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Chocolate And Dogs

The chocolate and dogs combination is usually lethal

Chocolate and dogs? Both are great, but not together!

Chocolate is made from the cacao bean which contains theobromine.
To make things very simple, theobromine is similar in chemical structure to caffeine. Feeding a dog chocolate is like giving him an overdose of caffeine.

There is no treatment and the worst of the side effects is death.

The darker the chocolate, the more theobromine is in it. Dogs and dark chocolate is a highly lethal combo. Baking chocolate is the most deadly.

Chocolate and dogs that are small is a disaster! Because the animal is small, it wouldn't take much chocolate to create chocolate toxicity in these pets.

If you are a coffee or tea drinker, you know that many cups of coffee or tea will get your heart racing, and you get an energetic feeling. That's the effect of caffeine on your nervous system. Imagine an overdose from drinking too much! You will feel like you are racing around. People who drink coffee or tea before they go to sleep may not be able to sleep!

Imagine a little dog drinking all that coffee! His small heart would not be able to handle the effects.

White chocolate and dogs may be an okay combination. It is best to check with your vet before giving your dog any substance you have questions about.

White chocolate is made from cocoa butter, which is safe for dogs. It is not made from the cacao bean. The ingredients in white chocolate include sugar, cocoa butter, milk and vanilla.

Humans like the sweet taste that sugar offers, but dogs are not so picky. Spare them the added calories and sugar side effects.

Yellow chocolate and dogs? There is a yellow chocolate, and if you google it, you will discover it is part of a marketing campaign for the Yellow Pages. It is pure yellow, and comments about it indicate it tastes "yellow" - whatever that is! It apparently is pineapple tasting.

There is also orange chocolate. Orange chocolate and dogs? We are not referring to the popular orange-flavored chocolate. We have seen dog treats available touting these various chocolate colors. Use your judgment and common sense when combining chocolate and dogs.

Dogs and chocolate

Chocolate is never a good option for dog treat icing.  Dogs are not human and that means that they cannot digest or process certain foods that humans love. 

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals  has studied people foods that you should not give to your pet.  We reprint the information contained in that site for you here and add some helpful tips along the way.

But what should you do if you think your pet has ingested something it should not have eaten?  Do you think your pet may have been poisoned? Call your vet immediately.

Other dog treat ingredients to avoid

Coffee and caffeine

Chocolate, coffee, and caffeine are not healthy for dogs.   These products all contain substances called methylxanthines, which are found in cacao seeds, the fruit of the plant used to make coffee and in the nuts of an extract used in some sodas. When ingested by pets, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Note that darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines, while baking chocolate contains the highest. 

To get that same great chocolate taste for your pet, and to give pet treats the look of being made out of chocolate, substitute carob instead.

In addition to avoiding the poisonous combination of dogs and chocolate, there are additional human foods that are not fit for Rover.


Alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death.

Yeast dough

Yeast dough can rise and cause gas to accumulate in your pet’s digestive system. This can be painful and can cause the stomach or intestines to rupture. Because the risk diminishes after the dough is cooked and the yeast has fully risen, pets can have small bits of bread as treats. However, these treats should not constitute more than 5 percent to 10 percent of your pet’s daily caloric intake.


If dogs and chocolate are a bad combination, what about artificial sweeteners?  Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste. It can cause insulin release in most species, which can lead to liver failure. The increase in insulin leads to hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels). Initial signs of toxicosis include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. Signs can progress to recumbancy and seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days.


Because pets do not possess significant amounts of lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk), milk and other milk-based products cause them diarrhea or other digestive upset.  However, dipping homemade dog treats in white yogurt coating should not pose a problem for pets, though minor stomach upset could occur in some sensitive animals. Food colorings approved for human consumption are also safe to be used in foods for pets.


Large amounts of salt can produce excessive thirst and urination, or even sodium ion poisoning in pets. Signs that your pet may have eaten too many salty foods include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures and even death. In other words, keep those salty chips to yourself!

By now you can see why "Dogs-and-Chocolate" may be a great title for a movie about the things humans love most, but dogs-and-chocolate are not a good combination when it comes to dog treat icing for homemade dog treats.

Click here for more dog treat ingredients to avoid if you want to ensure your treats are free of dangerous substances.

Questions about dog treat icing or dog treat frosting? Click: ASK OUR EXPERT

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