You probably know not to give your dog chocolate. (Side note, it has the same effect on cats.) Chocolate is deadly to dogs and cats. So why does chocolate make humans fat but can kill a dog or cat?

Chocolate is the preparation of roasted and ground cacao seeds. In humans, chocolate increases blood flow and causes the brain to release dopamine which makes you feel pleasure and motivation. The neurotransmitters in the brain have the same response to chocolate as they do of having sex. All of these effects on the human brain are caused by the chemicals theobromine, phenylethylamine and anandamide which are all found in chocolate.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Of these three chemicals, theobromine is the one that is most toxic to dogs and cats.

Theobromine is similar to caffeine. Dogs and cats can't metabolize theobromine or caffeine. According to, both are a diuretic, heart stimulant, blood vessel dilator and smooth muscle relaxant. Because dogs and cats can't metabolize these chemicals, the effects can be deadly.

The amount of toxic theobromine varies with the type of chocolate. The darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more dangerous it is to dogs and cats.

Dog and cats will show signs of agitation, hyperactivity, excessive drooling, vomiting and diarrhea after ingesting chocolate. Excessive urination may also be a signal your dog or cat is suffering from chocolate poisoning.

According to, signs of chocolate poisoning in dogs and cats may take hours to show up and could last for days with the ultimate consequence being death.

If you suspect your dog or cat has accidentally ingested chocolate, you should seek medical attention from your veterinarian immediately.

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