Can Dogs Get Sick From Chocolate?

If you're feeling like a sweet treat, nothing hits the spot quite like chocolate. Not only does the flavor taste great, it also interacts with us on a chemical level! Cocoa is packed with benefits to humans. It can reduce blood pressure, improve your memory and even make your mood better! The richer the better, with dark chocolate being proven to lower stress and help us absorb sugars. So, if chocolate is so good for us, is it good for our canine companions? Or does chocolate make dogs sick?

Can Dogs Get Sick From Chocolate?


Chocolate and dogs simply do not mix. The smaller the dog and the darker the chocolate, the worse the interaction will be - some even fatal! What works out to be a nice buzz in humans can over stimulate a pooch to the point where his heart quits. It's the combination of theobromine and caffeine that proves to be too much for pups. At best, your dog will probably have some pretty nasty tummy troubles after getting into some chocolate, so it's best to avoid the situation if possible.

Does My Dog Have Chocolate Poisoning?

If you suspect that your four-legged friend has dabbled with the dark stuff, you should take him to a clinic or animal hospital at once! It's better to be safe than sorry in these cases.

If your dog has eaten chocolate, it will likely start to have severe tummy sicknesses like vomiting and diarrhea. The stimulants in the chocolate will begin to make your pooch's heart race. Severe poisoning can even lead to seizures, coma or death.

Eating any type of chocolate can lead to sickness in dogs. In general, the darker the chocolate, the less of it needed to cause serious problems.

Call your vet as soon as you suspect that Fido has gotten into the fudge. The longer you wait, the more of the toxin will have entered the bloodstream. Your vet will give you instructions and probably get you to make your pup throw up before bringing him into the clinic. With poisonings, it's best not to wait until the substance eaten is confirmed.

If you'd like to read up on chocolate poisoning, give this article a look: Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs.

How Do I Treat My Dog's Chocolate Poisoning?

So, it seems likely that your dog has downed a Hershey bar, now what? Fast action can help get the toxins out before they wreak havoc.

If it's been two hours or less since your pooch got into the treats, making him throw up will probably get most of the badness out. Activated charcoal can also help collect the toxins and clear them out of the body. Worst case scenario, your dog will be supported with IV fluids and coping medications until the poisoning runs its course.

A mild poisoning will have finished in about 6 hours. A major case can take a day or more to clear out of the body. Unfortunately, some dogs do not make it even with supportive care.

Want to read stories from other owners whose naughty canines have raided their cupboards for cocoa? Check out Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs.

How Are the Effects of Chocolate Similar in Dogs and Humans?

The chemicals in chocolate cause some of the same things to happen whether you walk on two legs or four. These effects include:

  • Bowel and stomach issues

  • Racing heart beat

  • Central nervous system stimulation

How Are the Effects of Chocolate Different in Dogs and Humans?

Obviously, there are some pretty big differences in how chocolate affects us versus our pooches, or snacking people would be dropping like flies everywhere. Main differences are:

  • Dogs get severe gastrointestinal upset, while people tend to just have a bit of heartburn or bloating

  • Chocolate can cause muscle tremors and even seizures in dogs

  • Humans experience a boost in good hormones after munching some cocoa

Case Study

Teaching your dog not to steal food isn't the easiest thing to do, but it can prevent a lot of trouble. One beagle let his bad dog out and snatched his owner’s chocolate bar off of the couch, immediately scarfing it down. Soon after, he got super thirsty and started throwing up. After calling their vet, the owners induced even more puke, and brought the dog into the clinic. After a quick exam, the vet put the dog on IV fluids and gave him activated charcoal. These efforts were not in vain, and the pup, although still a bit naughty, went on to live through the incident.

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