Chocolate (especially dark chocolate) may be beneficial to our health, but it is poisonous and can be fatal to our dogs. Chocolate is made from the beans of the cacao tree. The beans contain caffeine and a related chemical compound called theobromine, both belong to a class of alkaloid molecules known as methylxanthines, which are naturally occurring stimulants.

What are the Symptoms?

Dogs metabolize theobromine much slower than people do. The effects on their body can include an increase in in blood pressure, vomiting, hyperactivity and diarrhea within the first few hours. As time goes by your dog’s heart rate keeps increasing, which can cause muscle twitching, restlessness, hyperactivity, arrhythmia, extreme panting and increased urination. It can then lead to muscle tremors, hyperthermia, seizures, coma and even death.

What should I do if my dog eats chocolate?

Contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately. They will need to find out if a poisonous amount of chocolate was ingested. The sooner the theobromine is removed from the body or the pet is stabilized, the better your dog’s prognosis. If you are in the USA, you may also want to call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline (888-426-4435) for help.


Treatment depends on the amount and type of chocolate eaten. If treated early, removal of the chocolate from the stomach by administering medications to induce vomiting may be all that is necessary. Activated charcoal may be administered every four to six hours for the first twenty-four hours to reduce the continued resorption and recirculation of theobromine. It is also common to provide supportive treatments such as intravenous fluid therapy to help dilute the toxin and promote its excretion.

Which is the worse type of Chocolate?

Unsweetened (baker’s) chocolate contains 8-10 times the amount of Theobromine as milk chocolate. Semi-sweet chocolate falls roughly in between the two for Theobromine content. White chocolate contains Theobromine, but in such small amounts that Theobromine poisoning is unlikely.

What are toxic dosages for dogs?

The amount of toxic theobromine varies with the type of chocolate. The darker and the more bitter the chocolate, the more dangerous it is to your pets. Below is a list of potentially dangerous doses of chocolate. Please note that these are approximate amounts only. Every animal has varying levels of sensitivity to theobromine.

Dog’s weight (lbs) Amount of milk chocolate (oz) Amount of chocolate chips (oz) Amount of unsweetened chocolate (oz) Approximate amount of theobromine (mg)
5 4 1.5 0.5 200
10 8 3 1.5 400
20 16 6.5 2.5 900
30 28 9.5 3.2 1300
40 40 13.3 4.5 1800
50 48 16.6 5.5 2250
60 60 20 6.7 2700
75 76 25.2 8.5 3400