Great dane health : the intoxication by the chocolate

The theobromine

The human organism assimilates safely the chocolate, but it's not the case for the dog. It'll be never enough repeated : the chocolate is poison for the dog !

C7H8N4O2 or 3,7-dihydro-3,7-dimethyl-1H-purine-2,6-dione, that's the name of the guilty called more commonly the theobromine.

This substance is in the cocoa and so in the chocolate it's the main alkaloid. The chocolate contains more or less of this substance in fonction of the kind of cooking. More the chocolate is black and more the concentration of theobromin is high.

A 100 to 250 mg/kg by corporal weight dose is potentially mortal. For a 10 kg dog for exemple, it represents around 65 g of milk chocolate or 7 g of black chocolate only !

The theobromine is eliminated very slowly by the dog. If chocolate is taken regularly, as a delicacy for exemple, so it has for effect to create an accumulation of this substance in the organism which can be letal. The plasmatic peak is situated around 10 hours after the ingestion. And the half-like, it means the time taken to eliminate naturally the half of the absorbed dose, is more or less 17.5 hours.


This alkaloid stimulates the central nervous system and the myocardium. It relaxes the smooth muscular fibres (especially bronchial) and increase the diuretic action.

After 2 to 4 hours, it can be seen generaly :

Some hours later, it can be seen generaly :

The death can occur 18 or 24 hours after the rhythmic troubles.


No antidote exists for this kind of intoxication. The intoxicated dogs receive treatments for assistance.

If the ingestion is recent and if the first symptoms are not seen, you must force the dog to bring up. It can enable the dog to eliminate a large part of the eaten substance. And under veterinarian control, perfusion and artificial respiration if necessary.

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