Chocolate: sweet n' delicious dog poison

Even if you're not a dog owner, a dog person, or someone who grew up with dogs, most Idahoans are probably aware chocolate is toxic to man's best friend. Unfortunately, however, it's a fact that's easily lost and forgotten in the hubbub of Easter festivities.

How many dogs suffer from chocolate poisoning each year?

The New York Post reported dog poisoning incidents were up by as much as 123% on Easter 2023. During an interview with the news outlet, Bill Lambert, dog health expert at The Kennel Club, urged dog owners to remain on high alert throughout the month of April and to keep chocolate out of their dog's reach by any means necessary.




For families with young children, it's a task that may be easier said than done. According to K9 Active, dogs have a knack for finding their way into children's candy-filled Easter baskets and stuffed plastic eggs.


When it comes to household egg hunts, Proud Dog Mom recommends keeping eggs and baskets off the ground, and to skip the decorative faux grass (a toddler and canine choking hazard). If that's not possible, keep dogs safely kenneled until the egg hunt is over and every egg and Easter basket is accounted for.

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash // Canva
Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash // Canva

What makes chocolate so dangerous for Idaho dogs?

The National Institutes for Health explains theobromine, the key alkaloid of the cacao bean, is what makes the sweet treat poisonous to our dogs. The more our dogs consume, the more the serious the consequences.

Theobromine primarily affects the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and respiratory system, as well as having a diuretic effect. The first signs of poisoning in dogs include vomiting, haematemesis, and polydipsia. Other signs may include hyperexcitability, hyperirritability, tachycardia, excessive panting, ataxia, and muscle twitching. -NIH

The side effects can further escalate to cardiac arrhythmias, severe seizures, and death. In most cases, NIH reports chocolate poisoning symptoms present within two hours of ingestion and resolve within 72 hours.

Photo by Alan Rodriguez on Unsplash // Canva
Photo by Alan Rodriguez on Unsplash // Canva

ICYMI: dog chocolate toxicity calculators exist 

It's important to remember that many a dog has eaten chocolate lived to wag his or her respective tale. What's life-threatening for one dog, may cause little more than a mild stomach ache for another.

To save yourself from future panic attacks, it's worth knowing approximately how much chocolate your dog can ingest before medical intervention is necessary.

Click here for a free dog chocolate toxicity calculator.

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