Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs

An overview of the dangers of chocolate to dogs

Most of us know that chocolate isn’t good for our pets. But do we know why? The toxic ingredient in chocolate is a bitter-tasting stimulant called theobromine. It’s naturally found in cacao beans from which chocolate is derived.

So what makes chocolate toxic to our pets but not to us? Chocolate is directly toxic because of the theobromine. Dogs process theobromine much more slowly than humans do, therefore they are at higher risk of poisoning.

Signs of toxicity from theobromine include:












Racing heart rhythm


Death in severe cases

If your pet has, or you suspect your pet has, ingested chocolate give your vet a call to see if treatment is required or not. It will assist your vet if you can tell them how much chocolate your dog has eaten, when your dog ate the chocolate and what type of chocolate it was; wrappers and packaging can be very useful here! This will enable them to work out whether your dog has eaten a toxic dose and what treatment they’re likely to need. It will also help if you can provide an estimate of how heavy your dog is.

It takes nearly four days for the effects of chocolate to work its way out of a dog’s system. If the chocolate was only just eaten, it is possible that your vet might be able to make your dog vomit, otherwise a stay at the vets and support are needed until the chocolate has worked its way out of their system.

Try to prevent your dog from getting hold of chocolate wherever possible, especially around times such as easter and Christmas. See our top picks for dog friendly treats as an alternative to chocolate!

“The more cocoa mass there is in a product, the more theobromine there is; darker, purer chocolate tends to have the highest levels but it’s also found in milk and white chocolate.”
Fetch Picks