Why can't I give my dog chocolate?


Any dog owner has heard that chocolate can kill dogs, but why? If we can eat chocolate, why can't our dogs? Approximately 97% of cases involving chocolate toxicity are associated with dogs, and 1 in 3,000 die from chocolate ingestion. Why is it that dogs cannot eat this delicious treat?benjamin.jpg

Foods with cocoa contain amino acids, good fats, vitamins, and minerals, which are all fantastic for human bodies. But why is cocoa toxic for dog's digestive systems?

Well, it turns out that cocoa beans have a compound called thebromine in their makeup Theobromine can hinder adenosine receptors in pet's central nervous system, which leads to stimulation. Also, It increases calcium levels inside the cells, which may cause tachycardia (a heart rate that exceeds the normal range). It may also affect processes such as heart contraction. Humans are able to normally and safely digest theobromine.

On a scale from white to dark chocolate, the darker the more dangerous for pets. The darker the chocolate, the more cocoa it is used, and therefore the more theobromine is in it. Dark chocolate is about 10 times more toxic as milk chocolate. Even more poisonous than a regular chocolate bar is plain cocoa powder or baker's chocolate. It would take 20 ounces of milk chocolate to kill a 20 pound dog, but only 2 ounces of baker's chocolate or 6 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips.

It is recommended that if your dog should ingest chocolate, the owner should immediately contact a Pet Poison Helpline or a veterinarian. Depending on the severity, owners could be instructed to induce vomiting, get to the vet for a charcoal treatment to absorb toxins, or in non-life threatening cases, keep an eye on the pet while sickness passes.






This is actually really interesting. I had never really looked into the physical science associated with theobromine poisoning, I was just always told that it was dangerous for dogs to consume chocolate. On an anecdotal note, I once had a doberman who ate an entire chocolate cake with chocolate icing while we were away from home and she never experienced any symptoms of the poisoning. It's strange how the effects can vary from one dog to another. Here's an excellent article from WebMD that goes a little more in-depth into some other details of theobromine poisoning.

Woops, sorry. HERE'S the link to the WebMD article.

Woops, sorry. HERE'S the link to the WebMD article.

I found your blog to be very interesting, especially considering the fact that I once had a dog and never knew why I couldn't feed him chocolate. I guess I just never really looked into it. It sort of makes you wonder if there are any other deadly combinations out there waiting to be discovered that we currently do not know about. Also, for dog owners, it should certainly make you more self-aware to not leave chocolate laying around the house as we know dogs can get into almost anything and everything.

I have always owned a dog and I think that every dog I've owned had gotten into some chocolate. I always just thought that this was a myth though. My dogs never seemed to be affected by eating chocolate and my friend told me that his dog once ate a whole tray of brownies, and his dog is still alive and well. He has a very large dog though so I guess it all depends on the size of your dog and how much it consumes. It's crazy how a food that we have no problem with eating can be fatal to dogs. It turns out that there are a lot of animals who have specific diets, there's a lot of foods that we can eat that are harmful to them. In the article, "Foods That Can Be Poisonous to Pets" the Humane Society list 20+ foods, ranging from avacados to yeast dough, that can be harmful to your pets. Turns out you have to watch out for more than just chocolate around your pets.


I am happy that you posted this blog because pet owners should be made more aware that their dogs' cannot be fed chocolate, whether it be an accident or on purpose. I have 2 dogs of my own and almost lost one of them because of this problem. We left out a trey of brownies one night by mistake, and as we were sleeping, my extremely stupid Golden Retriever ate the entire trey. We woke up to him throwing up and in noticeable pain. We immediately rushed him to the animal hospital and luckily he was alright. We learned from this experience and now are very careful not to give them any chocolate. More pet owners should be aware of the potential foods that can be harmful to their animals, don't you think? Instead of treating your pet as a "pet," treat your pet as a child. Would you let your child get near a deadly chemical found in a food? I would hope not! Like Michael said in the comment before me, bigger dogs are usually not affected by dosages of chocolate but my 80 pounder certainly was. Hopefully this makes the pet owners in this class think twice before leaving out a trey of brownies with a dog lurking around the house.

Although many people are aware that they shouldn’t give their dogs chocolate, I found an article that has listed over twenty six foods you should not feed to your dogs! Check it out! Some foods you wouldn’t even believe! Have you ever thought how many foods dogs actually can’t eat? For example avocado, I would have never expected! Here is the link!


I, as well as the other commentators, have never truly understood why chocolate is so toxic to dogs. I've heard stories of my friends feeding their dogs chocolate, and unknowingly killing the little thing. My mother is a firm believer that dogs should not eat anything aside from meat or dry dog food, and that is what she has fed my dog for all the years it has been alive. It is true that larger dogs might be able to fight to stay alive after consuming this chemical found in the cocoa, but smaller dogs are at a higher risk. When it comes to being a dog owner, it comes down to a science. There are specific things dogs should and should not consume. Here is a complete list of a few foods that can be beneficial to your canine: http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2010/07/21/13-pet-foods-ranked-from-great-to-disastrous.aspx

This has been a topic that I have wondered about for such a long time. I have always wondered why dogs could not eat chocolate, yet they could eat the grossest and most disgusting trash that they find on the ground. I have seen dogs eat throw up! But if they eat chocolate they can die? I never understood the reasoning behind that. I knew that they could not digest it correctly but I did not know what the chemical make up was that effected the dogs in such a different ways than humans. Avocado, grapes, and bread dough are also hazardous to dogs health. There are other foods that dogs can't eat here: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/foods-are-hazardous-dogs . It just blows my mind that healthy food for us, can actually extremely hurt dog's health.

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