The dangers of chocolate for dogs and cats

With Christmas on the horizon, it is important for pet owners to remember how dangerous chocolate can be for dogs and cats. It is full of something called theobromine which can, in small amounts, give your dogs and cats upset stomachs. However, theobromine can be fatal.

What to look out for…

Early signs of theobromine poisoning include:

  • Drinking more than usual
  • Tender stomach if touched there
  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea

In large quantities, theobromine can produce:

  • Muscle tremors
  • Seizures
  • An irregular heartbeat

Symptoms usually appear within 4 hours of it being consumed. If you spot any of these symptoms, contact your vet immediately.

Who is most at risk?

It’s important to note that dogs are more at risk than cats because they are far more likely to gorge themselves on chocolate and eat bigger portions. Cats are slightly less enthusiastic, but it is still better to keep chocolate out of harm’s way.

The smaller the dog, the higher the risk of theobromine poisoning from even a small amount of chocolate. The level of toxicity is relevant to weight: the more they eat in comparison to their size, the worse the effects are likely to be.

Alternatives to chocolate:

At Vitalin, we’ve recently introduced our Luxury Dog Treats to complement our dog food range. Our Vitalin Luxury Treats are made with the same high-quality ingredients as our dog foods, to provide a healthy treat for your pet. These hypoallergenic, grain free treats combine protein from 100% British Duck with nutrient-packed botanicals.

For any further information about Vitalin or for information on your pet’s diet, contact the team directly on 0844 800 3347 or email us at, and we’ll be happy to advise.