Why Can't Dogs Eat Chocolate?

Text added to original photo.
Text added to original photo. | Source

What Is So Bad About Chocolate?

Chocolate is severely toxic to dogs because it contains theobromine. This is a stimulant that affects the nervous system and heart muscle, as well as increasing the frequency of urination.

Dogs can't metabolize theobromine as effectively as humans. This allows it to build up in their system until it reaches toxic levels of concentration. This may lead to a variety of health problems including death due to cardiac arrest.

The less the dog weighs, the more you should be worried because the toxicity levels are higher.

My Grand-dog Bo. Cool guy.
My Grand-dog Bo. Cool guy.

More Dangerous Toxins

Here is a list of other foods that can be highly toxic to dogs:

  • sugarless candies
  • raw salmon
  • onion (large quantities)
  • garlic (large quantities)
  • grapes
  • raisins
  • mushrooms
  • mistletoe berries (we normally don't pay any attention to these during the holidays but our pets do!)
  • caffeine

Of course, there are the normal things to beware of in your household as well, such as anti-freeze, rat poisons, paint thinners, cleaning fluids, and so forth. So if you have a pet in your home, take the same precautions you would if you had a small child.

Another one of Bo.
Another one of Bo.

Comments 71 comments

Susan Ng profile image

Susan Ng 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Onions, garlic and mushrooms? Are they still toxic to dogs even when they're cooked in a dish? :O

Bonnie Ramsey profile image

Bonnie Ramsey 8 years ago from United States Author

According to the research I did, it makes no difference if they are cooked or not. It is a million wonders I haven't killed every dog I've had! LOL. My sister has a golden retriever that kept staying sick and she couldn't figure out why. When she got an email about raisins being toxic, she thought about the dog eating raisin bran pretty often. She stopped feeding her the raisin bran and she has been fine ever since. Strange, isn't it?


Maddie Ruud profile image

Maddie Ruud 8 years ago from Oakland, CA

Interesting that this request came up just after I published my own hub on substances toxic to dogs. For reference, you can find it at:

Bonnie Ramsey profile image

Bonnie Ramsey 8 years ago from United States Author

Wow, Maddie! That is awsome! I was just looking for the chocolate and happened to find the few extra I have here but your list is remarkable! You did an excellent job and I am gonna tell ya so in the comments there! LOL. Thanks for sharing this!


Susan Ng profile image

Susan Ng 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

I know. I've fed dogs leftover food with onions, garlic, or mushrooms countless times but they never showed any signs of illness. :O I better be more careful what I feed the dogs from now on. Thanks for the info, Bonnie. :)

Bonnie Ramsey profile image

Bonnie Ramsey 8 years ago from United States Author

No problem. Be sure to check out Maddie's, though. She has a world of great info in hers!


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California


I am a "dog food only" kind of pet owner. I think it is healthier for the dog, but thanks for the info.

Bonnie Ramsey profile image

Bonnie Ramsey 8 years ago from United States Author

Thanks for stopping by and posting Doghouse! I used to be but was advised by the vet to start giving my dog people food after he became ill from severe iron deficiency after eating dog food for many years. He told me to think healthy. If it was healthy for us it was healthy for them. (As far as meats). I only have one now as my oldest one died at 16 years old. I just boil or bake enough of what meat we are eating for the "babies, or rather baby" to eat with us. He is also healthy and getting old ike his Mama LOL.


Rob Jundt profile image

Rob Jundt 8 years ago from Midwest USA

I once had a dog of mine eat an entire solid chocolate Easter bunny. About two years later she developed severe epilepsy. Three years later she died. The dog was only 8 or 9. There is truth here.

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia

Baker's chocolate should be avoided at all cost, but for the most part milk chocolate doesn't have as much theobromine in it to do anything but cause a minor reaction unless the dog is actually allergic to chocolate, which is usually the case. Most vets say to avoid it, but usually it's to prevent an allergic reaction versus the toxicity of barker's chocolate which can cause severe health concerns, sickness, and death.

So many people ask, 'my dog just ate a chocolate chip cookie, is he going to be ok?' and the answer is yes unless the dog is allergic to chocolate.

Rob, epilepsy would not have been caused by a chocolate Easter bunny. It's usually a hereditary disorder but can also be caused by car accidents and other trauma to the brain.

By the way Bonnie, Bo's a gorgeous dog!

Bonnie Ramsey profile image

Bonnie Ramsey 8 years ago from United States Author

Hi, Rob! Thanks for stopping by. Whitney is right. The chocolate would have had a reaction a lot sooner if it would have made him ill. I know it is hard to lose one you love. I just lost my peek-a-weenie last year at the ripe old age of 16 and we had him for 12 of those years.

Whitney, I always appreciate your comments! You always have something good to add. Oh, and I certainly agree about BO! But then I am a bit biased! LOL. My daughter had to raise him on a bottle and at the time we were all in the same house so he was Grammy and Paws baby, too. And to think I used to be one of those who was terrified of a APBT! The only real problem with Bo is that he doesn't understand the concept that Grammy's lap did NOT grow with Bo LOL. He still crawls up in our lap and we groan and grit our teeth until the 100 lbs. of solid rock get situated where he wants to be LOL. He misses Grammy and Paw since they moved and always goes nutso when we he sees us!


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia

Bonnie, I feel ya! MIA is a blue APBT, 9 months, 60 lbs, and still growing. She doesn't realize she's note 8 pound puppy anymore. She has to nap in you lap or she can't nap at all. She climbs in your lap at the computer. It's ridiculous.

I do want to add to my previous comment, though. Although, not all dogs are allergic to regular chocolate, I still wouldn't recommend sharing the occassional oreo or M&M. I'd rather be save than sorry and not share chocolate of any kind in order to prevent an allergic reaction and an emergency trip to the vet.

May I ask why she cropped the ears? And how you guys came to get him before he was weaned?

Bonnie Ramsey profile image

Bonnie Ramsey 8 years ago from United States Author

She is here now and she said that their ears were so big that the vet said they were more prone to ear infections. They still have his Mama. Mya. When Mya had her litter, all of them died except Bo and they said it would be best to get him away from Mya in case he was sick because they will kill and eat them if they are ill. That is why he was raised on a bottle. There is a story behind Mya which I intend to cover in my next hub tonight so be sure to watch for it. There will be pics, too. The hub will be called "Is that pawprints I see on your back?"


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia

Hmm.. That's not true, and a major myth to ear croppings. What about beagles and basset hounds with extremely long ears? It's just not true that long ears can increase risk of ear infections, usually lazy people will claim this is the reason to crop dog's ears. Not saying anything about your daughter as the vet told her this, just why other people who claim this do it.

If you clean the dog's ears, no matter how long, you shouldn't have a problem with ear infections.

Personally, I'd find another vet.. :-\

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia

I'm entering my link in a separate comment, in case you would prefer it not in the hub. But, I have a hub about ear cropping and tail docking. It's mostly from a personal standpoint towards people who think it's "cool", but it has procedures, pictures, and videos.

Oh, and I slightly touched on the ear infection thing when I wrote it.

Bonnie Ramsey profile image

Bonnie Ramsey 8 years ago from United States Author

You are very welcome, Decrescendo. Thanks for stopping by!


fruitoftheloomis profile image

fruitoftheloomis 8 years ago

I would also add that the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is. Milk chocolate needs higher doses to be toxic than dark.

Bonnie Ramsey profile image

Bonnie Ramsey 8 years ago from United States Author

Fotl, thanks for stopping by and I am glad that you added this as I have been finding that out since posting this hub. I figure I would rather be safe than sorry so Pug knows that chocolate is a "no, no" for him LOL. Fortunately, he never did like it!


Thanks for posting your link. I don't mind that when it isrelevant to the hub at all. This is a very important hub and since my daughter is here with us now, I will be showing it to her! The tail docking on Bo's part was the fact that he can seriously abuse a person with that whip! LOL. Jenny said if she ever had another one she would keep the ears and dock the tail for this reason LOL. He really works on Grammy and Paw because he gets so excited when he is around us. And Lord help us if we have a drink on the coffee table! That thing is like a steel rod and he can just clear the coffee table when he is happily walking by! LMBO!


coffeeconnoisseur profile image

coffeeconnoisseur 8 years ago from Portland, Oregon

I had a Lab that managed to find the Easter Bunnie's hiding spot BEFORE he hid the chocolate bunnies from the children.

Kelli ate about 4 pounds of milk chocolate and the foil wrap around them. When we discovered the shredded remainders of the foil, I was sure that she would be very sick and perhaps die. But neither ocurred. Our vet also indicated that the dog and chocolate combination is more of a wives tale than reality.

A couple of weeks later this same "chow hound" found the can of cat food that my husband had attempted to open but only succeeded in popping off the key ring.

We came home after work to shredded cat food label on the floor and not a remnant of the can or the food itself.

I freaked! This time I was certain Kelli would die from internal bleeding and that it was going to be very messy. I stayed with her for two days awaiting some sign that she was ill.

I didn't happen.

Kelli lived to be 14 years old and died because of cancer. We have always been amused and amazed by her 'iron gut'.

Bonnie Ramsey profile image

Bonnie Ramsey 8 years ago from United States Author

Hi, Coffeconnoisseur!

Thanks for stoppping by! The level of toxicity will vary from one dog to another. Also, chocolate easter bunnies are usually made from milk chocolate, which is not as toxic as Baker's chocolate. As for the can of cat food, I suppose she had an angel watching over her . Or maybe, like you said, she had an iron gut LOL.

I have had dogs in the past to eat things they weren't supposed to and survive as well. I guess a lot depends on the dog itself, just as it varies as to what humans can withstand and how their bodies react to certain things. I guess all we can do is try our best to avoid those things that are dangerous to them as much as possible and if they do happen to get something they shouldn't, take the necessary actions to get help. Sounds like Kelli was an amazing pet!


Frances 8 years ago

My dog just ate a small portion of a chocolate chip cookie. Above there is a comment saying their dog ate one & was fine. My pup is a toy poodle & only weighs 6-8 lbs.

What symptoms would the dog show if it did make him sick?

This is my 2nd scare as he did get into my Grandchildrens Easter basket, yet back then, we determined he hadn't eaten any at all.

I'd greatly appreciate any info on the symptoms. Meanwhile, *fingers crossed* all will be okay tonight.

coodles07 7 years ago

Thank you for posting this information. It's really helpful. I never knew what harms dogs in chocolate and this information helped out a lot! thanx!!!

Coodles07 7 years ago

I have a question that maybe you coould answer. MY dog eats grass sometimes nd i don't know why is it just a habt of is something wrong?

Bonnie Ramsey profile image

Bonnie Ramsey 7 years ago from United States Author


Thanks for stopping by! Dogs eat grass normally when their tummy is upset or if their body needs extra protien. If their tummy is upset, the excess protien in the grass will make them either throw up what is irritating them or sometimes will settle their tummy. Hope this helps!

coodles07 7 years ago

i have another queston for you that maybe you could answer.Why do dogs slep so much? And is it just dogs or all pets?

Josie 7 years ago


My dog ate a whole box of choclate while i was at school....!!!!!!!

im really worried, he is a boxer and he does not weigh as much as the average boxer. Can you please help me im sooooo scared!!!!! im only 13 and i love my dog to death!!!!!!!

i don't know what to do, i think we might take him to the vet but im not exactly sure....... i think we will!!!!!

please help me

Bonnie Ramsey profile image

Bonnie Ramsey 7 years ago from United States Author


I'm not sure whether the chocolate was a milk or dark chocolate. Milk chocolate is not quite as toxic as the dark. However, even with milk chocolate, you may want to call your vet and let them know what has happened. Your vet will advise you as to whether to bring him on in or to watch for certain symptoms. I wish you all the best!

Josie 7 years ago


thankyou so much for replying. My dog i think is fine, but we did call our vet and he said to look and see if hes acting different or not as active as usual. Franky (my dog) is tottaly fine!!!!!!!!!!

like i said thanks for replying!!!!!!!

Carol 7 years ago

I had a Chinese pug with whom I shared bags of Hershey"s minatures with all the time / (a bag at a time) and she never got sick, or had any ill effects. She lived to be fifteen years old. did not know the dangers then (70-80's) would never take the chance with Boston Terrier that i have now111111

Joni 7 years ago

If your dog likes to eat cookies with you then there is a way to share the cookie snacks. I was at pet smart the other day and found these carob chip dog cookies. I acually ate a piece and it really does taste almost the same. looks like real chocolate chip cookies and your dog will never ever know the difference. My three yr old ate one and he couldn't tell a difference in them. but besides cookies they have a huge selection of all kinds of niffty snacks.

Calista 7 years ago

I am happy that my dog isn't allergic to ice cream....but thanks for the tips

Booba 6 years ago

I've never gave chocolate to my dog. But thanks cuz i thought it didn't do anything harmless cuz last time i had some i was going to give him some,but i didn't I WAS SCARED TO. THANKS BONNIE YOU HELPED ME A lot AND SAVED MY DOGS LIFE!!

BrittneyB 6 years ago

Wow I had know idea dogs couldn't have grapes. I fed my dog grapes not a whole bag or anything but at least four or five. Thanks for letting me know this.

Tebonin 6 years ago

Oh no.. I haven't gave chocolate to my dog that is true. But i am just thinking to give him some. When he looks at me...I just can't stop feeding him.

Brett Gravener 6 years ago

I went to college and earned a certificate in animal care so believe what i say, Dogs cant eat chocolate because when you eat your body digests food rite but with dogs when they eat chocolate it enters their belly and stays there because the acid in their stomach doesn't break it up, only over a few weeks it breaks up, and the best food for a dog is dry food and tinned but i prefer dry because wet food goes off over night, if your dog doesn't like dry food then put gravy in it and the dog will love it just like we do with our sunday dinner. thank you

stars439 profile image

stars439 6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Wonderful hub in the interest of man's best friend. God Bless You.

josh 5 years ago

Thanks Bonnie for the great info! Happy Holidays!

Not Provited 5 years ago

My dogs have eaten tons of candeys and not got sick all the dog stuff is bullshit.

lola 5 years ago

What if my dog aet plants is that good or bad

mike 4 years ago

My dog got into a whole batch of choclate cookies while we were on vacation, 6 days later he died!!

keland 4 years ago

can dogs have onioins and garlic if their cooked

Charlie 4 years ago

Omg my dog ahold of a snickers bar once! But that was about last year shes fine!

Hayley 4 years ago

Can dogs eat eggs

logan 4 years ago

my grandma used to give her dog chocolate, onion, and grapes and that dog lived to be 13 years old.

logan 4 years ago

this is so cool because i can get my answer from here and just know a lot of stuff because i want to become a vet.

tisha anderson 4 years ago

wow it so uncool!

someone 4 years ago

why do people say its useful its not wat happen if you said that and that happened to your dog that sad very sad i am very mad at people that vote for usefull 58 that's way to many.

Queeny 4 years ago

What so bad about onions, grapes, or raisins? I mean i no choclate is bad 4 them but i mean if dogs can eat wat we can then why do those things harm them?i have a girl named Paz(pronounced pause) and she basicly gets all left overs!

Bre 4 years ago

i don't know

12345 4 years ago

my dog just ate a chocolate covered strawberry what should i do ?

Ash 4 years ago

thank you for all information!

I was only looking for chocolate but found a LOT more!

Is my little havanese puppy allergic to all types of chocolate? ex) dark, milk, white, extra dark


Superman 4 years ago

Maddie made you look like a useless idiot

Kent Grunion 4 years ago

How about just dog food?

luv bug36 4 years ago

i know its weird never thouth mushrooms were bad for ur dog everyone nows not to give any of ur pets raw meet so the raw samlon part dident suririse me

ladydi 4 years ago

I haven't seen any more comments from Bonnie Ramsey, the hub author , since 3 years ago.

Ra-Ra Roxy 4 years ago

Neither have I

angie 4 years ago

what if i feed my dog little pieces of sugar cookies will it harm him he is a rat terrier tank you

Will 4 years ago

I have fed my dog grapes since pup-hood and she is a 16 year-old lab, still spry, explanation?

paris mills 4 years ago

my friends pet lab ate choclate and its so sick they cant even see it

i like boys and im a boy 4 years ago

my dog 100 chocolate bars and he didn't die

karla 4 years ago

oh wow he could die later in the years

kose 4 years ago

cant dogs eat penut butter to

Cary 4 years ago

Garlic, really?

Samantha 4 years ago

I was told pitbulls aren't allergic to chocolate

elena 4 years ago

i have a dog and i love her she is small if anthing happed to her ill will be really really really sad

adiktdtololi 4 years ago

but i don't get it.. my dog eats chocolate all the time.. and there are no ill-effects that i can see outside anyway... and its not like i force him to eat it.. he just REALLY like it.. and his still active as always. but my dog doesn't have a breed or something. I live in the Philippines. and most of our dogs here is what we call "askal" meaning mix breed. so maybe. he has some immunity to it or something?

pizza 3 years ago

i like my dog but he runs away

emma 3 years ago

you dogs can not have Chocolate

nmnmnm 3 years ago

why dogs haet cats

NATE A 2 years ago

That's weird that's chocolate has toxins that could kill dogs

Oeikdkd 4 months ago

I gave my dog a grape once and now I don't know if she'll get sick

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