Have you ever wondered why dogs should not eat chocolate?

Have you ever wondered why dogs should not eat chocolate? *By DrCarmen – Follow her on Instagram here @momdoc_sa

The ingredient in chocolate, which is poisonous to dogs is called theobromine. Dogs aren’t able to metabolise this chemical properly. Theobromine belongs to a group of chemicals called methylxanthines. Methylxanthines are dangerous to dogs because they are broken down very slowly.

Whilst this chemical is swimming around in your pet’s bloodstream it binds to adenosine receptors blocking adenosine from attaching to them. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter that slows down neural activity making one feel sleepy. So methylxanthines basically act as stimulants.

Caffeine is also a methylxanthine and works in exactly the same way.

When humans drink too much coffee we start to feel nauseous, get palpitations, diarrhea, and tremors. The same thing happens to your dog with theobromine. If they consume enough they can develop seizures and die.

BUT… let’s be honest. How many of your dogs have actually eaten chocolate before and have been perfectly fine? If chocolate is so bad for dogs, why are most dogs ok after they eat it?

It’s actually the dose that’s important and the amount of chocolate a dog can safely eat depends on their weight. Your dog will probably start to experience mild symptoms if they ingest a theobromine dose of 20mg/kg.

More severe signs will start from about 40mg/kg. Therefore the smaller the dog, the more in trouble they will be. Interestingly, cats are more susceptible to theobromine poisoning but luckily they are very picky eaters who unlike our furry friends, who tend to eat anything they can find, will most likely just scoff at chocolate.

If you think your dog has eaten chocolate and you don’t know how much, you should probably take them to the vet.

Symptoms of theobromine toxicity can take up to two hours to develop.

To see more from Dr Carmen check out here Instagram page. @momdoc_sa


“I am a general practitioner and have spent most of my working career practicing medicine in the Emergency Room. I guess I love the adrenalin rush and the copious amounts of caffeine that needs to be consumed to get through a shift! Seeing patients in an emergency setting after an accident or with chronic end-stage disease made me realise my passion for disease prevention, health education and promotion. I wanted to be able to help my patient before he ended up in my ER.

With a focus on Child Health, I completed my Masters in Public Health and started my business, OneAid. I have also created this blog to share my journey as a MomDoc with you. I hope to share some useful information and tips around various child health and safety topics at home, at play and on the go to help keep your little ones healthy and safe.”

28 thoughts on “Have you ever wondered why dogs should not eat chocolate?

  1. angiem.oppelt says:

    Thank you, this is helpful, my 1 dog love coffee but I have recently stopped giving him because he gets so hyper active at night and struggle to sleep. Luckily we don’t like chocolate I’m sure I would have given them without this knowledge 😂… Thank you for the tips always

    • thandomorifi067 says:

      I never knew that dogs shouldn’t eat chocolate….. this is a very helpful information As I give my dogs most of everything I eat…..thanks

  2. Billie says:

    Thank you Dr. Carman for this information. I always wondered why we have been told not to give dogs chocolate. Now I know and can tell others. I had a few magnificent Persian cats over time and the one, my last one, Teddy, would sit on the coffee table in front of me, only when I was eating chocolate! Never ever any other time. I used to give him a bit the size of my thumb nail, and then Teddy was totally satisfied. He actually used to somehow roosh up his nose until I gave him some! Thankfully it did not affect him as it was not often!

  3. malinka says:

    Have heard that chocolate is poisonous for dogs..as a dog lover I have never even thought of giving a dog chocolate as a snack just doesn’t sound right.

  4. Ingrid says:

    I have heard of this before but not science of it. And a dog wouldn’t know not to eat it as they are always looking for a treat so us being aware and educating people who don’t know will be good for our pets.

  5. emerelda says:

    Wow so great advice and knowledge Thank you so much my kids always want to share chocolate with dogs but then I say please don’t now I can let them read this aswell

  6. Natasha says:

    Who would have known that Chocolate can be poisonous for the system of a dog. A real interesting read will definately share especially with my family and friends who has dogs. Thanks Mumbox 😉

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