Why is Chocolate Toxic for Dogs? Pets & Friends Guide to Alternative Treats Why is Chocolate Toxic for Dogs? Pets & Friends Guide to Alternative Treats

Posted by Emma Oldroyd, on

Why is Chocolate Toxic for Dogs? Pets & Friends Guide to Alternative Treats

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.

Here at Pets & Friends we want to help you take the best care of your pet, so we’ve put together a guide on chocolate toxicity and what to offer as an alternative, especially during chocolate heavy events such as Easter and Christmas.

Why is chocolate toxic for dogs?

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.

How do I know if my dog is suffering from theobromine poisoning?

Theobromine is like caffeine, which can cause your pet’s nervous system to go into overdrive, symptoms include the following:

  • 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 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?

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

The obvious 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.

Low calorie treats which complement your dog’s daily diet are also a great alternative, choosing their favourite meaty flavours such as chicken or salmon. Here at Pets & Friends we stock delicious dog treats in a range of ‘human’ flavours; including liver brownies and cheese bites!

Shop our full range of dog treats online or in-store!