Dog Care

Why Can’t Dogs Eat Chocolate? Inquiring Minds Want To Know!

Why Can’t Dogs Eat Chocolate? Inquiring Minds Want To Know!

Written By Amica Graber

Aug 17, 2016

What could be better than cuddling up on the couch with your fur-baby, a box of chocolates, and a glass of wine? Um, nothing?

But beware. Keep an eye on your dog while you’re skimming through the latest offerings on Netflix. If your pet should wolf down your sweet snacks, it has the potential to be a disaster.  

Why Can’t Dogs Eat Chocolate?

Dogs can’t eat chocolate because it’s poochy poison! Cocoa contains theobromine, which is toxic for dogs. Humans have an enzyme which allows us to break down theobromine, but dogs do not. Theobromine can overstimulate your dog’s nervous and cardiovascular systems, leading to increased blood pressure, vomiting, and seizures. It’s potentially fatal.

Related: Can Dogs Eat Peanuts? A Dog Owner’s Guide To Healthy Snacking!

My Dog Ate Chocolate! What Do I Do?

Isn’t amazing how your couch-potato pooch can suddenly become a stealthy ninja when treats are involved? All it takes is a second for Fido to grab a big piece of chocolate in his mouth and head for the hills. So what do you do? 

First, figure out what kind of chocolate your dog ate. White chocolate and milk chocolate contain smaller amounts of theobromine, but dark chocolate contains way more. The toxicity will depend on the size of your dog and how much chocolate they ate. Contact your vet immediately, just to be safe.

Related: Which Pet Insurance Is Right For Tater Tot? 

Wait! You were having a midnight snack, and your dog seized the goods! Your vet isn’t open right now — now what?

Don’t panic. Luckily, there are 24-hour pet poison hotlines that can help you.

Pet Poison Hotlines

ASPCA Pet Poison Helpline

There’s a $65 charge per incident with free follow-up calls. Call them at 1-888-426-4435.

Animal Poison Hotline

There’s a fee of $35 per incident. Call them at 1-888-232-8870

Pet Poison Helpline

You’ll pay $39, but follow-up calls are free. Dial 1-800-213-6680 for immediate assistance.

Kansas State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital

If you’re strapped for cash, don’t worry. Kansas State offers a FREE 24-hour poison control hotline. It may be a short wait to get in touch with a vet, but if you can’t afford a consultation fee, call them at 1-785-532-5679.

Keep these numbers in your address book. In the event that you can’t reach your vet in a timely manner, these hotlines can advise on almost any pet poisoning incident.