Dogs Health Cards N°22. Did you know that chocolate is toxic to your dog?



Chocolate, however good it may be, should not be offered to your pet. It contains, in fact, a substance called theobromine, which has a high toxicity which can even lead to the death of your animal.


Theobromine is present in varying quantities in the various kinds of chocolates: it is about three times more present in dark chocolate than in milk chocolate and is almost absent in white chocolate (dark chocolate contains about 6.5 mg of theobromine / G compared to 2.1 mg / g in milk chocolate)

Toxic doses range between 100 and 300 mg of theobromine absorbed per kilogram (a dose of 150-300 grams of dark chocolate for a 10 kg dog), but they seem to vary greatly from one individual to another.


Symptoms associated with intoxication appear within 2 to 4 hours after ingestion of the chocolate:

- Digestive signs are noted with vomiting, possible salivation and dark colored diarrhea. These digestive signs are accompanied by an abnormal agitation of the animal.

- After a few hours, serious heart problems occur: heart rate increases (tachycardia), hypertension and rhythm disorders can occur.

To these anomalies are added nervous disorders: The animal seems hyperreactive (it reacts very strongly at the slightest stimulation), it presents an abnormal gait (with an incoordination of the movements) and can begin to convulse or even fall into the coma .


The prognosis of chocolate poisoning is reserved because there is no antidote capable of eliminating theobromine from the body of the animal. If you suspect this poisoning in your pet, you should go to your veterinarian as soon as possible.

He will put in place a symptomatic treatment:

If swallowing of the chocolate occurred shortly before the emergency consultation, it will cause the animal to vomit to limit the absorption of theobromine or to carry out a gastric lavage.
Activated charcoal will then be administered every three hours, always to reduce the amount of theobromine absorbed by the body.
The animal will be placed under an infusion to combat the ionic imbalances caused by chocolate.
Anti-convulsants will help fight seizures.
A cardiac treatment will aim to decrease the heart rate and to regulate the rhythm disorders.
The speed at which treatment is implemented improves prognosis. It is therefore advisable not to wait for the first symptoms before contacting your veterinarian.

Chocolate ingestion is harmful to the dog. Its toxicity varies according to the individual (each individual seems more or less sensitive), age and health of the animal (puppies, elderly dogs, kidney and liver failure are more Sensitive) and the type of chocolate ingested (dark chocolate being more toxic than milk chocolate).

The toxicity of chocolate can be acute (a dog who has stolen and absorbed chocolate chips may have severe heart rhythm disorders and die within 18 to 24 hours after the onset of these disorders) but also cumulative Regular absorption of small amounts of chocolate distributed by the owners may be accompanied by the appearance of cardiac disorders). Any administration of chocolate is therefore to be avoided in your animal.