Can dogs eat chocolate? What to do if your dog eats it?

Posted by Lori Marsh on Feb 24th 2022

Can dogs eat chocolate? What to do if your dog eats it?

Chocolate is a delicious and sweet treat, but it can be dangerous to dogs. Dogs don't have the ability or necessary enzymes in their stomachs to break down chocolate like humans do, which means that they cannot process it properly. But with almost every household having some form of chocolate in their house, how dangerous is it really to your furry best friend.

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A Chocolate lab laying on a bed.

What Does Chocolate Do to Dogs?

Theobromine and caffeine are poisonous to dogs, as chocolate contains these compounds. Humans can efficiently metabolize these. However, dogs can't process these compounds. Theobromine is slowly absorbed by dogs, allowing harmful chemicals to accumulate in their bodies and produce serious side effects similar to chocolate poisoning.

However, not all chocolate is the same. Just like we use chocolate chips for cookies and baking powder for cakes, the toxicity can be different depending on the type of chocolate. The higher the cacao strength, the more dangerous the chocolate is. That is why a dog can often ingest small amounts of milk chocolate and not show any side effects.

Can Chocolate Kill Dogs?

Yes and no. Can chocolate kill dogs? It can if your pup eats enough of it or if it's very rich chocolate, yes it can lead to death in dogs. However, death isn't commonly caused by chocolate consumption.

Depending on the cocoa percentage of the chocolate and your dog's size, you may see very different effects. For example, if a large Great Dane eats a single chocolate chip cookie, most likely, the dog will be fine. However, if a small toy-sized dog eats a bar of 90% dark chocolate, it could be life-threatening.

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Chocolate bean pods that are toxic to dogs.

Can Dogs Eat White Chocolate?

Because white chocolate lacks cacao, this is considered safe for dogs. However, that doesn't mean that you should give it to your dog. The high fat and milk content of white chocolate can easily make your pup sick or upset their stomachs.

If your pup accidentally eats a small amount, just keep an eye on them for the next few hours. However, if your furry best friend eats a large amount, you may want to call your vet just to be safe.

How much chocolate is bad for dogs?

Different amounts of chocolate can be harmful to dogs, depending on the type of chocolate. For example, milk chocolate is less harmful than dark chocolate. In reality, no amount is ever considered safe.

For the safest treat for your pup check out all of Barking Buddha’s chews.

What to do if Your Dog Eats Chocolate?

If your dog eats chocolate, you should call your veterinarian. The veterinarian may tell you to bring your dog in for an examination, or they may give you advice over the phone. Regardless, you should always consult a veterinarian if your dog has eaten chocolate.

If you are unsure if your dog consumed chocolate or not, just be sure to look for signs of toxicity.

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy

A dog wrapped up in a blanket

How to Keep Your Dog Safe Around Chocolate?

The best way to keep your dog safe is to avoid letting them have chocolate in the first place. But dogs are notoriously similar to toddlers when it comes to not getting into things, and however, that's not always the case.

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How Much Chocolate is Poisonous to Dogs?

Chocolate toxicity can cause mild symptoms in dogs when they eat 20 mg of methylxanthines per kilogram of their weight. Severe symptoms, such as seizures, usually happen when a dog eats more than 60 mg/kg of chocolate.

These are overall estimates, and factors like breed, health, and medical conditions can all alter the amount of chocolate your dog can consume before it becomes critical.

What are the Signs of Chocolate Poisoning?

Some common side effects of chocolate poisoning in dogs is vomiting, diarrhea, and weakness, and other signs include panting, increased heart rate, seizures, and death. If you notice any of these signs in your dog after they've eaten chocolate, you should call your veterinarian immediately.

Chunks of Chocolate

How much chocolate can a dog eat?

Chocolate is a dangerous substance for dogs to consume, as it can cause serious side effects depending on the type of chocolate. Milk chocolate is less harmful than dark chocolate, but no amount of chocolate is considered safe for dogs. If your dog eats chocolate, you should call your veterinarian immediately.

How to Tell if My Dog Ate Chocolate?

Sometimes it can be hard to tell if your dog has eaten chocolate. However, keep an eye out for some of the following symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, panting, increased heart rate, or seizures. If your dog shows any of these symptoms, you should call your veterinarian immediately.

Safe Chocolate Alternatives for Dogs

Carob is a safe alternative for dogs as it does not contain chocolate's harmful chemicals. This means that if your dog eats carob, they will not experience any of the adverse side effects of eating chocolate.

Because carob is a great source of fiber and protein, making it a healthy snack for dogs. Carob has no theobromine; it's also caffeine-free, formamide-free, and phenylethylamine-free. Furthermore, carob, much like chocolate, is a naturally sweet flavor that also includes several health-boosting minerals such as vitamins A, B, and D and calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium.

For another natural way to treat your dog, Barking Buddha Beef Cheek chips are the perfect, natural, and safe chew toy that dogs love. Shop today.

Final Thoughts

Dogs should never have chocolate, especially dark chocolate. If your furry best friend does happen to eat some of this sweet treat, you may need to call your vet just to be safe. At the very least, keep an eye on them for signs of toxicity.

More than likely, if they eat a large amount, they will need medical attention. Once in a while, you can offer them a carob treat. Carob also provides fiber and protein, making it healthy for our canine companions too!