Why Chocolate is Bad for Dogs – including Cats, Rats and Mice

By | March 23, 2016

Easter is here, and we have a lot of new pet owners, family, and friends we will visit or who are staying with us that are not aware of the dangers of how chocolate can kill dogs. Chocolate is one snack that should not be shared with your canine friend.

Why does chocolate kill dogs and other pets if not treated?

Theobromine is toxic to dogs and other pets, e.g., cats, mice, and rats. Theobromine is contained in cocoa, which is used to make beautiful chocolate. Poisoning can occur with cats and other animals however it is mainly a serious issue for dogs, especially at Easter time.

Theobromine levels of concentration vary depending on the chocolate. Dark chocolate, cocoa powder, and cooking chocolate contain higher levels than milk or white chocolate.

Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning.

Chocolate > Poison>Dogs

Chocolate > Poison > Dogs

Signs can take between 30 minutes to 3 hours to show:

  • Hyperactivity and Restlessness
  • Nervousness
  • Trembling and muscle tremors
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Increased heart rate
  • In severe cases seizures and possibly death

What your Vet will want to know.

The type of chocolate, amount eaten and the size/weight of your dog are all important factors your vet will need to know as toxicity of Theobromine is dose-related. Even if your pet has eaten a small amount of chocolate, you should seek advice from your local veterinarian.


Your Vet may ask you to monitor your pet or discuss the possibility of inducing vomiting. In severe cases, induced vomiting with supportive therapy by a veterinarian is the usual treatment however it is important to seek attention ASAP with your local vet or online.

Big Tip. Chocolate > Poison > Dogs

I had it said to me “oh it did not hurt our dogs when we were growing up” and we could go on with these comments/memories.

Sometimes it is the adults you have to make sure they realize you are serious that you do not want your pets to have any chocolate. Once explained to the children how chocolate could make their special friends very sick and to ensure their chocolate supplies are kept high or in a container with a lid, they are extremely careful not to leave chocolate around.

Easter BunnyThe good old Easter Egg hunt does not have to be put on the back burner. As a family we have a couple of people put the eggs out and know how many have been hidden. The dogs are put on leads or tied up, and the children are told not to come back until they have found them all. We also say how many we have hidden to ensure they find them all. Yes, we do a final count not only to see who collected the most and also to ensure all chocolate has been found.

Until next time, have a safe and wonderful Easter with lots of chocolate and laughing.

Keep enjoying each other.

Helen and Cleopatra

Thanks for Sharing this Love with Your Friends.

6 thoughts on “Why Chocolate is Bad for Dogs – including Cats, Rats and Mice

  1. Tobias

    Have heard about how dangerous chocolate can be for dogs. As I´m not a dog owner I have never thought about why it is poisonous to dogs. What does theobromine exactly do to dogs? It seems as if it is a neurotoxin to them.
    All in all good to know.

    1. Helen and Cleopatra Post author

      Hi, Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, and dogs cannot metabolize as well as people can. I am glad you found this post informative. Thanks for requesting further clarification.

  2. Anita

    Well that was a good piece of information. I heard years ago that chocolate was poison to dogs, but as you pointed out, most adults are not aware. Is there another type of treatment other than vomiting and will the dogs automatically start to vomit. I guess what I am trying to figure out is if my dog got into the chocolate stash, being a Jack Russell, hyperactivity is already an issue. How would I know that it was definitely chocolate?

    1. Helen and Cleopatra Post author

      Hi Anita, if your little Jack did get into a huge amount of your chocolate he would vomit and have diarrhea. Along with the hyperactivity, you would also notice your dog be anxious, and most likely their heart rate would also be racing. If in doubt always seek advice from your Vet. Take care.

  3. Luther

    Hi Cleopatra, told ya I’d stop by! You’re so pretty! Wink, wink.

    Wow. No wonder my pet mama gets so mad when I steal chocolate off the table. First off, they shouldn’t have left it where I can reach it! 🙂 But teaching me the Leave It command has helped a ton…plus they stopped leaving chocolate where I can get it. Apparently, their previous fur-child didn’t steal things off the table. Well excuse ME!

    Luckily it was a small amount (fun size) and did no damage. I though it was so sweet how concerned they were, and I did get some sharp NO’s, then later…hugs. I liked the hug part the best.

    Bark on, Cleo…Bark on!

    1. Helen and Cleopatra Post author

      Hi Luther, Thanks dropping by.
      I am so happy you did not have too much chocolate and it did not affect you. I must admit I have to work on the “Leave it” command as I do eat plants etc that upset my belly.
      I am like you, just love hugs. Thankfully I get more of them than No’s. 🙂
      I am looking forward to more of your yummy recipes.
      Until next time Luther
      “Wag out Loud”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *