Is Chocolate Bad For Dogs?

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dog staring at chocolate bar. Is chocolate bad for dogs?

Among dog lovers, you will likely hear one question more often than any other.

Is chocolate bad for dogs?

Many dogs enjoy the taste of sweets, but chocolate intended for people is toxic for dogs.

So, yes.

Chocolate is bad for dogs.

Even a few pieces can be very toxic, so keep chocolate away from your pet.


Dogs find it very difficult to digest cocoa, especially psychoactive theobromine and caffeine.

Theobromine poisoning in a dog can be life-threatening.

Less than 100 grams of cooking chocolate eaten by a medium-sized dog can be fatal.

Why Is Chocolate Bad for Dogs?

Chocolate contains substances known as methylxanthines (especially caffeine and theobromine) to which dogs are much more sensitive than humans.

Different types of chocolate contain different doses of methylxanthine.

Namely, the darker or bitterer the chocolate, the more dangerous it is for the dog.

For example, a cup of chocolate milk can make a dog weighing 50 pounds sick.

When they eat chocolate, dogs experience violent reactions due to the toxic effects of theobromine.

Chocolate toxicity varies depending on a few things:

  • The type of chocolate (milk chocolate has a lower dose of theobromine than dark chocolate, and cooking chocolate has a particularly concentrated dose),
  • The size of your dog,
  • and whether the dog has pre-existing health problems (such as heart and central nervous system problems). [1]

Reactions can range from mild stomach problems, all the way to heart failure and even death.

If your dog eats chocolate, it may become extremely thirsty, get diarrhea, and become hyperactive.

If things get really bad, that hyperactivity can turn into seizures that go beyond arrhythmia and heart attack.

Why is chocolate not toxic to humans?

Although humans are omnivores like dogs, they can digest methylxanthines like theobromine much more efficiently than dogs.

What to do if my dog eats chocolate?

If your dog has swallowed chocolate, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Remember, there are fewer consequences and a better prognosis if you act as soon as possible.

We advise you to take your dog to the vet within a maximum of two hours.

Theobromine is very slowly broken down, so your veterinarian can pump your dog’s stomach if you react as quickly as possible. [2]

Problems appear 4-5 hours after ingestion.

Pumping your dog’s stomach is the first thing to be done and further therapy includes giving activated charcoal that will stop further absorption of theobromine.

Also, you can use dietary supplements to regulate digestion and boost immunity to help your pet recover faster and easier.

So, if your dog has eaten chocolate, take it seriously and visit a vet immediately.

Worrying symptoms and signs of chocolate poisoning

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Trembling of the whole body
  • Hyperactivity with frequent urination
  • Muscle contraction
  • Rapid breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Low-pressure
  • Seizures
  • Additional symptoms: heart failure, nausea, coma

While every dog will get sick, a small, older or unhealthy dog will not be able to cope with the toxic effects as a young and completely healthy dog would.

Foods with the most theobromine

  • Cocoa powder
  • Cooking chocolate
  • Chocolate pudding
  • Chocolate dessert
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Chocolate candies

Types of chocolate and how toxic is for your dog

Methylxanthine concentration in chocolate food items. Is chocolate bad for dogs infographic.

Milk chocolate

Although it doesn’t have the highest percentage of theobromine, milk chocolate is still very poisonous for dogs.

About a pound of milk chocolate is enough to kill a dog weighing 25 pounds.

Cooking chocolate

About six grams of this chocolate per kilogram of body weight can be deadly.

Two bars of cooking chocolate can lead to the poisoning of a twenty-pound dog (9kg), and even one bar can be dangerous for small dogs.


About 17 grams of cocoa per kilogram of dog weight can be harmful.

So, a twenty-pound dog can get poisoned if it eats about 150 grams of sweet cocoa.

White chocolate

White chocolate is not nearly as dangerous as dark and milk chocolate.

This type of chocolate is made from cocoa butter, which doesn’t contain the same dangerous amount of theobromine, and is, therefore, the least toxic.

It would take a lot of white chocolate to poison a dog.

However, large quantities of fat and sugar in white chocolate can be very harmful to a dog’s pancreas.

Dark chocolate

This type of chocolate is the most dangerous for dogs.

It has 3-10 times more theobromine than milk chocolate.

How much chocolate can kill a dog?

In general, about ten grams of milk chocolate per kilogram of body weight can be deadly.

So, about 400 grams of chocolate is toxic for a 22 pounds (10 kg) dog, and about 200 grams for an 11 pounds (5 kg) dog.

Various chocolates contain between 60 and 90 grams of milk chocolate.

If a twenty-pound (about 10 kg) dog eats 2 or 3 chocolates it can be poisoned.

Even the less sweetened ones have the same level of toxicity.

Is chocolate bad for dogs – bottom line:

Yes, yes, and yes!

Chocolate is one of the foods your dog should never eat.

Don’t get tempted to give your dog a piece of chocolate even though it looks at you with its sad cute eyes because that can have fatal consequences for your dog.

Chocolate contains a high percentage of fats, caffeine, and theobromine, which cause increased urine output and increased heart rate.

White chocolate causes nervous problems in dogs, as well as milk and cooking chocolate.

Chocolate and sweets can cause poisoning, diarrhea, and vomiting in dogs.

Eating chocolate will probably end up as a veterinary treatment for your dog.

If your dog eats chocolate and has the symptoms we listed, rush to the vet because every minute counts.

Explain to the vet what your dog ate, when, and how much, because that will help the vet save your dog.

Failure to treat chocolate poisoning can be fatal.

No matter how much you love your dog, don’t give it the sweets you eat.

Go to pet stores and buy chocolate, cookies, and sweets that are made especially for your dog.

Your dog will be grateful, satisfied, and above all healthy.

However, you should not exaggerate with dog sweets either, because they contain a larger amount of protein, so this can lead to overweight in dogs.

Be moderate.

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Cliff is the co-founder and chief editor at He and his Yorkie Boza are always together - even at work. Cliff is a passionate dog lover and has 15+ years of experience in dog training. His mission is to provide the best dog feeding tips that help dogs live longer and happier.

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