Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs

There are some foods which although are regularly consumed by people, can be harmful or even fatal in dogs.

An important example is CHOCOLATE.

Fatal chocolate toxicity has been reported in dogs that have ingested large amounts of chocolate or cocoa beans (or their shells). Whilst the lethal dose of milk chocolate is quite large (probably about 1kg for a 20kg dog, the lethal dose for cooking chocolate would be about 200g and dark chocolate would lie somewhere in-between.  

For this reason, we strongly recommend not to feed your dog any chocolate, even in small quantities, as the dog may search it out in future and consume large quantities and to disastrous results.

Some dog treats are called “Dog Chocs” but are usually made of carob and so are not toxic to dogs.

The toxic components of chocolate are theobromine and caffeine. Excessive intake of these compounds present in chocolate can affect the gastrointestinal system, leading to vomiting and diarrhoea, and over-stimulate the nervous system, causing seizures. It can also affect the heart, causing collapse and heart failure. 

Death by chocolate ingestion can occur 12-36 hours after ingestion so it is important that if your dog has consumed chocolate, to contact Cherrybrook Veterinary Hospital ASAP. If the dog has eaten chocolate within the past 3 hours, it is possible to evacuate the stomach contents by inducing vomiting, but this can only be done safely if the dog has not started showing any toxicity signs.

If the patient is showing typical toxicity signs such vomiting, diarrhoea or seizure activity, then immediate hospitalisation and treatment as a  toxicologic emergency is called for.

If we are able to induce vomiting within 3 hours, the prognosis is usually good; however, if a dog has advanced signs of chocolate toxicity, the prognosis may be guarded, despite treatment.

Please educate the whole family about the dangers of feeding chocolate todogs.