Chocolate and Dogs – Being safe with chocolate

There is nothing quite like a chocolate splurge at this time of year. You may have a desire to share your favourite treat with an eager onlooker (a.k.a furbaby) but think twice and reach for a dog treat instead because chocolate and dogs don’t always mix.

Different Types of Chocolate

Chocolate is made from the beans of the tropical Cacao tree. Beans are roasted, ground, pressed (which removes the oil of the seed, the cocoa butter that is used in sunscreens, white chocolate, and cosmetics, among other things), and tempered to create an exact consistency. Many different types of chocolate products are produced from this one magic bean:

Chocolate danger # 1

Sharing is not always caring… far as pets are concerned, the first potential problem with chocolate is the fat. A sudden high fat meal can create a potentially lethal metabolic disease in dogs called pancreatitis.  Vomiting, diarrhoea, and severe abdominal pain are just some of the worrying signs of disease. In pancreatitis, it is the fat that causes the problem more than the chocolate itself.

Chocolate danger # 2

The most common chocolate ingestion danger, the fat and sugar in the chocolate cause an unpleasant but temporary upset stomach.

Chocolate danger # 3

Chocolate is directly toxic to dogs because of the theobromine. The more chocolate liquor there is in a product, the more theobromine there is. Therefore, this makes baking chocolate the worst for pets, followed by semisweet and dark chocolate, followed by milk chocolate, followed by chocolate flavoured cakes or cookies. Theobromine causes some nasty signs including:

Toxic doses of theobromine will vary depending on what type of chocolate has been ingested.

It takes nearly four days for the effects of chocolate to work its way out of a dog’s system. If just eaten, your veterinarian may be able to induce vomiting; if not, hospitalisation and support are needed. Certainly, where there is uncertainty if the amount was toxic call the clinic. In order to answer such questions, please be ready with these details:  pet’s weight, the type of chocolate, and the amount of chocolate. Below is a chocolate calculator that can help you determine whether your dog has ingested a toxic amount (your regular or emergency veterinarian is your local authority and can help):

Chocolate calculator


Be safe with chocolate this Easter…….reach for a dog safe treat.


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