Why is chocolate not safe for dogs?

Chocolate can be a delicious snack for humans, but not for pups. The sweet treat is hazardous to dogs. When dogs ingest chocolate, it can cause extreme thirst, diarrhea, pacing, panting, shaking, and even seizures.


Chocolate contains something called theobromine (which may also be known as xantheose). This alkaloid comes from the cacao plant which is used in chocolate. Theobromine can also be found in tea, cola beverages, and açaí berries. There are higher concentrations of theobromine in dark chocolates than light chocolates, such as white, because there are more cocoa solids in darker chocolates. The amount of theobromine in different kinds of chocolate can be easily calculated by ounce:


  • Milk chocolate: 50 mg/oz
  • Dark chocolate: 150 mg/oz
  • Baker’s chocolate (unsweetened): 450 mg/oz
  • Cocoa powder: 800 mg/oz


Dogs metabolize theobromine slowly, which can cause theobromine poisoning. Theobromine poisoning can occur in humans and other rodents as well. Dogs can digest large amounts of chocolate quickly, which may be left out from baking or snacking. Chocolate is a well known enemy of dogs, but the toxic dose for cats is even lower.


If your dog has ingested any chocolate, please contact your vet immediately and use this calculator to gauge the severity.


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