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Is chocolate bad for dogs? When you should worry

Easter, Christmas, a random Tuesday afternoon – there's never a bad time for some chocolate. Well, unless you’re a dog. Your dog may seem keen to have a taste of your chocolate, but don’t let that fool you; it’s toxic to them and can result in serious illness.

What makes chocolate dangerous for dogs?

There are several ingredients that make chocolate unsuitable for dogs’ consumption including cocoa solids (these contain a substance called theobromine which dogs struggle to metabolise), caffeine, and high levels of sugar and fat. Not to mention any innocuous wrappers that may get eaten by mistake.

Are all types of chocolate toxic to dogs?

The level of toxicity will depend on the amount of cocoa solids (and therefore theobromine) the chocolate contains. The darker the chocolate, the more cocoa solids it’s likely to contain, meaning that dark chocolate and cocoa powder tend to be the worst for dogs. That’s not to say they should be allowed milk or white chocolate though; these still contain smaller amounts of theobromine amongst other harmful ingredients.

How serious is chocolate poisoning in dogs?

This will depend on a few different factors including:

  • How much chocolate your dog has consumed
  • The size and weight of your dog
  • The cocoa content of the chocolate consumed

What are the symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs?

Symptoms may take up to 12 hours appear, you should look out for:

  • Agitation
  • Hyperactivity
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Drinking and weeing more frequently

Or in severe cases:

  • Panting
  • Shaking
  • Fever
  • Seizures

You should not wait until symptoms appear to contact your vet if you suspect your dog may have eaten chocolate as they need urgent treatment

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Particularly when your pet is highly energetic or prone to be clumsy, it is vital to protect them with pet insurance. Our cover can be offered for puppies and kittens from five weeks old and can include vet fees for illness and injury up to £7,500, as well as ongoing cover for eligible new illnesses.

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