General Question

bhec10's avatar

Is chocolate poisonous to dogs?

Asked by bhec10 (6457points) December 30th, 2009

Does it kill/harm them? If so, why?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

31 Answers

skfinkel's avatar

I have heard it is. Maybe it’s just too rich for their digestive tracts—they were meant to eat, what?, what is their natural food? In any case, it’s not refined sugar.

SamIAm's avatar

it is but i know a lot of dogs that eat chocolate so i guess it depends on the dogs natural tolerance

MagsRags's avatar

Yes, but it takes a lot.

marinelife's avatar

Chocolate is highly poisonous to dogs. It is never OK for a dog to eat chocolate!

” Poison by chocolate can occur quickly if your dog had a large amount, but sometimes even small amounts will show signs of poisoning within a few short hours. Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, restlessness and hyperactivity, and he or she might even go to you for help and answers. Symptoms will progressively get worse from restlessness to arrhythmia and other muscle twitching. Frequent urination is common, a direct side affect of the toxin in chocolate.

If you know your dog had chocolate and even the first signs develop, call a veterinarian right away.”

“How Much Chocolate is Poisonous to Dogs?

This can be difficult as all dogs are different – factor in the specific kind of chocolate and the weight of the dog, their age and health, and it can be hard to tell. Here are a few charting lists of information that may help to understand better:

Relative Theobromine content per ounce for various products is:

* Milk chocolate: 44 – 60 mgs/ounce
* Unsweetened baking chocolate: 450 mg/oz
* Cacao meal: 300 – 900 mg/oz
* Cacao beans: 300 – 1200 mg/oz
* Hot chocolate: 13 mg/oz

Relative chocolate content per pound of body weight:
Baking Chocolate: 0.1 oz/.lb
Milk Chocolate: 1oz/.lb
Sweet Cocoa: 0.3/.b
White Chocolate: 200oz/.lb”


mollypop51797's avatar

yes it is. There is this ingredient in chocolate called “theo bromine” which causes dogs to….you know..throw up. But, it also depends on the amount and the size of your dog. except, the theo bromine doesn’t actually leave the dogs system, it actually stays 17.5 hours in the system :( so..hope this helps…

Ghost_in_the_system's avatar

Toxic Levels

The good news is that it takes, on average, a fairly large amount of theobromine 100–150 mg/kg to cause a toxic reaction. Although there are variables to consider like the individual sensitivity, animal size and chocolate concentration.

On average,
Milk chocolate contains 44 mg of theobromine per oz.
Semisweet chocolate contains 150mg/oz.
Baker’s chocolate 390mg/oz.

Using a dose of 100 mg/kg as the toxic dose it comes out roughly as:
1 ounce per 1 pound of body weight for Milk chocolate
1 ounce per 3 pounds of body weight for Semisweet chocolate
1 ounce per 9 pounds of body weight for Baker’s chocolate.

So, for example, 2 oz. of Baker’s chocolate can cause great risk to an 15 lb. dog. Yet, 2 oz. of Milk chocolate usually will only cause digestive problems.

bhec10's avatar

@Marina, @mollypop51797 and @Ghost_in_the_system Thanks! Those answers were really helpful :-)

faye's avatar

We fed our dog a bit of chocolate when we had some ourselves. We didn’t know it was poisonous and she never showed symptoms but of course we quit when someone told us. A different dog, lovely Black Lab, ate chocolate my daughter had in her room. I have never cleaned up that much puke!!! over and over again.

john65pennington's avatar

It may be poisionous to some dogs, but not my Toby. he is a minature poodle that will kill over Hersheys Chocolate Kisses. one year, he had his own Christmas stocking loaded with chocolate kisses. the stocking accidentially fell on the floor and Toby guarded it with his life and growled everyone away. chocolate did not kill Toby and believe me, he had his share during his lifetime.

AstroChuck's avatar

Absolutely. It is to cats and birds as well. Dark chocolate is especially bad. It’s the chocolate liquor that is toxic, as opposed to the cocoa butter.

marinelife's avatar

@john65pennington You are lucky that he never had enough. You are an irresponsible owner. Why would you knowingly give your dog something that could kill him?

stemnyjones's avatar

amen, @Marina

Yes, chocolate is poisonous to dogs. You should also avoid giving your dog onions, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, potato peelings and green potatoes, Broccoli, green parts of tomatos, yeast dough, coffee, tea, soft drinks, sugar-free foods, avacado, nutmeg, and many other human foods – they are all toxic to dogs and some can lead to kidney failure, seizures, and other life-threatening… things. Definitely do your research before feeding your dog any human food.

AstroChuck's avatar

Starfruit as well.

faye's avatar

Off topic. We used to feed our dog stew, and she could gulp it down while leaving clean green peas on her plate.

Darwin's avatar

These extra foods also make your dog fat, as well as make it think it is entitled to what is on your plate. That can be awkward, especially if you have dinner guests.

But, yes, chocolate is toxic to dogs. The amount depends on the size and sensitivity of the dog as well as the amount of theobromine consumed. Dark, unsweetened Baker’s chocolate is the worst.

rooeytoo's avatar

@stemnyjones – I never heard broccoli, my dogs live on it, they get it every day. Where did you read that?

They are 12 years old and still going strong!

Darwin's avatar

I have never heard that broccoli was bad for dogs either, although my mother is not allowed to eat it because she is on coumadin and Vitamin K counteracts it.

This is the list that is more familiar to me.

rooeytoo's avatar

Apparently there was an urban legend that it was toxic but wiki says nope!

rooeytoo's avatar

The myth was started by George Bush sr. I believe.

ccrow's avatar

FWIW green parts of potatoes are toxic to humans as well.

faye's avatar

Green parts of potatoes are so bitter! Maybe that was in the compost that made my idiot dog so sick.

Darwin's avatar

As Snopes says, the green part of the potato is green because light exposure has caused it to develop chlorophyll there. However, along with the chlorophyll, the green area also has a concentration of a nerve toxin called solanin which affects all mammals.

“Claim: Green potatoes are poisonous.

Status: True.

Origins: The potato, the ultimate comfort food in Western society, has a disturbing secret. This trustworthy old friend so often invited to our tables can, at times, slip us a little bit of poison.

The potato — or, rather, green versions of it — contains a natural toxin called solanine. The greenish hue that should warn you away from such spuds is actually chlorophyll, but its presence indicates concentrations of solanine are present in the tuber.

A glycoalkaloid poison found in species of the nightshade, solanine is a nerve toxin produced in the green part of the potato (the leaves, the stem, and any green spots on the skin). This bitter poisonous crystalline alkaloid is part of the plant’s defenses against insects, disease, and predators. Potato leaves and stems are naturally high in glycoalkaloids, so ingestion of these parts of the plant must be avoided at all costs.

Solanine develops in potatoes when spuds are subjected to light or either very cold or warm temperatures. It interferes with the body’s ability to use a particular chemical that facilitates the transmission of impulses between cells. Ingested in large enough amounts, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, and even paralysis of the central nervous system.

However, unless you are deliberately seeking out green potatoes to eat, you are unlikely to ingest enough of the toxin to do harm. The potatoes we buy contain such a minute amount of the chemical that a healthy adult would have to eat about 4–½ pounds at one sitting to experience any neurological symptoms. Ergo, don’t worry about having the occasional green potato chip, but do discard any potatoes that have green eyes, sprouts, or greenish skins, rather than prepare and serve them, especially to children. (Children’s smaller body size makes them more susceptible to ill effects.)”

The same would apply to dogs, most of whom have much smaller bodies that adult humans.

rooeytoo's avatar

@Darwin – I often use sprouted potatoes, I just pull the sprouts off. I don’t use many so it is a common occurrence. But we never have more than a small one apiece, maybe that is why we are still here to tell the tale!

Darwin's avatar

@rooeytoo – If you read all of the above, you would see that an average adult would have to down 4½ pounds of potatoes in a sitting to feel ill-effects. That’s a lot of French fries.

ccrow's avatar

Oww… I can’t eat that many!! :-)

john65pennington's avatar

I must correct my original answer, concerning giving my dog chocolate. Toby was a puppy when we first bought him. my wife and i were just married and were not aware of the effects that chocolate could have on a dog. no one told us. it did not bother Toby at all. he loved it and would steal whatever chocolate happend to be laying around. my wife and i are not irresponsible people, at all. once we learned that chocolate can be deadly to dogs, we have never given chocolate again to any of our dogs. i want to thank Marina for bringing this to my attention. john

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Chocolate can kill your dog according to the ASPCA

Why: Stimulates the nervous system and the heart.
Poisonous to: All species, but dogs are most likely to eat dangerous quantities.
Possible effects of poisoning: Vomiting, increased thirst, restlessness, agitation, increased or irregular heartbeat, increased body temperature, tremors, seizures.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Other things dangerous for your dog(s)
according to Ashley Tate and Sharon Tanenbaum
from Real Simple website

2. Grapes, Raisins

Why: Damage the kidneys.
Poisonous to: Dogs, cats.
Possible effects of poisoning: Increased thirst, increased urination, lethargy, vomiting.

3. Garlic, Onions

Why: Damage red blood cells, causing anemia.
Poisonous to: Cats, dogs.
Possible effects of poisoning: Vomiting, red-colored urine, weakness, anemia.

4. Xylitol

(Found in sugarless gum.)

Why: Causes increased insulin secretion, resulting in lower blood sugar levels.
Poisonous to: Dogs.
Possible effects of poisoning: Vomiting, lethargy, lack of coordination, seizures, jaundice, diarrhea.

5. Alcoholic Drinks

Why: Depress the nervous system.
Poisonous to: All species.
Possible effects of poisoning: Vomiting, disorientation, diarrhea, lethargy, lack of coordination, difficulty breathing, tremors, coma, seizures.

6. Raw Yeast, Bread Dough

Why: Forms gas in the digestive track; fermentation of yeast causes alcohol poisoning.
Poisonous to: All species, but only dogs typically ingest it.
Possible effects of poisoning: Distention of abdomen, vomiting, disorientation, diarrhea, lethargy, lack of coordination, difficulty breathing, tremors, coma, seizures.

7. Macadamia Nuts

Why: Cause muscle and nervous-system problems.
Poisonous to: Dogs.
Possible effects of poisoning: Vomiting, lethargy, weakness, increased body temperature, tremors.

8. Avocados

Why: Contain persin, which damages the heart muscle.
Poisonous to: Most species―birds are especially sensitive.
Possible effects of poisoning: Vomiting, diarrhea (in dogs), lethargy, difficulty breathing (in birds and rodents).

jazmina88's avatar

grapes are bad….chocolate is horrible.

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