Why is it dangerous for dogs to eat chocolate?

Rachel Greene-Taylor
Written by: Rachel Greene-Taylor
Posted on: 23 March 2016

Every dog owner knows that chocolate is bad for dogs, but do you know why chocolate is so bad and just how damaging it can be?

How bad is chocolate?

We decided to do some research into how bad chocolate actually is for our four legged friends. Here’s what we found out:

  • In the last 12 months 89% of vets have needed to treat a dog that’s eaten human food.
  • Vets report chocolate to be the biggest culprit – causing 99% of human-food related appointments.
  • Hot cross buns are also a big no-no, because raisins are also toxic to dogs.
  • If your dog does get its paws on some chocolate, expect to pay around £220 to fix the problem.

What are the treatment options?

If your dog becomes poorly after gobbling down an Easter egg, vets will often induce vomiting or put the pup on a drip. In really bad cases, vets have reported bills of up to £800. Gulp.

Why is chocolate so bad?

There’s something in chocolate called theobromine. Humans can easily metabolise this, but it’s much more of a struggle for dogs.

They process theobromine much slower and, because it takes so long to break down, it can lead to a build up of toxicity in their systems. If untreated, it can lead to death.

Watch out for certain plants too – they can cause skin problems for particular breeds including boxers, retrievers and West Highland white terriers

Are there any other dangerous foods dog owners should be aware of?

Yes, although chocolate is perhaps the worst (and most common, especially around Christmas and Easter), other foods can also be harmful.

Grapes and raisins are also danger foods. They can cause kidney failure – which is why we mentioned the hot cross buns earlier in the article.

After a Sunday roast it can be tempting to give your dog leftover bones from the joint. However, as much as your dog may look eager to demolish every scrap of meat going, if they swallow bits of bone this can cause obstructions in the stomach and intestines. This can be life threatening and may require emergency surgery to remove.

And it’s not just foods that dog owners should be cautious of; there are other dangers in the warmer months that can lead to serious illness.

According to 45% of vets, the ingestion of certain bulbs - including daffodils, amaryllis and hyacinths - can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and even death if not treated quickly.

Plus, watch out for certain plants – they can cause skin problems for particular breeds including boxers, retrievers and West Highland white terriers.

It’s important that dog owners are aware of these hazards – especially around Easter and Christmas when toxic ingestion is a lot more common. Just think how much your dog would rather spend time with you over the Easter weekend, instead of hanging out with the vet.

directline logo
Do you have any  insurance policies  with Direct Line?
Close ×
directline logo
Do you have any  insurance policies  with Direct Line?

Things you need to know about Over 50s life insurance:
Premiums stop after your 90th birthday but you still enjoy cover for the rest of your life. In the first year, if you die from natural causes we will refund any premiums, or if you die as a result of an accident, we will pay your cash sum. After the first year regardless of the cause of death we will pay your cash sum. Depending on how long you live, the total sum paid in premiums may be more than the cash sum payable on death. If you stop paying your premiums before the end of your policy your cover will stop 30 days after your missed premium and you won’t get anything back. This isn’t a savings or investment product and has no cash value unless a valid claim is made. Inflation will reduce the buying power of your cash sum in the future.

Close ×