Can Dogs Eat Chocolate?

If you’re wondering whether dogs can eat chocolate, it’s a good thing you looked up the answer because chocolate can kill dogs. In fact, chocolate is one of the most poisonous and harmful human foods for dogs to have. However, it is important to note that how bad chocolate is for dogs really depends on the type of chocolate, the amount consumed, and your dog’s size and weight. While large dogs may be able to have more chocolate than small dogs before experiencing toxicity, we highly recommend you steer away from giving your dog any cocoa products to begin with.

From seizures to internal bleeding to heart attacks, a lot of bad things happen if you give a dog chocolate. Below, we’ll discuss ow much chocolate can kill a dog, why dogs can’t have chocolate and what to do if your pet has consumed some.

Can Dogs Eat Chocolate

Why Is Chocolate Bad For Dogs?

While most owners know that chocolate is toxic to dogs and can kill their pet, generally speaking, most don’t know why chocolate is bad. The dangerous part of chocolate is called theobromine, and while humans can easily process it, dogs can’t. This slowness is what allows the theobromine to build up in their systems and potentially kill dogs.

Theobromine, formerly known as xantheose, is a vasodilator (it widens your blood vessels), diuretic (makes you pee), and heart stimulant. Along with caffeine, which is also found in chocolate, these ingredients can have negative effects on your dog’s heart, central nervous system, and bodily functions.

For example, chocolate can cause excessive urination resulting in severe dehydration. Some of the other symptoms of chocolate toxicity include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hyperactivity and restlessness
  • Muscle tremors
  • Excessive panting
  • Seizures
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Heart attacks
  • Collapse and death

Moreover, it is worth mentioning that older dogs and canine’s with heart conditions are significantly more at risk of dying from chocolate poisoning.

What Kind of Chocolate Kills Dogs?

Although we don’t recommend you feed your dog any chocolate whatsoever, understanding the relative toxicity of different kinds of chocolates can be helpful in determining how much of a medical emergency consumption is. Here are a few types of chocolate listed in order of most theobromine content to least.

  • Cocoa powder (most toxic)
  • Unsweetened baker’s chocolate
  • Semisweet chocolate
  • Dark chocolate
  • Milk chocolate
  • White chocolate (least toxic)

How Much Chocolate Will Kill A Dog?

Again, how much chocolate can kill a dog is directly related to the size of your pet, although many other factors come into play when figuring out how much will lead to chocolate toxicity. To err on the side of caution, you should avoid letting your dog have chocolate altogether.

However, if your dog accidentally eats some chocolate, you should be aware of the following amounts that can lead to serious harm or even death (depending on the kind of chocolate).

Can Chocolate Kill Dogs

White Chocolate

Many people think it’s OK to give white chocolate to their dogs because “it really isn’t chocolate.” Actually, white chocolate is made from cocoa butter which means it has theobromine. But white chocolate is the least toxic of all of the chocolate products for your dogs.

Generally, white chocolate becomes severely toxic if a dog ingests more than 90 ounces per pound of body weight. Therefore, it’s highly unlikely that your dogs would ever eat enough white chocolate for it to become toxic. Nevertheless, it’s still detrimental to your dog’s health and should be kept away from her.

Milk Chocolate

Milk chocolate is very toxic to dogs and it only takes 2 ounces per pound of body weight to become lethal. This means it would still take a fair amount of milk chocolate to reach toxic levels because a 20 pound dog would have to eat around 1 pound of milk chocolate.

Semi-Sweet Chocolate

No matter how cute they look, don’t give any semi-sweet chocolate chips to your dogs. It only takes about 1/3 ounces per pound of body weight to become toxic for dogs. This means, a 20 pound dog would only need 6 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate to become extremely ill due to chocolate toxicity.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is the most toxic of all the various types of chocolate for dogs. In fact, your dog can become sick from only eating 0.1 ounces of dark chocolate per pound of body weight. In addition, dark chocolate has the most caffeine and theobromine.

What To Do If Your Dog Eats Chocolate

If you think that your dog has eaten any chocolate, you should watch them carefully for signs of poisoning. Look for any of the above-mentioned symptoms, and if they persist for more than an hour, contact your veterinarian to seek immediate treatment. If your small dog eats any decent amount, we recommend calling your vet immediately or trying the Pet Poison Helpline (855-213-6680) for advice.

If possible, you should know how much chocolate was eaten and when. The more information you can provide your vet, the better her chances of recovering from chocolate toxicity without any long-term health effects.

No, Dogs Can’t Eat Chocolate

With so many healthy treats available for dogs and all the negative ways chocolate can affect dogs, there isn’t any reason to feed chocolate to dogs. Also, you shouldn’t give them baked goods that have been made using cocoa, chocolate chips, or any related products and ingredients. Make sure to keep your chocolate treats out of reach at all times to prevent accidents. Lastly, remember that chocolate is also bad for cats, so keep it away from them as well!