Chocolate contains a substance called methylxanthine which can cause severe illness and sometimes death in dogs. Dark chocolate is even more dangerous. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it can be to pets. White chocolate is sometimes touted as being OK, but it does contain methylxanthines as well, just in lower amounts.
To be on the safe side, use carob for the chocolate look. Carob is a natural substance. The pods from the carob tree contain a sweet, edible substance that is often ground into carob powder and tastes similar to chocolate. Your dog will love it just the same.
Coffee also contains methylxanthines and should not be given to dogs.
Other substances to keep away from your four-legged friends include:
- Alcohol - can ultimately be fatal. Dogs do not have the same physiology as humans and cannot tolerate the same types of things that humans are capable of consuming.
- Yeast Dough - can rise and create an accumulation of gas in the intestine leading to rupture. One of the reasons you will not find yeast in the list of dog cake ingredients. Once it is cooked and the yeast has already risen, it does not carry the same potential to be harmful.
- Milk - pets are essentially lactose intolerant so excessive amounts of milk products are not recommended.
- Salt - can cause increased thirst and urination if too much is consumed. Some prescription dog foods contain salt purposely to get the dogs to drink more water, which is helpful for their health condition.
- Artificial sweetener: xylitol, used in gum, toothpaste, candy and some baked goods, can cause liver failure in dogs. This is why dogs have their own brands of toothpaste and why gum and candy should be kept out of reach.