Thursday, February 14, 2013

Chocolate, Dogs and Valentine’s Day

Via PR Web - Valentine’s Day is the single biggest day on which dogs are taken to emergency rooms because of ingested chocolate. This is a preventable situation, and a little care can save a fuzzy pup’s life.

What does chocolate do to a dog? 

The chemical in chocolate that’s so poisonous for dogs is theobromine, an alkaloid that has similar effects to caffeine. The common side effects of theobromine are vomiting and restlessness. In small doses there isn’t much to worry about, but if enough is ingested it can be fatal.

What’s the attraction to chocolate?

Dog’s, like people, enjoy sweets and the smell of them can really get the saliva glands going. But different kinds of chocolate have different levels of theobromine in them. There’s white, dark and milk chocolate, each made in its own way.

Dark chocolate is the most toxic for a dog. Two ounces of dark chocolate can be fatal to a 20lb, dog, while 20 ounces of milk chocolate would have to be ingested to be fatal. A dog needs to eat 100-150 milligrams of chocolate per pound of bodyweight for theobromine to reach toxic levels.

What should be done? 

While allowing dogs to eat chocolate should always be prevented, small amounts aren’t a huge concern. A dog may eat a half-ounce or an ounce of chocolate, and if they are 60lbs, there won’t be too much to worry about. They may have a stomach ache for a while, but it will pass with minimal effects.

Typically, a dog will start to vomit and experience diarrhea when it eats enough chocolate to have been poisoned. Some dogs may not experience vomiting, so don’t assume that because there is no vomit, there is nothing to worry about.

The caffeine-like ingredient in chocolate may cause a dog to experience seizures, hyperactivity and/or agitation. These symptoms will show themselves within 4-24 hours after ingestion.

In the event an owner is unsure of whether or not their dog has eaten enough chocolate to cause a reaction, they should call their vet for advice. He/she will be more than happy to explain what to do and whether it’s time to come in for treatment.


Simply being aware of the danger involved should be enough to encourage owners to do all they can to keep chocolate out of their dog’s reach. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, 95% of their chocolate calls are about dogs, rather than cats. A dog can survive chocolate poisoning if the right action is taken within the right timeframe.

For more information on dogs and chocolate, visit


  1. Wouldn't you think that with all the publicity in this day and age, people would know about Doggies not supposed to eat chocolate. Thanks for reminding everyone again BJ.

  2. Theobromine is a fantastic cough suppressant for humans, but not good at all for animals. That same two ounces of unsweetened dark chocolate is equivalent to a 1,000 mg dose of theobromine. And while that can be a healthy and effective cough suppressant alternative (with none of the accompanying drowsiness so often found in codeine-based cough medicines), as you mentioned, it can be fatal to a dog or a cat.

    1. So the next time I have a cold with a cough, I'll just eat a lot of chocolate! ;-)

  3. Such an important post around holidays like this!