Toxic effects of chocolate on animals

In Health and Nutrition by Linda1 Comment

Even if you don’t have a pet, please share this information with every dog or cat owner you know.

Chocolate is one of life’s great pleasures – at least at my house! But if you walk on all fours and have fur, an caffeine-like ingredient in chocolate, Theobromine (aka xantheose) could kill you. Not only is Theobromine found in chocolate, it’s also present in Acai berries, tea leaves, the cola nut, and Cocoa Mulch.

Emails about Cocoa Mulch have been circulating around the Internet since 2003, and more frequently since 2007 when Calypso, a three year old Labrador, had a seizure and dropped dead on a walk after ingesting the garden mulch made from cacao bean shells.

Hershey’s, the manufacturer of Cocoa Mulch, states that “…50% of the dogs that eat Cocoa Mulch can suffer physical harm to a variety of degrees…98% of all dogs won’t eat it.”

Since there are many other brands of garden mulch, if you have a dog, the best choice to another brand that is free of cocoa.

Easter is a few weeks away and chocolate will grow in abundance in the form of eggs, carrots, and rabbits, so take extra care and keep these

Yummy chocolate bunny NOT for animals!

tempting treats out of the reach of your animals.

In the worse case scenario, here is some information that will help determine what action should be taken if your dog or cat eats a bunny ear. The higher the cocoa content the more toxic it becomes to your animals.

* 1 ounce of Milk Chocolate is toxic per 1 pound of body weight
* 1 ounce of Semisweet Chocolate is toxic per 3 pounds of body weight
* 1 ounce of Baker’s Chocolate is toxic per 9 pounds of body weight

For example, 2 ounces of Baker’s Chocolate can put your 15 pound dog at great risk, while 2 ounces of Milk Chocolate will usually cause simple digestive problems.

The clinical signs of chocolate toxicity are:

Hyper excitability
Hyper irritability
Increased heart rate
Increased urination
Muscle tremorsVomiting

For a list of animal emergency clinics in the Phoenix area, go to or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435 (there is a $60 fee)


  1. Excellent article! So many people are unaware of the effects that chocolate can have on a dog.

    In case anyone is reading this because they are worried about how much chocolate their dog ate, there is a good calculator on this website that tells you the toxic dose of chocolate for a dog.

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