December 9, 2023

Although humans can experience stomachache after eating excessive amounts of chocolate, dogs may experience more severe reactions to this tasty sweet treat. That’s why chocolate is considered a forbidden food for pets. What is it exactly that is it that makes chocolate so harmful to their health?

The chemicals in chocolate can be harmful to dogs

Theobromine and caffeine are two compounds found in chocolates that cause dogs to become sick. In contrast to humans, dogs cannot effectively process these chemicals in 7 hours. Humans have eliminated a quarter of these chemicals. However, a dog’s body can take up to 17 hours to eliminate the equivalent amount.

Since it takes many hours to break down coffee and theobromine, those chemicals can remain inside their bloodstreams for quite a while and could eventually build up to levels that are harmful to the dog’s body.

What happens when dogs eat chocolate?

Theobromine, as well as caffeine, are stimulants for the nervous system. They block the receptors that cause us to feel tired, sluggish, and exhausted.

The result is that a dog who has eaten chocolate may exhibit symptoms of hyperactivity, a rapid pace of heart, shaking, muscle twitching, and uncontrollable enthusiasm. Think of someone who rarely consumes coffee, and then suddenly, they gulp down three espresso shots in a row! Dogs may also exhibit an unusual thirst and increase in urine output. There are, however, more severe signs.

In the time it takes to process these substances, the dog’s body can become increasingly intoxicated, manifesting more severe signs such as diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, and, in rare instances, death.

How much chocolate can be toxic for canines?

There have been instances of dogs eating chocolate ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chip cookies, or chocolate brownies without suffering adverse results. There’s a reason for this.

The level of toxicity from chocolate for dogs will be contingent on the following.


The higher the percentage of cocoa in a chocolate item is, the greater the amount of theobromine it’ll comprise. Thus, darker chocolates are the most hazardous kind of chocolate that dogs can consume. It is the case with dark chocolate bar baking chocolate, chocolate chips that are not sweetened cocoa powder, and cocoa nibs.

Chocolates made with milk are less risky because the cocoa component is reduced, less concentrated, and mixed with sugar and milk. White chocolate is the most hazardous chocolate for dogs since it does not contain theobromine or caffeine.


There is a connection between the consumption of chocolate and the dangers for dogs, but only if we are talking about the same type of chocolate. Yes, 80g of dark chocolate is more harmful than 30g. However, as we’ve seen, high cocoa is more detrimental to dogs than chocolate with low cocoa. Therefore, an 80g serving of milk chocolate would be less dangerous than 50g of dark, despite the larger quantity.

Therefore, you must be aware of the kind of chocolate you are using first and then the quantity of chocolate later. Also, your dog’s dimension can be essential in determining the amount of toxicity.


Consider a particular amount of caffeine and theobromine within the body of a Labrador. Then, imagine the same amount of caffeine in the body of a Chihuahua. The size of the dog is essential in determining the dangers of chocolate. You will often see large dogs consuming all sorts of chocolates without suffering harm, whereas small-sized dogs are alert to tiny quantities of chocolate.

The degree of toxicity from chocolate will heavily depend on the dog’s size.

Therefore, determining how much chocolate is harmful to dogs is an amount that is proportional to cacao content, the quantity of chocolate used, and the weight of the pet. 100g of dark chocolate that contains 90% will be more poisonous than 100g of dark milk that contains 40% chocolate. However, 90% of dark chocolate might cause mild nausea to large dogs, whereas 40% of dark milk chocolate could cause death to small dogs. For guideline:

20mg of theobromine in a kg. It can cause mild symptoms.

40 mg of theobromine per kg. may show signs of severe toxicity,

60 mg of theobromine per kg. will cause seizures.

Can chocolate kill dogs?

The instances where dogs die from chocolate poisoning are pretty uncommon. It takes theobromine 100 mg in a kilogram. For it to cause death. Veterinarians have reported only a few deaths from chocolate poisoning among dogs over several years. Keep in mind that there are instances where cases remain unreported, untreated, or classified incorrectly.

What do you take if the dog has eaten chocolate?

To protect yourself from any potential danger to your pet, it is recommended not to feed chocolate to your pet (especially when they have problems with their health). However, we’re all humans, and sometimes we slip up, either intentionally or accidentally. When you give chocolate to your pet, what is the best thing you can do? Keep constant monitoring.

If your dog doesn’t display any of the previously mentioned signs, that’s fine. However, if your dog shows signs of illness, it’s time to act immediately.

The most effective thing you can do is not delay and contact your vet immediately. The vet will be able to act quickly when they know the kind of chocolate the dog ate, and it is best to locate the package containing the chocolate and hand it to the vet. It’s also important to note the amount of chocolate the dog ate for the vet to know the level of alcohol consumption that could be a factor.

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