Is chocolate really toxic for dogs?

With the holidays upon us, I just want to remind everyone to keep an extra eye on your pets. There are a number of “holiday risks” for dogs and cats, but I am reminded of one in particular where I was up all night with my own beloved girl. While we were gone, she climbed on the counter, opened a box and proceeded to unwrap 136 individual chocolate coins! We are fortunate that we treated her quickly enough that as of the next evening she was tired but otherwise back to herself.

Chocolate contains two things that are toxic to dogs: theobromine and caffeine. Depending on the dose, chocolate ingestion can cause hyperactivity, increased heart rate, tremors, and even death. Other effects seen with chocolate overdose include vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, increased urination, and lethargy. In general, the darker the chocolate, the more toxic. So white chocolate is practically non-toxic while milk chocolate is moderately toxic and dark, baker’s and cocoa are very toxic. Small dogs are at higher risk then larger dogs, but since even a small dose of some chocolates is potentially toxic and possibly lethal for dogs, it is recommended that you contact us or the emergency room immediately if you know your dog has ingested chocolate.

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