A dog lies on the floor after getting a bad tummy ache because chocolate is toxic to dogs and it has eaten some without its owner realising

Can Dogs and Cats Eat Chocolate Easter Eggs – Yes or No?


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Can dogs eat chocolate? If it’s not a good idea, how much chocolate is actually dangerous to dogs? And do Easter eggs count? These are major questions to answer if you’re hiding chocky goodness around the house. After all, you-know-who will be the first to sniff them out…

The last thing you want is a house full of disappointed people because Bella has eaten all the Easter eggs. Mind you, the last, last thing you’d want is for you and Bella to land up at the vet for an emergency visit over Easter.

Avoid disappointment (and eat your Easter eggs) by reading this article about chocolate and dogs.

A woman affectionately kisses her dog, who is wearing adorable Easter bunny ears.

Can dogs eat chocolate? What about cats?

Can dogs eat chocolate (and by extension, chocolate Easter eggs)? The simple answer is ‘NO’. While dogs may be our best friends, their biology is a little different to ours. This can have a big impact in how they digest certain foods.

For example, sugar free foods may seem fine for us. But their body still sees xylitol as sugar – if they eat it they go into hyperdrive producing insulin. Because it’s not actually sugar the insulin uses up all their blood sugar, which can potentially have lethal consequences.

In other words, chocolate is another food in the long list of human foods that dogs shouldn’t ingest.

More on that here:

While we’re answering whether dogs can eat chocolate, also read whether cats can eat chocolate. It may not be as common a question. But that could be down to the fact that cats don’t quite try eating EVERYTHING as routinely as dogs do.

A cat curiously examining a box of chocolates.

Why is chocolate toxic to dogs and cats?

Chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats because it contains theobromine, which is a natural stimulant. Since dogs are pretty up there in terms of energy levels, they really don’t need stimulants. Because while humans love it, we can easily metabolise it.

Both dogs and cats process theobromine slowwwwly.

We’re talking so slowly that in the meantime the theobromine can accumulate in their systems. This can result in levels so dangerously high they cause toxicity. The level of danger can range from having an upset tummy to being life threatening.

Look out for your pawsome friend around Easter by keeping treats out of reach. And while we’re talking pet safety and holiday food, understand what to look out for (in advance) with Christmas dinner for pets.

How much chocolate is dangerous for dogs?

How much chocolate is dangerous for dogs depends on a few things:

  • a) the size of your pet
  • b) how light or dark (dark being more dangerous) the chocolate is
  • c) the amount of chocolate they eat

Chocolate toxicity in pets can start with as little as 20mg of theobromine per kilo of your pet’s weight.  

A stack of chocolate brownies on a cutting board, highlighting the potential danger of chocolate toxicity to dogs.

Chocolate toxicity calculator

Now you know the answer to ‘can dogs eat chocolate?’ is a clear no. You also know how much chocolate is dangerous for dogs, sort of. If your perky pup does get their paws on chocolate, it’s a good idea to have a chocolate calculator like this one, bookmarked.

This calculator allows you to enter the type of chocolate your pet’s eaten, how much of it, and how much your pet weighs. It then calculates what the potential dangers are, so you know whether to anticipate a runny tummy or you need a rush to the vet.

Hint. If you already know your pet’s weight, inputting the data will be that much faster.

A woman is sitting at a table with a dog in front of her, contemplating how much chocolate is dangerous for dogs while she gestures that her choc-chip cookie is a no-no for Rover.

The truth about cats and dogs and chocolate

Dog size and breed can mean the difference between danger or discomfort. For instance, a Corgi who’s broken into your secret chocolate stash could be in more danger than a Great Dane. (Speaking of big dogs, check out the biggest dog in the world).

Likewise, cats can also get a lot sicker from a smaller portion of chocolate than dogs. Their smaller body mass index makes them more susceptible to stronger effects. (Why not read up on the average cat weight.)

However, cats are less likely to try these tasty treats than dogs are. This is also why the dangers of chocolate and cats is lesser known. In addition to body size, some chocolates, namely cooking chocolate and dark chocolate, can be more dangerous. This is because these have a higher cocoa level. And as a result, they have more theobromine.

What part of chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats?

Not all chocolates are made equal and some can be more harmful to pets. For instance, white chocolate contains cocoa butter but little to no theobromine. While it’s still not healthy for cats or dogs to eat, it’s unlikely to be dangerous.

Cocoa butter may have trace elements of theobromine, but the real culprit is the cocoa powder. That’s why the higher the cocoa content in chocolate, the more toxic it is to dogs. It’s also why dark and cooking chocolate, which contain higher levels of cocoa and theobromine, are more of a hazard than milk chocolate.

While we’re talking human food and pets, sugary foods and fatty foods aren’t good for pets either. These can lead to them being overweight, potentially resulting in diabetes in dogs and cats.

Corgi looks at chocolate (which is actually toxic for dogs)

Symptoms of chocolate toxicity in dogs and cats

Chocolate toxicity in dogs can result in a wide range of symptoms from jitters to more life-threatening effects seizures. While we hope your dog doesn’t ever land up eating chocolate, here’s a list of symptoms it can cause:

  • diarrhoea
  • drooling
  • hyperactivity
  • increased thirst
  • internal bleeding
  • irregular heartbeat
  • lack of coordination
  • muscle tremors
  • rapid breathing
  • seizures
  • vomiting

If you’re unsure whether your pet has eaten chocolate and they’re showing symptoms like these, take them to a vet. The sooner they’re treated, the more likely they are to recover and be safe.  

A female veterinarian is petting a brown labrador dog that has accidentally eaten chocolate Easter egg.

Prevention and treatment of chocolate toxicity

With Easter just around the corner, the wisest thing you can do is keep chocolate Easter egg hunting and dogs in separate parts of the house. Know how many eggs you’ve got hidden and where so you can make sure all hunting is successful. Keep your pooch securely elsewhere or have a family member or friend take them for a walk. You could also call on Share My Pet‘s services just for the day.

Keep all chocolate not just out of reach but locked up. Don’t leave it lying on the kitchen counter or tabletop. Your dog loves taste testing everything as though life is a buffet – just ask Hazel, the Rhodesian Ridgeback whose curious tastebuds ran her into quite a lot of trouble.

A vet will treat toxicity in dogs based on how much and what type of chocolate the dog has eaten. Watch this PD Pet Care Vlog with Dr Cath for inside info on how vets treat chocolate toxicity in dogs:

Award winning pet insurance for peace of mind

Give your fur-legged friend the benefit of a soft landing with pet insurance. With PD Insurance’s range of affordable plans, your cat and dog can receive the right care when they need it most.

If your puss or pooch happens to eat chocolate, a visit to the vet can make all the difference. A vet can act quickly and help combat the symptoms of chocolate toxicity in your pet.

All our award winning pet plans reduce the cost of unexpected visits to the vet and offer a range of other vital benefits too. Our cat insurance and dog insurance plans are designed to give your pet optimum security without costing you an arm and a leg. Plus, you’ll get one or more months of FREE pet insurance when you buy a policy.

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