Why Can’t Dogs Eat Chocolate?

It’s common knowledge that chocolate is bad for dogs. While there are many foods dogs should not eat such as grapes, chocolate is the one everyone knows about. It’s been ingrained into our brains for years that under no circumstances are our canine friends supposed to have it, but have you ever wondered why that is? My guess is that like most people you don’t really know the why, just that you shouldn’t. Today’s article is going to be a lesson in canine health!

Many people think that caffeine is the reason that dog’s can’t eat chocolate. Chocolate does contain trace amounts of this, but the real enemy is theobromine. Much like caffeine this is an alkaloid that acts as a stimulant in dogs. The effect is the same for humans, but our bodies are capable of producing a specific enzyme that can break this down. Our furry companions on the other hand are not able to produce this!

As a result theobromine can result in a lot of unsavory health concerns for your pooch. A stimulant that goes unchecked can overstimulate the body. This includes things like the central nervous or cardiovascular system! If a dog ingests chocolate they could suffer from an increase in blood pressure, vomiting, seizures and even death. It’s scary to think about something like that happening to your dog which is why veterinarians have been quick to preach the dangers of chocolate. The effects of this also are greatly dependent on the size of your dog. A larger dog could ingest a small amount accidentally and be fine, but a small dog might not fare so well. Their smaller bodies means that they can’t handle as much of this substance as a large breed dog can. Even a very small amount of chocolate can have serious consequences for a dog like a chihuahua or a Pomeranian.

There are varying amounts of theobromine in different chocolates too. Milk chocolate is not as pure of a chocolate, so it has less. A darker chocolate could contain a lot more of this, and so is more dangerous to your pooch. It could be a significant amount more too. Something in the range of three times as much of this stimulant could be present in dark chocolate! Bakers chocolate and cocoa powder are particularly problematic. These are typically the purest, undiluted chocolate. Make sure to keep your dog out of your cupboards, and out of the kitchen if you’re baking.

If you want to give your pup a sweet treat there’s plenty of doggy safe options available. Try looking for some peanut butter dog treats. Your dog will love them, and they’re totally safe for your pooch. You can even give them straight peanut butter on a dog biscuit, but don’t feed them too much. Peanut butter can be very fattening which quickly becomes a problem for dogs when their owners don’t know how to stop feeding them! They’re smaller than us so a few calories will go a long way for a dog. A lot farther than it would for a human being.