Dog, What’s in chocolate that kills dogs?  

Do you know why dog training is important? Not only will it make your life easier and your bond with your dog stronger but putting in the effort to train and discipline your dog will actually help save its life. Dog owners consider their pet dogs as children. Without trying, pet owners give more or less the same amount of love and attention to their dogs just like how they love and care for their own children. Protecting their pets is one way of showing their love. If you love your pet, you will spend time, effort, energy, and possibly money on dog training. Why? Dog training keeps your dog safe and protected. Generally, dogs don’t know what’s bad for them unless you warn them. Without training, dogs can ingest anything they fancy including hazardous things.

When you think of poison images of bleach, alcohol, and detergents will come to mind. The last thing you’d think of is chocolate, right? But do you know that chocolate is bad for your dog? If you have a sweet tooth better make sure you hide your chocolates in your secret stash. Either that or you train your dog not to eat it. What do you think is going to happen to your dog if it starts ingesting chocolate? Why is chocolate toxic to your dog? Let’s find out.

Most of the calls received by Pet Poison Helpline are due to chocolate ingestion. Remember, dogs have a heightened sense of smell so even if you keep your chocolate bar in a closed bag or put it away, your dog will find its way to it. If you own a pet, you have to take precautions. As much as possible, put it in a place where they can never reach it.

Why Is Chocolate Toxic For Your Dog?

The very reason why this sweet indulgent treat is bad for your dog is that it contains substances that are safe for humans but not for your pet dogs. These substances are theobromine, caffeine, and methylxanthines. When chocolate is ingested, your dog will have a hard time metabolizing theobromine. The toxicity of chocolate will depend on the weight of your dog and the amounts of chocolate it was able to consume. The more bitter and the darker the chocolate, the more harmful it will be for your pet.

Not all chocolates are created the same. Some chocolates have high levels of theobromine while others have much lesser theobromine content. However, if a bar of chocolate contains high amounts of cocoa solids, it simply means more theobromine is present and this can be extremely dangerous. In other words, chocolate and dark chocolate are more hazardous to dogs compared to white chocolate and milk chocolate.

What Are The Signs of Chocolate Toxicity?

The initial symptoms manifested after ingesting chocolate include vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, hyperactivity, agitation, and increases thirst. If the symptoms worsen they can escalate to increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, and heart arrhythmias. In a worst-case scenario, it can lead to tremors or twitching, seizures, muscle rigidity, collapse, cardiac failure, and even death.

How Do You Treat Chocolate Ingestion?

The treatment will depend on the amount of chocolate your dog ingested and the symptoms your pet is manifesting. Dogs that ingested small amounts of chocolate do not require medical treatment. You can treat them at home by inducing vomiting to get rid of the chocolate in their system through activated charcoal. Some are given subcutaneous fluids to remove the toxins through their kidneys. If you are to induce vomiting or if your dog is experiencing diarrhea, hydration is necessary. Dogs that ingested high doses of chocolate should be sent to the hospital immediately before symptoms worsen. In the hospital, dogs will be monitored closely especially their heart’s rhythm and rate and they will be given several doses of activated charcoal as well as IV fluids.


If you have a pet and you have a sweet tooth, you have to make certain sacrifices. Don’t risk your dog’s life by taking chocolate inside your home. You’ll never know if they’ll find it. This will cost them their life.

Nick White is the owner of Off Leash K9 Training. He has over 80 dog training franchise locations throughout the United States. He currently hosts the A&E show, America's Top Dog.

Published by Nick White

Nick White is the owner of Off Leash K9 Training. He has over 80 dog training franchise locations throughout the United States. He currently hosts the A&E show, America's Top Dog.