Can dogs eat chocolate?

19 January 2021

In this article, find out everything you need to know about dogs and chocolate, and how to keep your furry friend healthy for a long time!

White small dog looking at a piece of chocolate - dog and chocolate dangers

Ahh, chocolate. If you’re like most people, it’s probably one of your favorite foods to eat. And why not? Chocolate is delicious and harmless for humans. But can dogs eat chocolate too? Absolutely not – chocolate can be deadly for our furry friends! So find out everything you need to know about chocolate poisoning in dogs and what to do in case your dog eats chocolate. And while you’re here, learn more about common foods that are actually toxic to dogs or the number one way to keep your dog safe

Can dogs eat chocolate?

In short, no – it is not safe to feed your dog chocolate under any circumstances. If your dog eats chocolate, they may suffer potentially fatal consequences – so be sure to keep all chocolate away from your dog. 

Why can’t dogs eat chocolate?

The reason why dogs can’t eat chocolate is because it contain substances that are toxic to dogs if ingested. Specifically, chocolate contains theobromine, a natural substance found in the cocoa bean. Theobromine is not pretty much harmless for us humans. We would have to eat an extremely high dose of chocolate (no, that’s not a challenge!) and even then, we would only get a mild poisoning . For dogs, however, it is easier to eat enough chocolate to get poisoned.

How much chocolate can a dog eat?

Again, the amount of chocolate your dog eats should ideally be zero. If somehow, your dog does manage to eat chocolate, a small amount (like a bite of your cookie) may not be dangerous or fatal. It all depends on the following factors:

  • type of chocolate
  • how much they’ve had to eat
  • your dog’s size

Dark chocolate, cocoa and baking chocolate contain the highest levels of theobromine, the substance which is toxic to dogs. So even just a small amount of these chocolates could seriously poison your dog. White chocolate and milk chocolate, meanwhile, contain a smaller amount of theobromine and therefore may be less toxic. Even so, they are not safe to feed your dog under any circumstances. 

Less than one ounce of dark chocolate could be enough to poison a 44 pound dog, according to Hills Pet.

What happens if a dog eats chocolate?

As we mentioned, chocolate poisoning in dogs could potentially be fatal – your favorite sweet could actually kill your dog. Understandably, this is any dog lover’s worst nightmare, so teasing your dog with chocolate is not a good idea. If your dog eats chocolate, they may suffer the following consequences:

  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritability
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Urination
  • Muscle tremors
  • Seizures
  • Death

If your dog has any of the above symptoms, you need to take immediate action to protect the life of your canine pal. Here’s how.

What to do if your dog eats chocolate 

📞 Call the vet immediately if you suspect that your dog has eaten chocolate. In the United States you can also call the Pet Poison Helpline at (855-213-6680). 

🍫 Save the packaging of the chocolate your dog ate so that your vet will best know how to treat your dog given the circumstances.

🚑 Go to the vet as soon as possible if you know your dog has eaten chocolate or displays any of the serious symptoms listed above. Especially if they ate a large amount of chocolate, or very dark chocolate (with a high theobromine content).

Your veterinarian may induce vomiting in your dog to get it out of their system, as well as give your dog activated charcoal, which can stop the intake of theobromine in the blood. Act fast – your dog should be treated for chocolate poisoning as soon as possible to ensure the best possible recovery. More serious treatment and overnight care may be required in severe cases.

Dog getting checked out by female veterinarian in white lab coat - can dogs eat chocolate?

How can I protect my dog from chocolate dangers?

Dogs, like us, are drawn to sweets and will probably want to eat anything you are eating. Since dogs will likely eat chocolate if given the opportunity, it’s important to make sure your dog never comes into contact with chocolate.

Here are some tips to ensure your dog will stay away from chocolate:

  • Make sure all adults who come into contact with your dog know the dangers of chocolate for dogs.
  • Keep chocolate out of reach – for example, store it in high cabinets. 
  • Use a baby-gate to keep your dog out of the kitchen and eating areas.
  • Supervise children when they are around the dog, and teach them that feeding the dog chocolate is a no-no.
  • Train your dog to obey the ‘leave it’ command.

Whether you’re enjoying chocolate for a special occasion or on just a normal day – remember that chocolate is a great danger for dogs. Keep your puppy safe by keeping chocolate goodies out of reach, and protect your furry friend!


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