Protecting Dogs From Pests and Wildlife: A Pet Owner Blog

An Overview Of Chocolate Poisoning In Dogs

by Courtney Wheeler

Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, both of which are poisonous to dogs. Now, dogs aren't known for their self-control when it comes to food, so it's up to you to keep chocolate out of your dog's reach. You can minimise the risk of your dog getting their paws on chocolate by teaching your children not to share food with your dog. It's also a good idea to unpack groceries as soon as you get home from the store and be vigilant when you take your dog out for a walk, particularly if they are off the leash. Even a small amount of chocolate can damage your dog's organs, and severe poisoning can be fatal. Here's what you need to know about chocolate poisoning in dogs:


Dogs experiencing chocolate poisoning will have gastric upset, with vomiting and diarrhoea being common. A high temperature and increased heart rate often occurs, and this may make your dog pant and seem lethargic. Your dog will want to drink more, but their appetite will be reduced, and in the later stages of poisoning, muscle rigidity and seizures are to be expected.

Diagnosis And Treatment

Your vet will diagnose chocolate poisoning by taking details of your dog's symptoms and analysing a sample of their blood for the presence of theobromine. They may also collect a urine sample to establish if your dog is dehydrated. If you can, take a sample of your dog's vomit to the vet surgery, as this can help speed up their diagnosis. If your vet is concerned your dog may have organ damage, they will carry out an electrocardiogram or diagnostic imaging to assess the condition of your dog's heart, lungs and liver.

There's no antidote for chocolate poisoning, so the vet will keep your dog comfortable and administer intravenous fluids to stave off dehydration. Treatment involves using emetic drugs to rid your dog's body of the toxins, and your dog will be treated as an inpatient at the clinic. If they are experiencing seizures, they vet will administer an anticonvulsant. As your dog recovers, they will be kept on a bland, easy to digest diet for a few days to allow their gastrointestinal system to recover from the vomiting.

Chocolate poisoning should be treated as an emergency, as early intervention can save your dog's life and prevent organ damage. If you suspect your dog is experiencing any of the symptoms of chocolate poisoning, call your emergency vet right away.