I have been told that chocolate is poisonous to dogs. Is this true?
Yes, chocolate is toxic to animals. The active ingredient is called theobromine, a substance related to caffeine but a bit more potent. Signs associated with chocolate toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, restlessness, muscle tremors, and changes in heart rate. Severe poisonings can result in seizures, coma and death. Signs usually occur within 1-4 hours after ingestion so it is very important to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible after your pet eats any chocolate.
The amount of chocolate that will cause a problem depends on the size of your pet and the type of chocolate ingested. As an example: A dog weighing 40 pounds would have a toxic dose of chocolate by ingesting 40 ounces of milk chocolate, 13.3 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate bits, or just 4.5 ounces of unsweetened baker’s chocolate. The darker and more solid the chocolate, the more toxic it becomes. So be sure to keep all chocolate away from your pets by storing it in a safe and pet secure area.