5 Reasons Why Chocolate Is Bad for Dogs

By guest blogger, Andrew Guerra

A dog who enjoys eating chocolate looks pretty cute, doesn’t it? However, this situation can be health-hazardous. Many dog owners mistakenly assume that chocolate can be used as a reward. Certainly, your dog will gladly eat chocolate, but what will be the consequences? Chocolate for dogs is not only harmful but sometimes very dangerous.

Experts state that chocolate is toxic to dogs because it contains substances known as methylxanthines, specifically caffeine and theobromine. Dogs metabolize or break down, theobromine much slower than humans. Eventually, this can result in pancreatitis in dogs. 

Thus, chocolate is one of the foods that dogs should not eat, and below there are five reasons why.

  • Chocolate contains theobromine

Theobromine is a bitter alkaloid. Alkaloids are nitrogen-rich organic substances. Theobromine is mainly obtained from cocoa beans, but it is also found in cola nuts and trees of the Holly family. Small amounts of theobromine are found in tea tree leaves and coffee beans. Dogs do not metabolize theobromine as efficiently and quickly as humans, so they are more sensitive to these chemicals. Besides, chocolate contains caffeine, which is also toxic to dogs. This chemical is equally toxic to cats.

  • Different types of chocolate contain different amounts of toxic substances

Thus, dark chocolate contains the highest level of theobromine, and milk chocolate contains less theobromine. Here is a table of product types and the amount of toxic substances contained.

Product Theobromine Caffeine
Cocoa beans 300-1500 mg/oz
Dry cocoa powder 400-737 mg/oz 70 mg/oz
Unsweetened baker’s chocolate 390-450 mg/oz 47 mg/oz
Dark semisweet chocolate 135 mg/oz 20 mg/oz
Milk chocolate 44-60 mg/oz 6 mg/oz
  • Substances contained in chocolate (theobromine and caffeine) negatively affect all vital systems of the dog

All vital systems of the dog suffer from the consumption of chocolate. For example, caffeine can cause overstimulation, increased blood pressure, and increased heart rate. Also, according to veterinarians, theobromine negatively affects the functioning of the intestines, heart, and kidneys of the animal, as well as the nervous system.

  • An allergic reaction to chocolate can be severe

Symptoms of canine chocolate poisoning include vomiting (sometimes with blood), diarrhea, anxiety and hyperactivity, tachycardia, increased blood pressure, increased body temperature, frequent urination, muscle tension, coordination problems, and coma.

  • The amount of chocolate eaten plays an important role

100-150 mg of theobromine per 1 kg of body weight can lead to tragic consequences. For instance, for a 15 kg dog, the dangerous amount of theobromine is 1500-2250 mg.

What to Do If Your Dog Ate Chocolate?

If your dog has eaten chocolate, take your dog to the vet, even if you think your pet has eaten a small amount, or it will not affect your dog’s health. Be sure to pay attention to how much chocolate the dog ate, its type, and when it was consumed. If no more than 3 hours have passed since the consumption of chocolate, then the vet will prescribe gastric lavage and the intake of sorbents to cleanse the body. Also, in some cases, symptomatic medications (fever pills or pills to lower blood pressure) are needed.


Thus, chocolate harms the cardiovascular system, nervous system, and digestive system. If you want your dog to be healthy and live a fulfilling life, then choose the right food for their breed, be sure to consult your veterinarian on dog treat options, and provide your pet with a balanced diet.

For more great dog-related resources, including dog-training consulting services, set aside some time to spot by Acme Canine.

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