Is It Safe for My Dog to Eat Chocolate?

It is a complicated question! Is it safe for my 60lb yellow Lab to eat two squares of Baker’s chocolate? NO! That could be life-threatening. Is it safe for my 15 lb Shih Tzu to eat two squares of my milk chocolate coated candy bar? Not cool! That was MY candy bar! But not life-threatening.

Chocolate can be dangerous for dogs. The amount of toxicity chocolate causes depends on the level of cocoa in the chocolate and the size of the dog that has eaten the chocolate. Theobromine and caffeine are the chemicals in the cocoa that can be toxic to dogs. But a lot of the focus is on the theobromine content.

Theobromine affects the nervous, cardiovascular and respiratory systems of people and dogs. Toxicity occurs in dogs because it circulates in the bloodstream so much longer before it can be broken down by the liver. The half-life of theobromine (the amount of time it takes for half of the theobromine to be metabolized by the liver) is only 2-3 hours in people. The half-life of theobromine in dogs is 18 hours. If a dog consumes too much chocolate, an owner may notice signs such as hyperexcitability, excessive panting, difficulty walking, muscle twitching, vomiting and even seizures. Symptoms such as high heart rates and abnormal heart rhythms are not as obvious. Severe symptoms include seizures and death.

The more cocoa there is in a chocolate product, the more dangerous it is. Cocoa powder and Baker’s chocolate have much higher levels of cocoa than milk chocolate. Chocolate syrups and flavourings have less. Candies and bars coated in chocolate are also lower in cocoa than a solid bar. White chocolate is basically cocoa butter and sugar and contains very little theobromine.

If you have noticed that your dog has eaten a product containing chocolate, it is ALWAYS a good idea to call a veterinary professional (like Centennial Animal Hospital) to check if the amount of chocolate consumed is toxic or not. You can reach us at 204-269-8162.

Written by: Tara, RVT

(1) Fiona Finlay, and Simon Guiton, Journal List, BMJ, v.331(7517); 2005 Sep 17



How to help injured and orphaned wild animals

Below are a few suggestions should you come across injured or orphaned wildlife.  First, you need to determine if the wild animal is indeed injured or abandoned without putting yourself in harm’s way. Try not to have too much contact with the animal or to disturb the surroundings. If you are unsure, it is best that you leave it be and call a wildlife specialist to notify them about the animal and its location. Certain animals like rabbits and deer often leave their young alone for long periods throughout the day. If it appears healthy and well, do not disturb the animal. 

Read More
See All Articles

Last updated: October 14, 2020

Dear Clients,

Due to the current rapid increase in positive Covid-19 cases, we will be reverting to our "closed waiting room" policy effective October 15.  Clients will no longer be allowed inside our hospital.


This includes vaccines, wellness exams, blood work, heartworm testing, spays and neuters, dental services, and more!

Note: Priority will be given to urgent or sick pets, as well as time-sensitive puppy/kitten vaccinations. If you're unsure whether your pet needs medical attention, please call us to discuss your situation. 



We are OPEN with the following hours:

Monday - Thursday: 7:30 am - 8:00 pm
Friday: 7:30 am - 7:00 pm
Saturday: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sunday: CLOSED


Thank you for helping us be diligent for everyone's safety. With your cooperation, our team can continue to provide outstanding care to our cherished patients, without compromising the safety of our staff and clients. Any updates will be provided as changes occur.

- Your dedicated team at Centennial Animal Hospital