Chocolate’s not good for dogs!

“Chocolate’s not good for dogs – but you can have my milk”…the Oreos’ TVC was simply gorgeous (if you can remember it or see it here).Chocolate Puppy Love

However the young boy could have shared the Oreos as there is very little actual chocolate in one of their biscuits (and some other ingredients that are far worse for kids and dogs – but that is another post).

So what is it about Chocolate and Dogs? Theobromine is the toxic agent in cocoa and dogs can’t process it as well as humans. Theobromine has less impact on humans and we tolerate much larger doses (and yes it would be possible to overdose on chocolate and quite a few of us would like to try that!)

The darker richer chocolate is the most dangerous, but it is what chocolate is packaged in that creates the attraction.

Sugar and fat, the delicious combination that has us humans drooling is also very attractive to dogs (whereas cats don’t have a sweet tooth). Chocolate – the cocoa – is not at all sweet or even particularly attractive to the taste buds, but is made so with the addition of sugar and fats (some of which is cocoa butter). Fortunately (well for dogs at least) the more sugar and fat the less actual cocoa there usually is. Hence the point about Oreos.

So how much ‘chocolate’ is dangerous and should have you rushing your dog to the vet? I found this very helpful toxicity calculator at Ask the Vet and you can quickly find the answer to that critical question. Simply put, Milk Chocolate (or a packet of Tim Tams) is less dangerous – Theobromine wise – than that designer brand hand made Super Dark Chocolate, a small amount of which can be of consequence.

Calculator provided by

Note there is often discussion of Caffeine in Chocolate but actual Cocoa has very little (or no) Caffeine however it could be added by the manufacturer of the ‘chocolate bar’ for added buzz. Caffeine is not good for dogs either.  

I will assume that the problems is going to arise from the Self Service department of your dog’s delights, that is – the chocolate is stolen and a larger amount is ingested (the whole block or packet).

If this is the case, the symptoms to look out for are:

Vomiting and/or Diarrhoea in very mild case through to

Seizures, Tremors and even Coma in full toxicity.

If in doubt at all, consult your Veterinarian.