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Wine and Chocolate for Dogs? Nope. by Lisa Mecray Rogers

We love our furry family members! And who can resist those beautiful eyes looking at our every move with adoration, especially when we have food and drink in our hands? But although we greatly enjoy a glass of wine and chocolate at times, it’s important to know they are enemies to our dogs.

I’m sure one might think that wine or chocolate are just like other scraps often passed to the dog under the table. Oh, a little piece of chocolate or sip of wine won’t hurt…will it? But yes, it will. Here are the important, and yes, scary facts which you and your kids should know so you may continue to have a healthy furry friend.


  • Has alcohol. Alcohol has the same effect on a dog's liver and brain that it has on humans but it takes far less to do its damage. Just a little can cause vomiting, diarrhea, central nervous system depression, problems with coordination, difficulty breathing, coma, even death. And the smaller the dog, the greater the effect

  • Contains grapes: Although it isn't clear why, grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. Dogs experiencing grape or raisin toxicosis usually develop vomiting, lethargy or diarrhea within 12 hours of ingestion. As signs progress, dogs become increasingly lethargic and dehydrated, refuse to eat and may show a transient increase in urination followed by decreased or absent urination in later stages. Death due to kidney failure may occur within three to four days, or long-term kidney disease may persist in dogs who survive the acute intoxication. Successful treatment requires prompt veterinary treatment. Until the cause of the toxicosis is better identified, the safest course of action is to avoid feeding grapes or raisins to your dog

  • Specifically wine: The potential toxicity of each glass of wine if consumed by a dog relies on two things: the amount of grapes used to make the wine and the size of the dog. Wines that are made solely of grapes, with no other fermented fruit, are potentially more dangerous than an apple wine or an apricot wine. The size of the dog is the other factor. Just like a smaller human will be more affected by one glass of wine than a larger human, a smaller dog may get sick from a little wine while a larger dog may be fine. Kidney failure can begin in as little as 48 hours after the wine is consumed


  • Chocolate contains substances known as methylxanthines (specifically theobromine), which dogs are unable to metabolize

  • The darker the chocolate is, the more dangerous it is

  • White chocolate has very few methylxanthines and is of low toxicity

  • Dark baker’s chocolate has very high levels of methylxanthines, and plain, dry unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 8 ounces (a ½ pound) of milk chocolate may sicken a 50-pound dog, whereas a dog of the same size can be poisoned by as little as 1 ounce of Baker's chocolate

  • Depending on the type and amount of chocolate ingested, the signs seen can range from vomiting, increased thirst, abdominal discomfort and restlessness to severe agitation, muscle tremors, irregular heart rhythm, high body temperature, seizures and death. Dogs showing more than mild restlessness should be seen by a veterinarian immediately

Dogs love to explore and oftentimes the adventure is led by their mouth. And no matter how cautious you are, it’s possible your dog can find and swallow something it shouldn't. Unfortunately, I’ve had experience with food toxicity due to my counter surfing, garbage raiding, cupboard digging and very curious pup, Indigo. After a couple of emergency trips to the animal hospital, thankfully she’s ok.

So keep the wine and chocolate to yourselves. And just in case, it’s always good to keep the number of your local vet, the closest emergency clinic, and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center number handy (888) 426-4435. The Pet Poison Helpline is also a good resource to find out other foods and substances that are dangerous . If you think your dog has consumed something that's toxic, call for emergency help at once.

Stay well!

~Lisa Mecray Rogers, award-winning Master Chocolatier and Founder ofLuxx Chocolat® xquisite artisan chocolate, ChocoVin Chocolate & Wine Tastings® and Luxx Academy du Chocolat offering classes with adults in mind, Ridgewood resident, recognized as one of 2014 and 2013 Best Chocolatiers & Confectioners in America. Luxx Chocolat offers unique handcrafted works of art. Nothing artificial, no preservatives, not mass produced.


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