Why is Chocolate Toxic to Dogs and Cats?

Why is chocolate toxic to dogs and cats?

The holidays are upon us! Who doesn’t crave a piece of chocolate now and then? Unfortunately, the ingestion of chocolate for pets can have serious side effects for them. We will answer the common question, “Why is chocolate toxic to dogs and cats?”, as well as discuss signs, treatment and prevention options for chocolate poisoning in pets.

Why is Chocolate Toxic to Dogs and Cats?

Why is chocolate toxic to dogs and cats?

Chocolate contains two ingredients that are toxic in large quantities: a chemical called theobromine and caffeine. Not all types of chocolate have the same amounts of theobromine and caffeine. Therefore, the amount and type of chocolate your dog or cat eats will play a role in its toxic effects.

For example, white chocolate and milk chocolate consist of fewer toxic ingredients than baking chocolate and cocoa beans. Keep in mind, other household items can contain cocoa beans too, such as the popular item cocoa mulch. It is essential to keep your dogs and cats away from this type of mulch, particularly when it is fresh and has a strong cocoa smell.

Signs of Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs and Cats

Cats and dogs are both at risk of chocolate poisoning. However, there’s more cases of dogs being affected since dogs generally eat just about anything.

Also, smaller pets face much greater risk of chocolate toxicity than larger dogs because it only takes a small amount of chocolate to negatively affect them.

If you believe your dog may have eaten any chocolate, look for the following symptoms:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased urination

If the theobromine poisoning is not recognized and treated, your dog’s condition could deteriorate and the following could occur:

  • Seizures
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Internal bleeding
  • Heart attack
  • Death

The following are signs of chocolate poisoning in cats:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased reflex responses
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Rapid breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Advanced signs: cardiac failure, weakness and coma)

Treatment for Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs and Cats

Unfortunately, there’s no specific antidote for pets that have ingested chocolate. If you believe your dog or cat has eaten chocolate, contact your veterinarian at All Pets immediately.

Depending on the amount and type of chocolate ingested, we will recommend the best treatment option for you pet.

Prevention of Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs and Cats

In the right quantities, chocolate can become toxic for any dog or cat. Therefore, be wary of feeding your pet anything that might contain chocolate.

Ultimately, the best way to prevent chocolate poisoning in dogs and cats is by keeping all chocolate out of reach of them.


These are just the basics of “Why is chocolate toxic to dogs and cats?” Contact us at All Pets with the link below for more information or to schedule an appointment with your vet today!

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