Why Is Chocolate Toxic to Dogs?


We all know the common wisdom to keep chocolate away from dogs, but why exactly is it the Golden Rule? As much as your pup might love the opportunity to steal your candy bar, it’s important to understand the dangers that chocolate poses to dogs of all breeds and ages.

Chocolate Contains a Chemical Called Theobromine

There’s a logical reason that you love eating chocolate so much: it contains theobromine, a chemical that stimulates the heart, dilates the blood vessels, and relaxes the muscles. Some chocolate also contains caffeine, which has the same effects. 

Humans enjoy the effects of theobromine, but dogs cannot metabolize this chemical the same way. Animals are more sensitive to the effects of theobromine and may exhibit serious side effects if they eat too much chocolate at one time. 

Is Chocolate Toxic or Deadly for Dogs?

Chocolate is toxic for dogs, especially dark and bitter varieties. Baking chocolate and gourmet dark chocolate contain higher quantities of theobromine per ounce. For example, pure dark chocolate might contain 450 mg of theobromine per ounce, while basic milk chocolate only contains about 44 mg per ounce. 

A 50-pound dog only needs to eat nine ounces of milk chocolate to show signs of chocolate poisoning- or just one ounce of baker’s chocolate! This is rarely fatal but can be in significantly large amounts of dark chocolate.

Signs of Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs

Other than chocolate around his mouth, you can identify signs of chocolate poisoning in your dog from these symptoms:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Agitation
  • Drooling and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Tremors, twitching, and seizures

How to Respond to Chocolate Poisoning In Your Pet

If your furry friend gets ahold of too much chocolate, take action as soon as you discover the problem. Clinical signs may take hours to develop and often last for days. Head to an emergency vet like Pet Urgent Care of Wesley Chapel.

Our compassionate vets at Pet Urgent Care are here for your pet when they need us the most! Call (813) 279-6500 now to learn more about our urgent care facility and treatments for your pet’s immediate needs.