Why can’t my dog have chocolate?

Most of us love to enjoy a bit of chocolate every now and again, but while it is a tasty treat for people it can cause your dog to become ill. Did you know that chocolate is TOXIC to dogs? Puppies and younger dogs are most commonly affected, usually because they are less fussy and will eat lots of things they’re not supposed to very quickly. Chocolate also tastes very nice (even to dogs)! The amount of chocolate that is toxic to any one dog depends on the size of your dog. Smaller dogs need to eat a much smaller amount of chocolate before they are poisoned, whereas larger dogs usually need to eat a larger amount of chocolate to cause poisoning. Dogs can tolerate a tiny amount of chocolate but it is best to keep it well out of reach, just in case. DO NOT EVER GIVE YOUR DOG CHOCOLATE AS A TREAT! There are many tasty treats made for dogs that you can buy from the pet store – try a pig’s ear or liver treats, your dog will LOVE them! Chocolate contains substances that can be toxic to dogs. Do not ever give your dog chocolate as a treat. Call 4 Paws Vet if you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate as dogs which are promptly treated, recover well. The toxic dose of chocolate is thought to be 250g of DARK chocolate for a 15kg dog; 100mg MILK chocolate for a 15kg dog. Dark chocolate is much more toxic to dogs than white or milk chocolate. Dark cooking chocolate is probably the most dangerous as it contains more toxic substances. The signs that are often seen if a dog eats chocolate include:

  • Very rapid heart rate
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Restlessness or excitement
  • Urinating more than normal
  • Stiffness
  • Seizures
  • And worst of all, death

It is important to remember that some of the more subtle signs can (and often do) progress to more serious signs very quickly, so it is always wise to talk to a vet if you are worried. If your dog becomes ill and you think that they may have been able to eat some chocolate it is important to tell your vet straight away so that they can give your dog the best treatment possible, as chocolate toxicity can be fatal. Most dogs that are brought to the vet quickly, and are treated, recover well.

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