If your dog often sneaks out yummy treats in the kitchen, they will not spare the chocolates. And, well, it can be hard to resist their puppy eyes asking for it. So if you are wondering, “can dogs eat chocolate?” here is your answer-
No. It would be best if you NEVER feed your dog chocolate. They can cause severe issues to your dog’s health. We have covered everything from the risks and signs to prevention and alternatives!
What Does Chocolate Consist of?
There are hundreds of chocolates in the market around the globe. Every chocolate has a different flavor, texture, and ingredients. However, chocolate is a chocolate. Here are the ingredients that make chocolate:
- Cocoa solids
- Cocoa butter
- Milk or milk powder
- Artificial colors
- Vegetable fat
Cocoa butter has high levels of theobromine. Theobromine is similar to caffeine in its effects (article). It is a toxin to dogs and can lower their blood pressure. If your dog has injected cocoa butter in high amounts, you should consult your veterinarian immediately.
There are no specific benefits of serving chocolate to your dog. On the other hand, chocolate has vegetable oils that can cause your dog harm. High fat can lead to pancreatitis in dogs. If your dog suffers from obesity, you should keep chocolates far away from them.
Out of sight, out of mind.
Another harmful ingredient in chocolate is the sugar. Unless you buy a bar of sugar-free chocolate, it consists of unhealthy levels of sweetness that are toxic to dogs. Especially if your dog is diabetic, sugar and chocolate can be poison.
Why Can’t Dogs Eat Chocolate? What Are The Risks Involved?
Chocolates are one of the human foods that are not safe for dogs. Here are the reasons why:
1. Theobromine toxicity
Dogs cannot consume theobromine like humans. It can be toxic to dogs at high levels as their metabolism does not react well. Hence, you should not feed your dog food items that include theobromine.
2. High rate increase
Chocolate has caffeine, so your dog can suffer from high heart rate. They might act hyperactive and restless. It is due to their high heart rate and blood pressure (study). You should seek veterinary attention immediately.
Although it is rare, excessive amounts of chocolate can lead to increased levels of theobromine. There are chances that it can lead to fatality if not given immediate veterinary care.
Are All Types of Chocolate Toxic to Dogs?
1. Dark chocolate
We do not recommend serving your dog dark chocolate at all. It has high levels of cocoa and theobromine. These are toxic to dogs and can cause cardiac issues. This is why it should be avoided at all costs, especially for small dogs. They have smaller tummies and can get sick very easily with small amounts of dark chocolate.
2. White chocolate
You might think white chocolate might not harm your dog as it is all milk. But that is wrong! White chocolate is made solely out of cocoa butter (article). Hence, it also has theobromine. There are chances that it can be deadly if a dog consumes it in heavy amounts (article).
Also, if your doggo is lactose intolerant, you should not serve them white chocolate or any other chocolate. They can show signs of allergies like diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal pain.
3. Milk chocolate
It would help not to give even half a bar of milk chocolate. It also includes the same ingredients as white and dark chocolate. If consumed in large amounts, it can lead to serious illness. And trust us- you don’t want to go through that nightmare. Even though milk chocolates look like they don’t have cocoa in them, they do come from the non-fat part of the same cocoa solids.
4. Cocoa powder
If you caught your dog digging its nose and paws in cocoa powder- it probably ingested it. In such cases, you should seek veterinary attention immediately without waiting for the symptoms to occur. Cocoa powder has more than 50% of theobromine, which can cause severe illness in dogs.
What to Do If My Dog Ate Chocolate?
1. Contact your veterinarian
If your dog ate chocolate, you must immediately contact your veterinarian. It is important not to experiment at home to cure your dog. Please do not induce vomiting unless your veterinarian guides you for it. It can be risky and may worsen the condition. Once your veterinarian checks your dog, please provide all the information. It will help them to make the correct diagnosis. The vet may give your dog medicines and try to reduce the toxicity levels.
2. Do not wait for the symptoms to occur
Another very crucial part that dog parents miss out on is that they wait for the symptoms of it. After eating chocolate, it can take 6- 12 hours for your dog to show signs. It does not mean that chocolate has not harmed your dog. If you saw your dog sneaking the bar of chocolate, contact your veterinarian immediately. Please do not wait for your dog to weaken or show signs of poisoning. The sooner you take the action, the better.
3. Prevention tips for future
Next time, if you buy chocolate bars, hide them from your dog. Especially if you are leaving your dog with children, monitor their activity. Children can feed dogs chocolates in the name of “sharing is caring.” You must not keep it handy or at their eye level if they are home alone.
Signs of Chocolate Poisoning
If your dog already ate chocolate, they may or may not show the immediate signs of poisoning. As a responsible parent, you should watch your pooch until they get veterinary attention. Here is the list of signs and symptoms your dog can show if they ate chocolate:
- Increased breathing rate
- High blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
- Abdominal pain
- Loose stools
Alternatives of Chocolate For Dogs
If we ask you for alternatives for chocolate, you would probably say- “chocolates cannot be replaced!” and we agree. But we must go the extra mile to find safer alternatives for our dogs. So we did our homework and got you five healthy alternatives for serving your dog chocolates!
1. Buttery treats
Instead of serving your dog melted chocolates, you can toss them buttery treats! For example, you can make buttery tilapia delight for your pup. You must prepare the tilapia fish, chop it into bite-sized pieces, and fry in small amounts of butter.
Ensure only to use unsalted butter in small quantities. This will be your dog’s healthy, pleasurable, buttery treat.
2. Peanut butter and oats bar
Another exciting alternative to chocolate is the peanut butter and oats bar. Peanut butter is far safer than chocolates or regular butter. Here is what you have to do:
Step 1: Mix peanut butter and cooked oats together to make a thick batter (like a cookie batter)
Step 2: Add their favorite treats like chopped cashews or blueberries to enhance the flavor.
Step 3: Freeze the mixture overnight in a chocolate bar mold and tada!
Your delicious peanut butter and oats bars are ready! You and your dog both can enjoy these treats. However, as peanut butter is there, it should be fed in moderation only.
3. Crispy veggies
This is an alternative if your dog likes frozen and crunchy chocolate bars! You can substitute chocolate bars with crispy veggies. For example- broccoli, cooked edamame, or even crispy bacon. You can serve your dog these alternatives occasionally in moderation.
4. Dog biscuits
And how can we forget crunchy and yummy dog treats? They are healthy and are made of ingredients specifically for dogs. You can find the dog treats that your dog loves the most. Please avoid feeding them chocolate cookies or brownies. They are also toxic to dogs.
5. Fruity yogurt bars
Last, if your dog loves sweet treats, why give them chocolate when you can give them a fruity delight? All you have to do is follow these three simple steps:
Step 2: Pour plain unsweetened yogurt into that bowl (You can choose if you want more fruits or more yogurt consistency).
Step 3: Freeze the mixture in an ice tray.
And there you have it! The fruity popsicles.
Note: Please do not serve your dog this treat if they have diabetes. Also, even if they do not have diabetes, it should be an occasional treat.
Our final thoughts on “can dogs eat chocolate?” is NO. It would help if you did not feed your dog chocolate. Even small amounts of chocolate can harm your dog. Another crucial thing is that you should not wait for the symptoms to hit your dog. You can explore other human foods you and your pup can enjoy together.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have a medium to large-sized dog, a tiny lick of chocolate may not harm them. But the same amount can harm a small-sized dog. Also, it all depends upon the ability to digest theobromine, a major ingredient in cocoa butter. You should avoid giving chocolate to dogs at all costs and consult your veterinarian if they ate a piece or two of chocolate. Please do not wait for the symptoms to hit.
Yes, chocolate chips are, again, just chocolate. Be it milk, white, or dark chocolate, it should not be served to dogs. Although 1-2 chocolate chips should not make your dog sick, you must consult your veterinarian. Every dog has different digesting abilities, and 1-2 chocolate chips may or may not harm your dog immensely.
No, chocolate donuts are dunked in large quantities of chocolate. You may wish more chocolate in your donuts, but it is toxic to dogs. It would help if you never feed your dog chocolate donuts in any amount. They also have the same ingredients as theobromine in the chocolate, which can make your dog very ill. If your dog ate a chocolate donut, consult your veterinarian immediately.
There is no fixed time for chocolate to show effects on dogs. The estimated time can be 6-12 hours after eating chocolate. However, it might be different for all the dogs. If your dog ate chocolate, do not wait for them to show any signs. You must contact your veterinarian immediately.