Chocolate Is Tasty And Toxic~Tasty Tuesday

With Easter behind us and all the goodies that are to be enjoyed by humans remember your dog and keep the tasty chocolate treats out of their reach or you might end up with a picture like this:

A colorful and nasty picture that I bet tasted better going down then it did coming back up and coming back up is what needed to happen after a Weimaraner got into the Easter goods before Easter and ate 4# of various chocolate goodies. The Weimaraner weighed 91# when he first came in and weighed 87# when he left. Even at a weight of 91# all the chocolate he ingested was at a toxic level. Since his owner called us right after she discovered he had eaten the chocolate we were able to get him to vomit all the candy up and he didn’t need any further treatment.

Why is chocolate toxic to dogs? Chocolate is toxic to dogs (and cats) because of it’s active ingredient Theobromide.

Theobromide is a distant cousin to caffeine. 

Taken from Veterinary Partner.com

  • Chocolate liquor is the liquid that results from grinding the hulled cacao beans. 
  • Cocoa butter is the fat that is extracted from the chocolate liquor. 
  • Cocoa powder is the solid that remains after the cocoa butter is removed from the chocolate liquor. The powder can be treated with alkali in a process called Dutching or it can be left alone. Note the low-fat nature of cocoa powder, hence its use in low-fat baking. 
  • Unsweetened chocolate is chocolate liquor that is 50% to 60% cocoa butter. 
  • Semisweet chocolate is chocolate that is 35% chocolate liquor (the rest being sugar, vanilla, or lecithin). 
  • Milk chocolate is chocolate that is at least 10% chocolate liquor, the rest being milk solids, vanilla or lecithin.

The more chocolate liquor there is in a product, the more theobromine there is. This makes baking chocolate the worst for pets, followed by semisweet and dark chocolate, followed by milk chocolate, followed by chocolate flavored cakes or cookies. Signs of toxicity from theobromine causes:

  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Hyperactivity 
  • Tremors 
  • Seizures 
  • Racing heart rhythm progressing to abnormal rhythms 
  • Death in severe cases

Toxic doses of theobromine are 9 mg per pound of dog for mild signs, up to 18 mg per pound of dog for severe signs. Milk chocolate contains 44 mg / ounce of theobromine while semisweet chocolate contains 150 mg per ounce, and baking chocolate contains 390 mg per ounce.

It takes nearly four days for the effects of chocolate to work its way out of a dog’s system. If the chocolate was only just eaten, it is possible to induce vomiting; otherwise, hospitalization and support are needed until the chocolate has worked its way out of the system.

Here is a Chocolate Toxicity Chart that is done by the weight of the dog to figure out if your dog has ingested a toxic amount.

Animal poison control (fees apply) can be reached at:

ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center: 888-426 4435
Pet Poison Helpline: 800-213-6680

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22 thoughts on “Chocolate Is Tasty And Toxic~Tasty Tuesday

  1. Dear friends, that Weimaraner was NOT me… just saying …
    We had such an accident with the Foxterrier once, Terry ate a complete package of chocolate filled cookies including the wrapping paper. Two ER-vets were busy the whole night and they fortunately saved her life. I hope the best for the Weimaraner, thanks that you were there to help this poor guy…

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  2. Really good and important information! Thanks for sharing it in detail for those who are not aware of how dangerous it really is to pets! I would love to share this one! Wo

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  3. It is super dangerous..we have always had a rule that no guest family or friend is to share food woth the dogs or cats..as not only chocolate but so many holiday foods are cause for a rush to the vets with pancreatitis and other ailments..we give the dogs doggie choc sometimes..made of carob but never chocolate..i hope the poor Weimaraner was ok..that is a lot of pain for the poor thing too 😦 loves Bev XX

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  4. Delilah eats chocolate. She ate some last night, just licked up little bits that had fallen off a bunny, but she ate it. I decided (after my vet said the chocolate chip cookie she ate wouldn’t be enough for a dog her size) to stop worrying about what she eats.

    FTI those pictures are gross. ;-P

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  5. So important! I do not have small children in my home anymore, but when Harley first arrived I stopped with Easter candy for this sole reason. It was so nice my neighbors to tell me they were having an Easter egg hunt on Saturday, but there would be no chocolate in the plastic eggs in case Harley or Jax found them. #sweet Chocolate is a scary food group when it comes to pets. Thanks for posting this – we can always use a reminder!

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  6. Wow, that’s a lot of chocolate! So glad she discovered it not long after the pup ate it. At first I thought that was a not so attractive collage of new artwork, haha!

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  7. Ohh my. I thought about reiterating a chocolate is toxic article for Easter but didn’t want to be a broken record. Always a great reminder for pet owners. I am glad you could help the Weimaraner.

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  8. I like dark chocolate, but I tend to not have it in the house much, just to be on the safer side. So many people will tell you their dog can eat chocolate, but I think it’s probably small amounts of milk chocolate that their large dog probably ate. We let our dogs lick our bowls after chocolate ice cream, but that’s about it.

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