Every pet owner wants to reward their sweet dog with a sweet treat, right? Before feeding your dog sweets, research needs to be done to find out if it is safe. Within your research you may stumble across the question, “will chocolate hurt dogs”? The short and simple answer is YES. 


Why is Chocolate Harmful for Dogs? 

Chocolate contains theobromine, a stimulant that is poisonous to dogs. Caffeine and theobromine boost heart rate in dogs, and this may lead to nervous system overstimulation. Theobromine is hazardous to dogs beyond a specific weight threshold since canines cannot break down or metabolize it as effectively as humans can. A key point to remember is that the darker the chocolate the more dangerous, because it contains larger amounts of theobromine.  


Can Chocolate Kill My Dog? 

Unfortunately, it is a possibility. However, chocolate poisoning-related deaths in dogs are not common. While it is infrequent, that does not mean that the risk goes away. You need to be attentive and aware of what your dog is ingesting because eating chocolate can make your dog incredibly sick.  


What are the Clinical Signs of Chocolate Poisoning? 

Chocolate poisoning comes down to the amount of chocolate your dog ate. If your dog just ate one small cookie, then chocolate poisoning is unlikely. But if your dog consumed a large amount, the possible symptoms of poisoning could be visible after 6 to 12 hours of intake. They can worsen and linger for up to 3 days. These are some signs to look for: 


  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Frequent urination 
  • Shivering & tremors 
  • Increased or abnormal heart rate 
  • Seizures & collapse


What to Do if Your Dog Eats Chocolate

Immediately contact a veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline®. They can help determine the severity of the poisoning. Depending on your dog’s size, the veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline® will suggest that you keep an eye on your pet for any signs of poisoning or may ask that you bring your pet into the clinic right away. The veterinarian might induce vomiting if there are strong indications of chocolate poisoning. A dosage of activated charcoal may be administered to remove the toxins before they are absorbed into the bloodstream. Veterinarians may deliver medications and IV fluids in severe instances of poisoning.


Ways to Prevent Chocolate Poisoning

You can avoid this risk in the future by taking proactive measures. It is important to keep your dog away from cocoa products and chocolate. Put them away where your dog cannot reach them. Do not feed your dog chocolate.


If you fear your dog may be experiencing chocolate poisoning contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 immediately.