Dogs and Chocolate: How Serious is the Risk?

September 5, 2013

One of the most common causes of canine poisoning is chocolate, which can sicken and even kill dogs.

In our earnest efforts to please our canine companions we often feed them 'people food'. In moderation, this is fine... but not so with chocolate.

What makes chocolate dangerous to dogs? The real danger is a substance called theobromine, a chemical compound found in chocolate... when dogs ingest theobromine they digest it extremely slowly. Dark chocolate and baker’s chocolate are riskiest; milk and white chocolate pose a much less serious risk.

We know that, unlike cats, dogs will eat just about anything they can get their mouths on. That means, as dog owners, we have to be very vigilant to keep our pets safe, especially during holidays when chocolate is abundant.

Now it is not my nature to spread sad stories just for shock effect. But if it means saving even one dog, I will relate a true story that happened to a friend of mine.

This was truly a dog-loving family. They always had a dog, usually a large dog like a Labrador, and this pet always had the status of a full fledged member of the family.

Two Christmases ago they had a wonderful and full family day of creating chocolates for Christmas presents. Dozens of chocolates were made and left to cool on racks on the kitchen counter. There were Christmas Santas, bells, and candy canes-most of them dark chocolate, great presents of love for friends and family. Everyone went to bed satisfied with the chocolate in their tummies and their presents made.

You can guess the rest of the story... they got up the next morning... chocolate was gone and the dog was dead on the kitchen floor. Just absolutely devastating!

The story is true and speaks for itself. Keep everyone in the house healthier... humans and canines alike... limit the chocolate in your home.