Can Dogs Eat Chocolate? A Cocoa No-No

With Halloween rolling around the corner, dog owners are on high alert. Any chocolate left around the house is up for grabs. And that includes your furry friend. Most dog owners know the dangers of chocolate. The answer to the question, can dogs eat chocolate, is and always has been a firm no.

While the majority of dog owners know not to give their pups any chocolate, not all understand why it’s bad. If you happen to not understand why chocolate harms your dog, please allow me to explain.


Why Can Dogs Eat Chocolate? Well, They Can’t!

Why can’t dogs have chocolate? One word: theobromine. Theobromine, a toxic chemical for dogs, is present in all chocolate varieties.

However, not all types of chocolate contain the same levels of theobromine. Also, the danger theobromine presents to your furry friend largely depends on their size, weight, and the amount of chocolate consumed.

Just like humans with alcohol, a larger dog requires more chocolate than a smaller dog to suffer theobromine’s ill effects. Of course, unlike humans, dogs should never consume chocolate or alcohol (Yes, Carol, no alcohol for your furry friend. I don’t care if it’s Margarita Monday).

So can dogs eat chocolate? Nope, nope, nope.

Before talking about the differing amounts of theobromine in different chocolate types, let’s talk about the dangers of theobromine.


Theobromine: What’s The Big Whoop?

The theobromine in chocolate puts your pup’s health at risk in many ways. In lower doses, theobromine consumption leads to vomiting and diarrhea, but an upset tummy is the most likely.

If your dog consumes large amounts of chocolate, the health risks become much scarier. Serious theobromine poisoning leads to the possibility of the following:

  • Muscle Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Irregular Heartbeat
  • Internal Bleeding
  • Possible Heart Attack

While these symptoms induce a lot of worry for dog owners like you and me, there are preventative measures.

First, make sure no chocolate is left in your dog’s reach. I understand that fur baby owners may also have some human babies, as well. If you have children, try to let them understand that chocolate can make the dog’s tummy very upset and not to leave chocolate within the dog’s reach.

If you worry your dog consumed any chocolate, take them to the vet as soon as possible. The vet likely will induce vomiting and treat your pup. Catching it early is truly the best treatment. The sooner the better.

As for chocolate types, dark chocolate contains more theobromine than milk or white chocolate. Essentially, the more ‘pure’ the chocolate is, the more risky it is for your dog to consume it.


But Why Can Humans Eat Chocolate?

Plenty of human foods, like chocolate, provide a risk for your dog’s health. In regards to chocolate, dogs lack the ability to properly metabolize the theobromine inside of the chocolate. Because of this, the theobromine builds up in the dog’s system and reaches toxic levels.

Us humans lucked out. We have the ability to quickly metabolize theobromine before it reaches toxic levels in our system.


Not Cuckoo For Cocoa

Unfortunately for our furry friends, no chocolate for them. However, there are plenty of other delicious human foods to reward our fur babies with.

And reward them we will. It’s all about earning those precious love points with our pups!

Chase Correll