Chocolate Toxicity

With Halloween upon us, it’s important to be aware of the dangers of Chocolate ingestion by pets:

All chocolate is poisonous to dogs; however, the hazard of chocolate to your dog depends on the type of chocolate, the amount consumed and your dog’s size.  Just a small amount of the most toxic chocolate products can potentially kill your dog.

Why not chocolate?

  • The toxic component of chocolate is theobromine. Humans easily metabolize theobromine, but dogs process it much more slowly, allowing it to build up to toxic levels in their system.
  • A large dog can consume more chocolate than a small dog before suffering ill effects.
  • A small amount of milk chocolate or chocolate cake will probably only give your dog an upset stomach with vomiting or diarrhea.
  • With large amounts, theobromine can produce muscle tremors, seizures, an irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding or a heart attack. The onset of theobromine poisoning is usually marked by severe hyperactivity.

Different chocolate types have different theobromine levels. Cocoa, bakers chocolate and dark chocolate contain the highest levels, while milk chocolate and white chocolate have the lowest. The high level of theobromine in dark chocolate, bakers chocolate, and cocoa means it takes only a very small amount to poison a dog. Less than an ounce of dark chocolate may be enough to poison a 44-pound dog.

If you suspect that your dog may have eaten chocolate or they are showing any of the signs listed above, call PriorityVet or your family veterinarian immediately!