Dogs and chocolate: everything you need to know

Unfortunately for them, chocolate is toxic to dogs and chocolate poisoning is a medical emergency. Find out more about why chocolate is toxic and what to do if your dog accidentally eats your chocolate bar.

What makes chocolate toxic?

Chocolate contains two substances that can increase your dog's heart rate and overstimulate their nervous system: theobromine and caffeine. The concentration of these substances depends on the type of chocolate and the risk increases with the amount ingested relative to the weight of your dog. 

Cocoa powder is usually the most toxic, followed by by cooking chocolate, dark chocolate and milk chocolate. One ounce of milk chocolate per pound of bodyweight can have dramatic consequences, so the best thing to do is to keep all types of chocolate out of sight and reach.

What are the signs of chocolate poisoning?

The signs usually appear within a few hours after your dog has ingested chocolate, and the most common are: vomiting, diarrhoea, increased breathing, abnormal heart rate, increased urination, agitation, seizures and collapse. 

What to do if your dog ate chocolate?

Immediately seek emergency vet care. Knowing what type of chocolate and how much will help evaluate the severity of the situation. Based on the information provided, the vet will either recommend urgent treatment or advise to monitor your dog for the next 24 hours.

If the chocolate has been consumed in the past two hours, the vet might have you bring your dog to them so they can induce vomiting and remove the toxins with charcoal. 

Chocolate can present a real danger so with Christmas approaching, it's important to be vigilant and ensure your pooch doesn't get their paws on treats that are not for them!