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Chocolate Toxicity — Let’s Talk About Dogs and Chocolate

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Most of us have heard that chocolate is not good for dogs, but just how bad is it? And what happens if dogs eat chocolate? It actually depends on how much and what type of chocolate a dog eats. (Yes, some types of chocolate are actually worse for dogs than others.) Read on to find out everything you need to know about dogs and chocolate toxicity.

A beagle about to eat some chocolate croissants.
Are certain types of chocolate worse for dogs? Photography by Katie_Martynova/Thinkstock.

1. Methylxanthines are the real reasons for chocolate poisoning in dogs.

Two substances found in cacao (chocolate’s main ingredient) called methylxanthines (theobromine and caffeine) are to blame for dogs and chocolate toxicity. On that note, anything containing caffeine is also toxic to dogs, including coffee (especially beans and grounds), tea (especially tea bags), energy drinks, soda and over-the-counter caffeine pills.

2. Some types of chocolate are worse for dogs than others.

Different types of chocolate contain different levels of theobromine and caffeine. The more concentrated the chocolate product, the more actual chocolate it contains and the more dangerous it is for dogs to consume. “Baking chocolate is the worst,” says Scott Fausel, medical director of VCA Sinking Spring in Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania. “Things that are just chocolate sweetened like brownies are usually less intensely toxic.”