Chocolate Poison

Dog Craving Chocolate

My friends had me over to their house for my birthday. They had baked me a double chocolate cake that was very delicious. As my son was carrying his cake to the table, we cautioned him to be careful not to drop the cake because it wouldn’t be safe for the dog to eat.

My friend asked, “Why is that?”

As a former vet tech, I’d learned that chocolate could be toxic to dogs, but no one ever explained why. Because I wanted to know more about this, I went to and searched for “dogs chocolate.”

Dr. Karen Becker had posted a blog that explained what I wanted to know; however, it was only a springboard for digging up further information on the subject.

Why is chocolate bad for dogs?

The short answer is theobromine. Theobromine is a naturally occurring alkaloid substance in the cacao bean. According to Dr. Becker’s article, theobromine, along with caffeine, can cause “hyperactivity, increased heart rate, tremors, and [possible] death.”

Is all chocolate equally harmful?

Dark chocolate is more harmful than milk chocolate. Dark chocolate may contain as much as 10 times more theobromine than milk chocolate.

My dog just ate a bag of Hershey’s Kisses. Should I be worried?

The lethal dose of theobromine for dogs is 300mg/kg (some sources suggest 100-200mg/kg). Smaller dogs are more likely to suffer from chocolate toxicity versus large dogs. For example, a 10-pound dog would have to eat 201 Hershey’s Kisses to reach the lethal dose. A 100-pound dog would need to eat 2,011 kisses. As you may have guessed, the probability that a dog would consume this much milk chocolate is very low.


A large dog is less likely than a small dog to suffer chocolate toxicity. If you think your dog has been poisoned, take your pet to an emergency vet in your area. You may also call Poison Control at 888-426-4435. There is a $60 consultation fee for using the Poison Control line.


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