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Is Chocolate Dangerous for Dogs?


Enjoying a Happy Easter with Your Dog


Barking Mad dog sitting - Can dogs eat chocolate

Barking Mad office dog Blue crunching her Easter carrot


As the long Easter Bank Holiday weekend begins, you can’t fail to have noticed that there is an abundance of chocolate everywhere. In terms of safeguarding your canine best friend’s well-being, Easter eggs can be a nightmare. Once you have bypassed the packaging and the foil, there lurks a sweet treat which isn’t exactly healthy for humans but can be really dangerous for dogs. Your dog may routinely be given ‘treats’ but chocolate is definitely not a good idea!

Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, released shocking survey data ahead of Easter 2016 claiming that, ‘half of dog owners will inadvertently put their four legged family members at risk,’ over the bank holiday weekend. In a really informative article about the dangers of dogs eating chocolate they state that, ‘Over 48% of pet dogs have eaten chocolate intended for humans, and over 5% have become seriously ill from it.’ They go on to point out that, ‘sadly many dog owners are simply unaware of the dangers’ and ‘4 in 10 dogs had found chocolate themselves after it was left in easy to find places in the home.’

With the RSPCA stating that, ‘Chocolate poisoning is the most commonly reported type of dog poisoning reported to the Veterinary Poisons Information Service,’ this is clearly an issue that no dog owner can afford to ignore and extra vigilance is required during holiday periods when rich food can be found in most households.

Why is chocolate so dangerous for dogs?

The toxic component of chocolate is theobromine. Humans can easily metabolize this but our four legged friends process it much more slowly, allowing it to build up to dangerous levels in their system. The hazard to your dog however, depends on the type of chocolate, the size of dog, and the amount consumed. In large enough amounts, chocolate and cocoa products can kill your dog.

A large dog can consume a great deal more chocolate than a small dog before it will suffer ill effects. It’s also worth remembering that different types of chocolate have different levels of theobromine. Cocoa, cooking chocolate and dark chocolate have the highest levels while milk chocolate and white chocolate have the lowest.

What should I look out for?

You should never give your dog chocolate but it can be tricky to know what to do if your best friend manages to get their paws on some. If your pet is showing any of the following symptoms it could be a sign chocolate toxicity:

If you suspect your dog has consumed any chocolate, particularly dark or raw, contact your vet. Acting quickly is extremely important as with all cases of poisoning!

Tips for a happy Easter with your dog

Please note:
Barking Mad, the UK’s leading home dog boarding provider, assumes no liability for the content of this page. This advice is not a substitute for a proper consultation with a vet and is only intended as a guide. Please contact your local veterinary practice for advice or treatment immediately if you are worried about your pet’s health – even if they are closed, they will always have an out of hours service available.

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