Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs

Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs


Chocolate has a reputation of providing people with antioxidants and soothing stress, but chocolate is one treat that is not to be shared with our furry companions.  Chocolate contains a natural chemical called theobromine that is toxic to dogs.  Theobromine is a diuretic which means it removes water from the body.  It is also a stimulant that can speed up a dog’s heart rate.  Another chemical found in chocolate is caffeine and should not be given to dogs.  If your dog eats chocolate it will usually vomit or have diarrhea, which is actually good because that will get the chocolate out of your dog’s system faster.  More serious symptoms include excessive thirst and urination, elevated heart rate, restlessness, panting, spasms and seizure.  Symptoms can last for days.


Not all chocolate contains dangerous levels of theobromine.  Milk chocolate is mostly sugar and fat so while it may make your dog sick, it is not terribly dangerous.  Dark chocolate & bakers chocolate contain much more cacao making them much more problematic.  If you dog eats chocolate you should call your veterinarian or poison control and let them determine if the type and amount of chocolate consumed required medical attention.  Usually the vet will induce vomiting and support the dog with IV fluids.


Surprisingly, another food rich in theobromine is the wildly popular “super fruit”, the acai berry.  Super fruits rich in antioxidants are growing in popularity in the human market and while some exotic fruits like goji berry are good for dogs, keep them away from acai.





Some food toxic for pets.


Death by caffeine: presumptive malicious poisoning of a dog by incorporation in ground meat.


The history and science of chocolate.


Health benefits of methylxanthines of cacao and chocolate.


Psychopharmacology of theobromine in healthy volunteers.