolate Not Safe for My Dog?

Theobromine is the primary reason chocolate can be fatal to your pet dog.

This component in chocolate can be easily and completely metabolized by humans, but is a challenge for your dog.

As their digestive system acts a bit slow in this case, this component can end up increasing the toxic level in the dog’s system which is not a good thing at all.

My Dog Ate Chocolate, What Now?

If your dog ate chocolate, whether little or too much, you need to act quickly.

Contact your vet immediately or you can also ask for advice from the local helpline numbers in your city.

If you are calling your vet, tell him/her

  • How much chocolate your dog has eaten?
  • What kind of chocolate was consumed?
  • Quality of the chocolate
  • When your dog ate the chocolate?

All these information will help your vet to handle the situation better.

If your dog has eaten way too much chocolate, then your dog will vomit it out in some time.

If not, then your vet will give some hydrogen peroxide to your dog to induce vomit. This will remove the chocolate out of your dog’s system.

Once the dog vomits, avoid giving your dog any food or water immediately.

Some symptoms like diarrhea, pacing, extreme thirst, panting and even seizures might show up a bit late. However, if they continue for an extended period, call your vet.

If treatment starts early then, your dog will suffer less and recover quickly.

If large amounts of theobromine have been consumed, it will cause muscle tremors, internal bleeding, or a heart attack.

The onset of poisoning can be checked by severe hyperactivity of your dog.

How Much Chocolate is Toxic?

There is nothing set in stone in this case.

But we can give you some guidelines that can be of some help.

The toxicity depends on the type of chocolate and the amount of theobromine it contains.

If your dog ate white chocolate, then you may not have to worry that much as it contains tiny amounts of theobromine compared to dark chocolates.

Usually, when your dog consumes 100 to 150mg of theobromine per kg of its body weight, it can be considered toxic. Your dog will start facing issues once this threshold is crossed.

For reference, these are the amount of theobromine present in 25 grams of the various chocolates.

ItemTheobromine Levels
White chocolateVery little
Milk Chocolate40 to 70 mg
Sweet Dark Chocolate150 to 170 mg
Unsweetened Chocolate390 to 450 mg
Dry Cocoa Powder800 mg

Though the table might suggest that white chocolate is safe, you better avoid giving that to your dog as there are no benefits to it, but still could cause some issues if we are a little careless.

Since 150mg of theobromine can start causing issues in your dog, anything more than 75 grams of milk chocolate, 25 grams of dark chocolate and even a little bit of unsweetened chocolate can be considered dangerous to your dog.

Once consumed, the amounts mentioned above, your dog might get an upset stomach, or cardiovascular problems or even seizures depending on the chocolate they took in.

Does Chocolate Kill Dogs?

The simplest answer to this question is No.

But that doesn’t mean we recommend even the safest dosages of chocolates to your dog.

There are a lot of factors that play a role in making chocolate fatal for your dog. As long as your dog has had very little amounts of theobromine (by mistake), he should be fine.

But if your dog had eaten a whole bar of chocolate, then you better act quick. We are not sure of sudden death, but the poor thing is going to face a lot of health issues even if you manage to save his life on time.

Some of those side effects/discomforts are upset stomach (with vomiting and diarrhea), Irritations, Palpitations, Sweating, and also increased heart rates. Seizures are also a possibility.

Final Note

The next time you plan to devour some chocolates, keep it well hidden from your dogs.

If your dog sees you eating it, he’ll probably want it too. So be careful there.

The most important thing to note here is not to panic. Has he eaten some chocolate? See what kind of chocolate that is.

Is it White chocolate, Milk chocolate or Dark chocolate? Then act accordingly.

Always remember to contact your vet if you are not sure what to do or how to proceed. It is the safest route of all, especially when dealing with potential toxicity as in this case.

We hope this post have given you enough information on the topic of chocolates and dogs.

Did you find this useful? Let us know if you did. Also, ask us any questions using the comments section below!

Featured photo credit: belchonock/depositphotos

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