What Makes Chocolate Toxic for Dogs?

There is a lot of information on the internet about chocolate and dogs, but how much of it is true? We know that chocolate is toxic for dogs, but why? I will explain what makes chocolate toxic for dogs and what to do if your dog eats any.

Theobromine is a bitter alkaloid found in cocoa beans which are used to make chocolate. It takes humans up to 3 hours to break down this substance. Dogs can take 12 – 24 hours for their bodies to break down Theobromine. If too much theobromine builds up in the body, it can lead to irregular heartbeat and seizures; as well as death.

If you’ve been wondering what’s in chocolate that makes it toxic for dogs, the answer is simple.

If you’ve been wondering what’s in chocolate that makes it toxic for dogs, the answer is simple: Theobromine. In fact, this is the primary alkaloid found in cocoa beans and is responsible for the health benefits we associate with dark chocolate.

Theobromine is also toxic to dogs because of their small size and high metabolism. Unlike humans, who can tolerate a certain level of theobromine without consequence because they weigh much more than dogs do, your canine companion has no such safety net.

Theobromine poisoning can lead to irregular heartbeat, seizures, and even death.

Theobromine is a stimulant. It affects the central nervous system and can cause irregular heartbeat, seizures, vomiting and diarrhea. Theobromine also acts as a diuretic, meaning it causes increased urination. This can lead to dehydration in dogs who are exposed to large amounts of chocolate.

If your dog eats chocolate or has access to an open bag of candy (which contains chocolate), call your vet right away!

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Chocolate has a variety of flavors and colors, all made from cocoa beans from the cacao tree.

Chocolate is made from cocoa beans, which are grown on the cacao tree. Cocoa beans come in a wide variety of flavors and colors, all thanks to the different plants they’re grown on. The higher quality the cocoa bean, the more expensive it is—but all chocolate contains some element of health risk to dogs.

The percentage of chocolate that is in a specific type of chocolate determines whether it is dangerous for your pup.

There are three factors that determine how toxic a specific type of chocolate is for your pup:

  • The percentage of chocolate that is in the product. The more chocolate, the more toxic it is.
  • The percentage of cocoa solids within the product. The higher this number, the more dangerous it will be to your pet.
  • Byproducts like sugar and butterfat can also affect how toxic the product is for dogs, but not as much as cocoa solids do.

Baking Chocolate or Unsweetened Chocolate is the most dangerous as it contains 9 milligrams of theobromine per gram.

Baking chocolate, also known as unsweetened or bitter chocolate, is made from cocoa powder and cocoa butter. Theobromine is not present in this form of chocolate. Baking chocolate is not sweet and is used for baking and candy-making.

Unsweetened chocolate contains no sugar at all and only theobromine. It’s the purest form of chocolate on the market today, but it has a bitter taste that many people don’t like. Unsweetened baking chocolates are often added to recipes to add flavor and texture instead of sweetness; they’re also used in some recipes where other types of sweeteners aren’t appropriate (such as certain cakes).

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While dark chocolate may be better for humans, it also has high levels of Theobromine with 44 milligrams per gram.

Dark chocolate has more theobromine than milk chocolate, so it’s probably best to avoid it. Theobromine is a stimulant and a vasodilator. It will work to relax your dog’s blood vessels, which can lead to decreased blood pressure and heart rate. If you think your dog ate some dark chocolate today, take him or her to the vet as soon as possible because there are other symptoms that may occur such as tremors or seizures.

Milk chocolate is most common and safe to humans, but because it is only 1/10 as strong here’s what you need to know about this form of chocolate.

When it comes to chocolate, there are two main types: cocoa and dark. Theobromine is the chemical compound in cocoa that makes humans feel sleepy after eating a lot of chocolate. It’s also toxic to dogs, but not so much because of its caffeine content (1/10th as strong) but rather because it interferes with their heart rhythm and muscles.

Milk chocolate contains 6 milligrams per gram whereas dark or baker’s chocolate has 12 milligrams per gram – which is why we recommend staying away from all forms of dark or baker’s chocolates when you’re around your dog.

This means if you were to give an ounce of milk chocolate (which is just over 28 grams) to your dog they would only need 7 pieces where as if you gave them the same amount in dark or baker’s chocolates they would have little response because those types contain 12x more Theobromine than milk does!

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Milk chocolate only contains 6 milligrams per gram, and one ounce of milk chocolate would contain approximately 150 milligrams of Theobromine in one ounce.

Milk chocolate only contains 6 milligrams per gram, and one ounce of milk chocolate would contain approximately 150 milligrams of Theobromine in one ounce. Dark chocolate contains around 100 milligrams per ounce.

If you think it’s safe because you don’t put milk chocolate on the counter… think again! Milk solids have been added back into almost all dark chocolates since the late 1950s due to health trends away from full-fat milk products with their saturated fats towards low fat or skimmed versions instead so this means that even though there may not appear to be any milk present – there still could be some present within each bite!


It is important to remember that theobromine is toxic to dogs and can be found in all types of chocolate. Theobromine is one of the chemicals that make up caffeine, which is also found in coffee, tea and cola drinks.

Theobromine levels tend to be highest in dark chocolate (70-94%), followed by semi-sweet and milk chocolates (50-60%). White chocolate contains no theobromine or caffeine because it doesn’t contain cocoa solids; however, trace amounts may still remain from pesticides used when growing cocao beans.

Now that you understand how chocolate can be toxic to your dogs, it is important to keep this information in mind. If you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s health, please contact your veterinarian immediately.