Why chocolate is bad for dogs

Why chocolate is bad for dogs

Making the distressing discovery that your hound has been wolfing down the Whittakers is almost a rite of passage for dog owners – but what makes choccy no good for them?

With the potential for egg-shaped treats to be hidden around the garden and house by a certain magical bunny, this is a good time for a reminder about why dogs don’t do well with chocolate.

The culprit is theobromine, which is the part of chocolate that lends its bitterness. While easily digestible in humans, dogs process this alkaloid much more slowly, which leaves it to build up in their systems and reach toxic levels. How quickly or severely your dog reacts depends on the amount of chocolate they have eaten, the kind of chocolate, and the size of the dog.

A small amount of chocolate will likely give your dog a pretty nasty upset tummy with vomiting and diarrhoea. Large amounts can cause muscle tremors and seizures, irregular heartbeats and even result in internal bleeding or a heart attack.


An early warning that your dog may have ingested a toxic amount of chocolate is hyperactivity


Obviously, your Hercules Morse is probably going to be able to cope with more chocolate than the Hairy Maclarys of this world. However, any size dog can get sick from theobromine, especially if it comes from a darker source such as cocoa or cooking chocolate. White and milk chocolate contain less of the toxin but they can also cause havoc for fluffy bellies if eaten in large amounts.

An early warning that your dog may have ingested a toxic amount of chocolate is hyperactivity – if they’re running around like they don’t know what to do with themselves, get to the vet asap. If you’re not sure, call your vet and let them know the amount and kind of chocolate that has been consumed. They should be able to tell you whether you need to bring Bingo in for treatment or if he can recuperate from his binge at home.

If he does need to see the vet, it is a case of the sooner the better. Vets can administer activated charcoal, which will prevent theobromine from being absorbed, and may induce vomiting or put him on fluids. Medications to settle the heartbeat and lower blood pressure may also be given.

To avoid all this stress and bother, keep Lola locked up while the kids are hunting eggs this Easter – and make sure the whole family is on board with keeping their foil wrapped bunnies safe from Buddy.

Looking for an alternative Easter treat for dogs? Our Liver Lot treats are "chocolate-adjacent" or let the Wolf Pack provide!

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