The simple answer to this question is no – your dog should not eat chocolate. In this article we look at why chocolate is bad for your dog. With Easter just around the corner, make sure all the family know why the family pooch cannot join in the Easter egg hunt.

Why can’t my dog eat chocolate?

Chocolate contains an ingredient called theobromine which is poisonous for dogs. Dogs cannot metabolise this easily, unlike humans, so a build up can occur resulting in toxic levels in their bodies. Different types of chocolate contain different quantities of theobromine. Generally, the darker the chocolate, the higher the theobromine content. So dark chocolates and cocoa powder are much higher in content than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of theobromine.

What happens if a dog eats chocolate?

Chocolate poisoning or theobromine toxicity can result in your dog vomiting, having diarrhoea, being hyperactive and panting with an increased heart rate, and possibly suffering seizures. The severity of the symptoms seen will depend on the size of your dog and the amount of theobromine ingested. If large amounts of theobromine have been eaten then this can result in muscle tremors and seizures, internal bleeding or a heart attack. Symptoms will usually be seen up to four hours after the chocolate. Quite often the first sign of theobromine poisoning is hyperactivity.

How much chocolate is dangerous to a dog?

Some dogs will eat a small amount of chocolate and show no symptoms but this does not change the fact that chocolate is dangerous for dogs. Other dogs will eat a small amount of chocolate resulting in an upset tummy with some sickness and diarrhoea. There is a theory that some breeds are more susceptible to chocolate poisoning than other breeds. As theobromine doses increase, so do the risks and effects of theobromine poisoning. The best approach is to make sure your dog is not given any chocolate, and cannot get access to any chocolate.

What to do if your dog has eaten chocolate

 If you know your dog has eaten a lot of chocolate, get in touch with your vet immediately.

If you are worried that your dog has eaten chocolate and is showing any symptoms related to chocolate poisoning and theobromine toxicity, get in touch with your vet immediately.

The sooner you can get to the vet, the sooner action can be taken. It will help your vet if you can tell them what type of chocolate has been eaten, how much has been eaten, and when it was eaten. If there are any wrappers or packaging that you can show the vet then take these with you also. Most likely, if your dog ate the chocolate within the last few hours, your vet will make your dog vomit. Other treatment option will depend on signs, symptoms and your dog. A dog who is treated quickly should have a good prognosis.

It’s Easter soon…..

Easter is just round the corner with Easter eggs to be enjoyed by all……except your dog. We have looked at why your dog can’t eat chocolate and what you should do if he managed to scoff the kids’ eggs. Enjoy any Easter egg hunts safely with your dog by your side while the kids do the hunting. He can enjoy some other healthy treats instead or you could set up a special dog friendly Easter hunt for him! Check out our ideas here.