Is Chocolate Bad For Dogs?


Can chocolate kill a dog?

First of all, chocolate is a popular big no-no as it contains caffeine and theobromine, which is difficult to digest by dogs. However, for those who may not be aware especially new or potential pet owners, chocolate can definitely kill your dog as your canine friend is unable to consume this sweet treat safely. Having said that, the effects of consuming chocolate on a dog are relatively dependent on its weight, the ingested dose, and the type of chocolate. For example, a small quantity may not be as fatal to a large dog such as a German Shepherd as it is compared to a smaller size dog like a Maltese.

It also depends on the type of chocolate as each of them contains different levels of theobromine which is the main toxin in chocolate and can potentially kill your dog. Dark chocolate, cooking/baking chocolate, and cocoa powder have high concentrations of theobromine. Milk chocolate has the lowest level of toxin while white chocolate does not have theobromine. Nonetheless, it does not mean you should give chocolate to your pets. It is strongly advisable to avoid feeding chocolate to your dog altogether.

Different kinds of chocolate
Chocolate is a sweet treat that can be toxic to dogs

What are the signs of chocolate poisoning for dogs?

Symptoms include vomiting, rapid breathing, lack of coordination/difficulty walking or standing,  and diarrhea. In severe situations, chocolate ingestion can cause seizures or heart failure.

Will the dog be OK after eating chocolate by accident?

But sometimes dogs can consume chocolate without the knowledge of their pet owners. After all, dogs can pick up anything on the floor especially when left unsupervised or they beat you on grabbing that piece of chocolate that you may have dropped. That is why it is crucial to be mindful when eating chocolate in front of dogs. A small amount of chocolate may only cause mild effects to your dog but this can depend on the size of your pet and the type of chocolate ingested. Moreover, a large dose of the chocolate may pose serious complications to your dog and immediate action should be done to ensure the fast recovery of your dog.

Veterinarian examining a labrador
Seek veterinary attention immediately

What are the steps that a pet owner should do?

  1. Immediately contact a veterinarian to get advice no matter the amount of chocolate ingested by your dog.
  2. Record the type of chocolate ingested. Better yet, bring the packet of chocolate with you.

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Any type of chocolate is bad for dogs
By any means, do not feed your dog chocolate

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Always remember to err on the side of caution and avoid giving chocolate to your dog to eat. Make sure chocolate is safely stored and out of reach of dogs. Be on the lookout when eating chocolate around your dog. Or better yet, avoid snacking on the sweet treats when your pet is nearby.

Are there any alternatives for chocolate to give dogs?

Yes, carob is a safe alternative to chocolate. It is non-toxic, 100% natural as well as healthy for dogs. Nutritional benefits include calcium, iron, magnesium, and Vitamin B2.

Carob pods and carob powder
A non-toxic chocolate substitute for dogs

Although the effects of chocolate on the dog vary depending on the dog size, amount, and type of chocolate, generally chocolate is bad for dogs and can kill them if not treated right away. Carob is an alternative that is safer and healthier for dogs to enjoy.