Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs
Chocolate and Dogs Equals A Dangerous Combination

Chocolate poisoning in dogs is very common and one of the leading causes of dog poisoning seen by veterinarians.

© Photos: Pugs by Deovolenti
Chocolate Cake by Machado
Two pugs and chocolate cake

Ever wondered though, "Can a dog die from eating chocolate?"

The short answer is "Yes". And it could happen within 12 to 36 hours! Chocolate and dogs is a scary combination.

Most dogs, like humans, find the taste of pure chocolate and chocolate flavored foods extremely appetizing. Their habit of consuming foods very rapidly, plus the fact that chocolate is generally very readily available in most households, only adds to the problem.

Ensure all chocolate goodies are well concealed from your eager pooch. Supervise toddlers, and educate young children about the deadly effects of dogs and chocolate.

Note: Although dogs are the most susceptible, chocolate toxicity also affects cats, horses, birds, rodents and reptiles.

Poisonous foods for dogsPoisonous foods for dogs

Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs

ALL varieties of chocolate are commonly recognized as toxic food for dogs. Dark, unsweetened Bakers chocolate is the most dangerous as it contains 8 - 10 times as much "Theobromine" as milk chocolate.

Dogs and Chocolate


Chocolate poisoning can affect many organs.

Signs of chocolate poisoning in dogs may occur within 2 - 4 hours after ingestion.

Early symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, and increased urination.

Advanced symptoms include stiffness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching and tremors, and a heightened sensitivity to noise, light, and touch.

If left untreated, this can progress to hallucinations, seizures, heart attacks, coma, and death, within 12 - 36 hours.

Note: Carob dog treats are often available as a chocolate substitute. Carob is totally unrelated to chocolate and is perfectly safe.


Please consider the following as guidelines only. Even smaller amounts than listed below, depending on the dog's individual sensitivity, have been known to lead to chocolate poisoning in dogs.

  • Unsweetened Bakers Chocolate = 1 oz per 9 lbs (4 kg) of body weight
  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate = 1 oz per 3 lbs (1.5 kg) of body weight
  • Milk Chocolate = 1 oz per 1 lb of body weight (2.2 oz per 1 kg)
  • White Chocolate = 200 oz per 1 lb of body weight (440 oz per 1 kg)


The offending components are the combination of theobromine and caffeine.

These molecules are found in many foods, beverages, plants, and medications.

Theobromine, in particular, is an extremely toxic food for dogs. It comes from the plant Theobroma cocoa - and is also found in cocoa beans, cola and tea. It is a chemical stimulant that dogs are unable to metabolize effectively. Theobromine can remain in the dog's bloodstream for up to 20 hours.

If you suspect or see your dogs eating chocolate
Please take him/her to your Veterinarian or contact an Animal Poison Hotline

(Always keep a phone number handy for emergencies)

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Information on this site is for educational purposes and is not intended to replace
the advice and treatment of your veterinarian.