Is Chocolate Bad for Dogs? Your Questions Answered Is Chocolate Bad for Dogs? Your Questions Answered

Posted by Emma Oldroyd, on

Is Chocolate Bad for Dogs? Your Questions Answered

We all know our pets are an important family member, and when it comes to treats, some pet parents enjoy offering scraps from their own plate as a reward for good behaviour.

However, when it comes to human treats, a household favourite such as chocolate can be potentially fatal to our four-legged friends.

Our experts have put together a guide on chocolate toxicity and what to offer as an alternative, especially during chocolate heavy events such as Easter and Christmas.

Can dogs eat chocolate?

No, they can’t. Chocolate contains substances called methylxanthines, specifically caffeine and theobromine, which pets such as dogs, cats, and rabbits struggle to metabolise (break down) if they digest it.

Theobromine is present in all forms of chocolate, but there are different levels in white, milk and dark chocolate bars. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is. 

Even though the toxicity levels differ- if your pet ingests any form of chocolate, the high levels of fat and sugar can also be factors in causing a reaction, so it’s crucial to visit your vet as soon as possible.

Can dogs eat white chocolate?

Whilst white chocolate does have less of a risk to your dog than milk and dark chocolate, it's still full of sugar and fat, which could lead to other pet health issues such as pancreatitis. 


What happens if a dog eats chocolate?

There are a number of reactions dogs can have when they eat a piece of chocolate.  

Certain ingredients can cause your pet’s nervous system to go into overdrive, which may cause the following symptoms:

  • Hyperactivity or restlessness
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Urinating more than usual

If your dog is suffering from chocolate poisoning, symptoms usually appear within 2-12 hours. More severe symptoms include:

  • Quicker breathing/panting
  • Shaking
  • High temperature
  • Seizures
  • Increased heart rate
  • Muscle rigidity
  • High blood pressure

In the worst case, chocolate poisoning can prove fatal to dogs.

If you know your dog's weight and exactly what they have eaten, you can use a trusted chocolate toxicity calculator* to help you assess your dog and monitor their symptoms.


If you suspect your dog has chocolate poisoning, seek help from your vet immediately. If you have the packaging from the chocolate ingested, always take this with you.


What can I offer my dog as an alternative to chocolate?

There are so many treats available for dogs you will be spoilt for choice!

The most common chocolate alternative, which is available in most dog treats disguised as chocolate such as Easter Eggs and Advent Calendars is carob. Straight from the carob tree- carob is packed full of vitamins and is a healthy treat option for your dog.

A long-lasting treat such as YAKERS is also a good alternative, not only are they 100% natural, but they’ll keep your dog occupied for hours as they chew. Making them great for their dental health, and peace and quiet for pet parents. YAKERS also come in a range of delicious flavours including strawberry, apple and blueberry.

If you want to offer your dog something more ‘human’ then Pet Bakery artisan dog treats are a great option. Their hand made dog treat range includes liver brownies, cheese paws which look like scones and Sunday roast bones for a flavour sensation.

Try treats with purpose. The Wellness CORE Reward+ range of dog treats are not only low in calories to complement your dog’s diet, but each recipe has an additional health benefit such as calming ingredients or can help aid digestion.

Whatever your dog loves, there’s a treat range out there for them. Pop in to your local store to discover our colleague favourites, or speak to our customer care team on treats which will suit your dog’s dietary needs.


*The VetsNow chocolate toxicity calculator is a trusted resource of Blue Cross pet charity.