Protect Your Pet: Chocolate Really Can Kill Your Dog

Chocolate really can kill your dog

As the saying goes, “There's nothing better than a best friend, except a best friend with chocolate.” Unfortunately, feeding chocolate to your furry, four-legged best friend is a bad idea. If ingested, chocolate is actually toxic to your dog. Let’s talk about why, which types of chocolate are dangerous, the signs of chocolate toxicity and treatment options for a dog that has eaten chocolate.

The most dangerous chocolates for dogs

The severity of the side effects resulting from eating chocolate depends on the type of chocolate, the amount eaten and the size of your dog. So with smaller pets, for example, it takes less chocolate to cause problems. The following list of chocolate products is ranked from one to seven, with one being the most toxic:

 
  • Cocoa powder
  • Baker’s chocolate
  • Semisweet chocolate
  • Dark chocolate
  • Instant cocoa powder mix
  • Milk chocolate
  • White chocolate


In general, the darker the chocolate, the more theobromine and caffeine it contains. Theobromine and caffeine act as stimulants in your dog, which can cause restlessness and an increased heart rate. If too much is ingested, tremors, seizures, lack of muscle control, collapse, coma and even death can follow. In addition, the fats and sugars contained in chocolate can also wreak havoc on your dog, causing vomiting, diarrhea and inflammation of the pancreas.

Signs of chocolate poisoning

Signs can occur anywhere between 30 minutes to 12 hours after ingestion, generally starting with vomiting and diarrhea, increased thirst, restlessness and increased heart rate. Severe cases can progress to:

 
  • Agitation
  • Tremors
  • Increased urination
  • Seizures
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Collapse
  • Coma
  • Death


What do i do if my dog eats chocolate?

Early treatment is important.If you know or suspect that your dog has eaten chocolate, call your veterinarian immediately. Before signs become severe, your veterinarian can induce vomiting and give activated charcoal to reduce absorption of the chocolate in the stomach. Otherwise, treatment mainly consists of supportive care to help treat the signs mentioned above.

Be prepared

Like any emergency, chocolate toxicity is unpredictable. We recommend using the Hospital Locator to determine and save the phone number of your neighborhood Banfield location so that you can take action as quickly as possible.