While munching on your favourite chocolate this Easter, keep in mind the harmful effects it could have if getting into the paws of your dog.

If your four-legged friend eats chocolate, the BC SPCA warns it could lead to “significant illness.”

“Chocolate is toxic for your dog because it contains both caffeine and a chemical called theobromine; two chemicals that dogs cannot metabolize as well as humans,” it says.

While all types of chocolates can be toxic for dogs, the SPCA says the amount of theobromine varies within each type.

“The darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more dangerous it is for your dog. This is because dark chocolate and baking chocolate contains more theobromine per ounce.”

The SPCA also notes that while white chocolate contains very little theobromine per ounce, your dog can still get sick from the sugar and fat content as well as the caffeine.

“So you shouldn’t feed any chocolate to your canine friend,” it says. “Chocolate is toxic for your dog no matter what.”

However, your dog’s weight is also an important factor to consider along with the type and amount of chocolate eaten. 

And, the SPCA adds other ingredients that can be found in chocolate bars and other goodies – like raisins, walnuts, macadamia nuts, and caffeine – are also toxic to dogs.

“So it’s a good idea to always be cautious whenever you’re consuming any chocolate treat within close proximity to your dog,” it says.

Signs of chocolate toxicity in your dog:

  • Anxious or agitated behaviour
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased body temperature
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Rapid breathing or panting
  • Increased heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Advanced signs (cardiac failure, weakness, and coma)

The SPCA wants you to remember there’s no cure for chocolate toxicity. If your dog experiences any of the above symptoms after eating chocolate, you’re urged to visit your veterinarian right away.