Easter and the tradition of Easter candy and chocolate Easter bunnies is upon us. I want to take the opportunity to remind everyone of just how toxic chocolate is to dogs. In fact, chocolate is reportedly the top Easter danger to dogsCats face similar risks for chocolate poisoning.


The Top Easter Danger to Dogs   Chocolate is poisonous to dogs, Chocolate is toxic to dogs
Chocolate is Toxic to Dogs!


Why chocolate is toxic to dogs

The reason chocolate is poisonous to dogs is because it contains Theobromine (aka xantheose), which is toxic to dogs. If the chocolate also contains raisins, macadamia nuts or other substances that are also toxic to dogs, the effect can be compounded.  Chocolate is made from the cocoa bean, which is a natural source of Theobromine.

The general rule is that the higher the amount of Theobromine, the more toxic the chocolate is for dogs. And Dark chocolate can contain as much as 10 times more Theobromine than milk chocolate!  

According to the ASPCA, Chocolate is number one on their list of the Top 5 Easter Toxins for pets

How much chocolate is toxic to dogs?

Chocolate toxicity in dogs could occur if a dog ingests as little as 1.8 ounces of milk chocolate for a small dog, 1.5 ounces for a medium dog and 2 ounces for large dogs.

Chocolate Easter bunnies can be hollow or solid milk or dark chocolate, of varied sizes so the amount of chocolate they contain varies. The typical chocolate bunny contains anywhere from 2 ounces to upwards of 14 ounces! 

There are other Easter pet toxins such as Easter Lily plants and other substances.  But today I wanted to focus on chocolate, because chocolate is so toxic to dogs. It's considered the most common toxic substance for dogs at Easter and other holidays.  It is also extremely plentiful in most homes, and unfortunately easy for dogs to inadvertently get into.

The Merck Veterinary Manual (Merck Pharmaceuticals) contains a great Chocolate Toxicity Calculator. You can input your dog's weight and the amount of chocolate your dog has ingested, in ounces or grams, and the calculator will make a treatment recommendation.  It will recommend "No Treatment Necessary", "Emergency Treatment Advised" highlighted in Amber, or "Emergency Treatment Advised" highlighted in Red.

Merck Veterinary Manual, Chocolate Toxicity Calculator

I entered my Husky's weight of 50lbs, and when I got to 7.25 ounces ingested the calculator went from "No Treatment Necessary" to "Emergency Treatment Advised". So now I know that if my dog ingests over 7 ounces of milk chocolate it will put her in an emergency medical situation. When I switched the Type of Chocolate from milk chocolate to dark chocolate on the calculator, the Emergency Treatment Advised notification came on at only 3.25 ounces of dark chocolate ingested!

Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs

Eating a toxic amount of chocolate can lead to pancreatitis in dogs, and in severe cases it can cause seizures, heart failure, seizures, and even fatal kidney failure, if they ingest enough of it.  

Typical symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs are:


☠ Diarrhea

☠ Increased thirst

☠ Excessive urination

☠ Panting

☠ Restlessness

☠ Racing heart rate

Two Stories of Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs

While at the emergency Vet with my dog Phoebe last year, a frantic couple brought their dog in on an emergency basis. 

It was Valentines Day and their Labrador Retriever had gotten into a chocolate Valentine heart and eaten most of the candy in it.  

The Vet examined the dog and decided to pump her stomach to get as much of the toxic chocolate out of her stomach as they could. 

This poor couple was so distraught worrying about their dog. It must have been awful for the dog to have to go through the process of having his stomach pumped. But they were lucky, they realized quickly enough what had happened and rushed their dog to the emergency Vet.

If the family hadn't noticed in time that their dog had gotten into the chocolate candy, it might have ended very badly.

Sadly, that wasn't the case for a small dog whose owner had been given a large bar of chocolate by a friend returning from vacation. She placed the chocolate on her bed and left the room.  Her dog found the chocolate and ate it - all of it! By the time the dog's mom realized what had happened and rushed her dog to the Veterinarian, it was too late. Her sweet little dog did not survive ingesting the large amount of toxic chocolate.  It was totally devastating for the woman and her family.

I don't share stories like this to scare you, but to remind you of dangers like these to our dogs. Things we normally don't even think twice about.

Please keep all Easter candy, especially chocolate Easter bunnies, well out of reach of your dog and other pets. The tragedy of dogs being poisoned by chocolate can be avoided if you stay aware and take important dog safety precautions. Inform your children of the dangers of chocolate to dogs too!

There's no need to leave your dog out of fun Easter Activities. For years I've hosted a Dog Easter Egg Hunt for my two dogs!  Sometimes it's just been with my dogs, and other times we've invited neighbor dogs over to participate. It's a super fun and Safe Easter activity for dogs!

The Top Easter Danger to Dogs  Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs,  Chocolate toxicity in dogs
Keep Dogs Safe this Easter!

Sharing is Caring! If you enjoyed this post, please give us a social media share!

Follow us on

Do you have Easter plans that include your dog or other pets?  Tell us about it in the comments, we always Love hearing from you!


March is PET POISON PREVENTION AWARENESS MONTH, but in our house every month is Pet Poison Awareness Month! We do our best to be aware of products that can be toxic to dogs all year round. It's scary but there are actually many household items that can be toxic to dogs. These are things we see and use every day in our homes, things we don't think twice about.


My Siberian Husky, Icy, is 13 years old now and has been experiencing some arthritis. Several months ago we noticed she was very stiff when she got up in the morning and after napping or laying down for awhile. She was limping intermittently as well, especially first thing in the morning. I started considering joint supplements for dogs.

Joint Supplements for Dogs, Dog health, Dog care tips, Best joint supplements for dogs, Hip and joint supplements for dogs,
My senior dog was experiencing stiffness and poor mobility