Hello, Valentine’s Day,

In my perfect world, I would like a nice box of chocolates on February 14th.  Please have the chocolates in a  box with a bow on top.  Caramel’s please with a touch of sea salt on the top.  I like dark and milk chocolate but not white.  Is white chocolate even chocolate?  I will share my chocolates with you but NOT with your pooch.

BUT if chocolate is so yummy why can’t I share it with my dog. I’ll tell you why chocolate can be lethal to dogs. Enough said.  Keep the Valentine candy in a safe place away from your dog. Instead of treats, I like to get Millie a new collar for Valentine’s Day. A gal deserves a new outfit once a year.  Here is Millie is wearing her Valentine’s Day collar from last year. This one is leather, slips over her head and is very comfy. It is much better than getting poisoned!

In today’s ask the vet, we talk about Chocolates and how you should not sit on the couch and eat bon bon’s with Fido.

Dr. O’Hara and Baxter the dog.

So yes, it is true that Chocolate is poisonous to dogs; however, the hazard of chocolate to your dog depends on the type of chocolate, the amount consumed and your dog’s size. In large enough amounts, chocolate and cocoa products can kill your dog.

Here is a chart that can help you figure out if your pup ate too much chocolate. Charts are great but if you are worried about Fido eating too much chocolate call your vet ASAP or go to the emergency vet. I say with Chocolate you are better being off being cautious. It is too serious to ignore.

Here are the facts…Theobromine is what causes problems.

This is from Hills.

  • Humans easily metabolize theobromine, but dogs process it much more slowly, allowing it to build up to toxic levels in their system.
  • A large dog can consume a lot more chocolate than a small dog before suffering ill effects.
  • A small amount of chocolate will probably only give your dog an upset stomach with vomiting or diarrhea.
  • With large amounts, theobromine can produce muscle tremors, seizures, an irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding or a heart attack. The onset of theobromine poisoning is usually marked by severe hyperactivity.

The usual treatment for theobromine poisoning is to induce vomiting within two hours of ingestion. If you are worried or suspect that your dog may have eaten a large quantity of chocolate and they are showing any of the signs listed above, call your veterinarian immediately.

If you have a small dog that has eaten a box of chocolates, you need to call and go to your veterinarian right away. Do not wait.

Different chocolate types have different theobromine levels. Cocoa, cooking chocolate and dark chocolate contain the highest levels, while milk chocolate and white chocolate have the lowest. If you’re dealing with any quantity of dark or bitter chocolate, err on the side of caution. The high level of theobromine in dark chocolate means it takes only a very small amount to poison a dog. Less than an ounce of dark chocolate may be enough to poison a 44-pound dog.


This from TCHO CHOCOLATES…. is White Chocolate really Chocolate?
“In order to qualify as chocolate, a product must contain cocoa solids. And white chocolate does no such thing. Instead, it’s usually made from a combination of cocoa butter, lecithin (a fatty emulsifier), milk products, sugar, and vanilla”

More from TCHO “But wait!” the white chocolate lovers might say. “Doesn’t the cocoa butter count as chocolate?”

The answer is once again, “nope”. Cocoa butter is derived from cocoa beans, but it doesn’t contain the cocoa solids that define chocolate

This delicious photo is from Garnish and Glaze. Learn how to make these truffles for your loved one. You better get cracking. Valentine’s day is around the corner!

That solves that mystery. White Chocolate is not Chocolate. Some people find it delicious. I would rather have my Caramels with sea salt… thank you very much.

P.S. White chocolate barely poses any threat of chocolate poisoning with only 0.25 mg of theobromine per ounce of chocolate (that said, dogs can still get sick from all that fat and sugar, which can cause pancreatitis)  A good rule of thumb is do not give your dog any type of chocolate… or any sweets for that matter. It is not good for them in any way.

Thanks, Dr. O’Hara for another great “Ask The Vet.”