With Halloween and other holidays that often involve the presence of chocolate right around the corner, it’s important for pet owners to remember this tasty treat is, in fact, toxic to their beloved furry family members. While most people have heard stories where a dog has eaten chocolate, sometimes in considerable quantities, and survived unscathed, it’s simply not worth the risk when it comes to your pet’s health and well being. The fact is, dogs will often eat anything left lying around. This is why it’s so important to be extra vigilant and immediately take your pet to a veterinarian if you suspect they have consumed chocolate.

Why Is It So Dangerous?

Two of the prominent ingredients in chocolate, caffeine and theobromine, are stimulants that increase a dog’s heart rate and stimulates their nervous system. If your dog consumes too much for their size, this change in their body’s function can make them incredibly sick and can even be deadly. However, it’s also important to remember different types of chocolate have varying levels of these ingredients, making some of them far more dangerous and requiring less to have a fatal impact.

The Types of Chocolate

Milk chocolate is perhaps the least fatal of all chocolate types, which is relatively good news since this is the type most commonly found in Halloween candy and other holiday treats. White chocolate is the least dangerous. From there, the chocolate becomes more dangerous, starting with dark chocolate and moving up the scale to include semi-sweet chocolate, unsweetened baker’s chocolate and finally cocoa powder.

Symptoms of Chocolate Ingestion

If you suspect that your dog has eaten any type of chocolate in any quantity, take your pet immediately to the vet. However, some pet parents may not be aware their dog has consumed chocolate until after these common symptoms which include:

Increased body temperature
Rapid breathing
Increased heart rate
Low blood pressure
Increased reflex response
Muscle rigidity

In the most advanced stages of the reaction, your dog may experience weakness, cardiac failure or even fall into a coma. If you notice any of these signs after you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, please see your veterinarian immediately!