Chocolate is a beloved treat for people all around the world, offering a seemingly endless range of possibilities for flavor and texture. From sweet, creamy candy to rich, decadent pastries, chocolate can be found in a variety of foods and desserts. While humans can enjoy the sweet taste of chocolate, it can be deadly for dogs. There are ingredients in chocolate that are toxic to dogs. Therefore, it is important to keep chocolate away from our furry friends.  

Why is Chocolate Toxic to Dogs? 

Chocolate can be a significant hazard to dogs due to its high concentration of theobromine and caffeine. These chemicals are not easily metabolized by dogs, which can lead to an increase in cortisol levels in the body. This elevated cortisol can cause hypertension, seizures, and even death. It is vital to be aware that the darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains. This is due to the fact that dark chocolate is less processed and has a higher proportion of cocoa solids, which is why it also has a less sweet taste. Don’t write off white chocolate, though. The high fat and sugar content can cause vomiting and stomach upset as well.  

Clinical Signs of Chocolate Poisoning 

The type of chocolate and the quantity consumed will determine the severity of the poisoning. Generally, you will notice some, if not all, of the following signs: 

  • Tremors in the muscles and limbs 
  • Seizures 
  • Irregular heartbeats 
  • Agitation/restlessness 
  • Increased heart rate 

Treatment for Chocolate Poisoning  

It is possible that a dog poisoned by chocolate won’t exhibit any symptoms until six hours after ingestion. At this point, theobromine has already built up in the bloodstream. Early detection may be crucial to your pet’s survival, so if you think or know your dog ate chocolate, call Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 and take your dog to a veterinarian or animal hospital straight away. Possible treatment provided by your vet may include administering heart medication to improve blood pressure and hypertension, antacid to assuage stomach discomfort and diarrhea, activated charcoal to stop further absorption, and IV fluids to keep your dog hydrated.