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Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs… And YES it can be SERIOUS!

If you know anything about dog health, it’s probably that chocolate toxicity in Dogs can be deadly. No, this isn’t some “urban legend”; chocolate can kill your pet! But what does it all mean? Is a single chocolate chip poisonous to dogs? Does chocolate react the same way in all dog breeds? How much chocolate are we talking about? A chocolate “chip”? Or a whole candy bar?

Well, if you’re like most people…

You probably know that chocolate is wrong, but beyond that, you’re probably a bit “fuzzy” about the details. This is why, in this article, we wanted to shed some light on this issue so that if your pet ever does get his paws on some chocolate, you’ll be better informed on what to do.

So, without further ado, let’s begin our discussion by answering some of the questions we often hear from folks wondering about chocolate toxicity or chocolate poisoning in dogs.

Does chocolate result in a form of poisoning in dogs?

Yes, chocolate poisoning in dogs is actual. But the good news is that it’s not as “deadly” as most folks think. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take chocolate toxicity seriously because you should!


You should be worried whenever your dog consumes anything that it shouldn’t, be that a shoe, a child’s toy, or even a tiny piece of chocolate. The only difference is that when it comes to chocolate toxicity, several factors will come into play before we know just how serious their situation may become.

So, what makes chocolate poisonous?

When it comes to chocolate, it causes a problem for dogs because it contains two different ingredients or “chemicals” that dogs can’t handle well. The first is caffeine, which, like in humans, acts as a stimulant; only if a dog metabolizes that it is less “equipped” to handle this chemical can lead to more “exaggerated” symptoms, leading to potential medical issues. But of the two potentially harmful ingredients found in chocolate, caffeine is the less “potentially” deadly. The genuine concern most veterinarians have when a dog consumes chocolate is how much theobromine is consumed.


It is another stimulant; however, it seems to have a much more POWERFUL effect on a dog’s nervous and cardiovascular system and can even affect its gastrointestinal tract.

Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs

Chocolate toxicity can present a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (both or either)
  • muscle tremors
  • increased urination
  • seizures
  • restlessness
  • increased thirst
  • panting

As well as general “irritability”. The problem is that, in most cases, it’s challenging to know just how much (if any) chocolate was consumed by your pet. After all, it’s not like you can ask them! Determining whether your dog is at risk for a “fatal” exposure is challenging.


Even if your dog isn’t exhibiting any “signs” of exposure, it’s essential to understand that your dog’s body will take a few hours to absorb and process the chocolate before any symptoms may arise. This is why if your dog ate chocolate just now, as a safety precaution, we here at IndulgeYourPet always advise our readers to reach out to their local veterinarian immediately so that they can have a professional observe their symptoms.

Because it’s essential to…

Remember that your local veterinarian “operates” on the “front lines” when dealing with chocolate toxicity; they are much better at recognizing which cases can become medical emergencies. They’re also much more likely to understand better the “toxicity” of a particular “type” of chocolate. As any chocolate lover can tell you, there are plenty of different “types” of chocolates. Each of these will have an extra level of caffeine and theobromine within them.

For example:  

  • Baker’s chocolate will typically be considered more potent to a dog and, thus, more poisonous for your dog than other types of chocolate.
  • Gourmet dark chocolate may suit humans, but it’s terrible for your dog (or cat). This is also a high-risk chocolate.
  • Cocoa Powder is also pretty dangerous for your dog or cat, particularly given how easy it is to “spill” this type on the floor!
  • Milk chocolate doesn’t have as much bad stuff, but it can become dangerous if your dog has eaten a lot.

Other products like…

  • Chocolate ice cream,
  • Chocolate doughnuts,
  • Commercially prepared cookies,

And other things that may be more sugar and less real chocolate aren’t urgently dangerous for a dog. Of course, you should not be feeding your pup this stuff, but if he gets ahold of a little, he’ll PROBABLY be okay. You’ll still want to keep an eye on them, and it never hurts to call your Vet just to be sure!

Other factors that will come into play will include:

Your dog’s body weight.

If you have a 10-pound dog who ate three mini chocolate bars (even if they’re milk), you’ll have a problem that you’ll want your Vet to watch. In cases like these, you might as well pack up the car because chances are you’ll need to go to the Vet anyway, so why wait till symptoms arise?

But, if you have…

A 140-pound dog who ate the same amount of chocolate might survive the whole incident with a bit of diarrhea and nothing else substantial (but you should always keep a close eye on your dog after ANY chocolate consumption just to be safe). Plus, you should still call your Vet because in cases like these, most vets will probably keep them for observation, which isn’t going to “break” the bank. If any “serious” issues arise, you’ll know your loved one is in the best place to receive the care they need.

How much chocolate your dog consumes is essential.

If you aren’t sure if you left a whole chocolate bar out or it was just half an ounce, then we recommend you “err” on the side of safety. You love your pets and want the best for them, so you might as well head over to the clinic if there is any doubt.

But, if you saw Max (a 60-pound Rotweiller) eat half of a mini chocolate chip cookie, chances are he’ll be fine; keep an eye on him, and if he starts displaying symptoms, get him to the Vet.

Treatment of Chocolate Toxicity

Treatment for chocolate toxicity depends on the severity of the toxicity. It usually focuses on treating any “symptoms” and physically pumping your dog’s stomach to rid them of any chocolate consumed. In theory, if your dog eats enough chocolate, it could go into cardiac arrest, in which case you or your Vet may need CPR.

Or your pet could begin suffering from seizures or muscle tremors, in which case you or your Vet will want to make sure they are in a safe place away from harmful objects. In cases like these, we should state the obvious, but here goes…

“Get to your vet ASAP.”

In these situations, your Vet may need to pump your dog’s stomach or administer activated charcoal to help reduce toxicity within your pet’s system.

They may also…

Advise you over the phone your Vet may ask you to get your pet to vomit. But again, this is something only a licensed and certified veterinarian should recommend and not something you should attempt on your own because you think it might help.

Which brings us…

To a critical point, none of the folks here at IndugleYourPet are doctors, veterinarians, or medical professionals. We are all a bunch of folks who care about animals and only wish the best for you and your pet. So, if you believe your dog may have consumed chocolate or suffer from chocolate toxicity…


And call your Vet!

But if you are just wondering what would happen if your dog got their paws on some chocolate, let us give you this last piece of advice.

In this article…

You may have noticed that we here at IndulgeYourPet tend to be cautious when discussing an animal’s health. It’s probably why our motto is…

“when in doubt, have a vet check it out!”

And while we know that visiting a vet can be expensive at times, this “cost” is nothing compared to the “cost” incurred by losing a loved one when it could have been avoidable. Seeing how few of us have money to burn, we encourage you to look at our article:  Best Pet Insurance Companies, highlighting some pros and cons of owning a pet insurance policy.

Because who knows…

One day, your dog might have a severe medical emergency, so owning a policy like one of these could significantly reduce your out-of-pocket costs.

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