Skip to Content

Can dogs eat chocolate chip cookies?

Can dogs eat chocolate chip cookies?

Dogs should never eat chocolate in any form, in any amount. Chocolate is a poison for dogs, to put it bluntly. Cookies are also loaded with sugar and fat, which is also bad for dogs. You may be tempted to share your cookies when your dog looks at you with those pleading eyes, but you are not being good to your dog by giving them something that will harm them.

Can dogs eat chocolate chip cookies?

The short answer is “no”, dogs should not eat chocolate chip cookies. Chocolate is a toxic substance for dogs. It is true that a chocolate chip cookie may not have enough chocolate to do a lot of harm, but the rest of what is in that cookie is also bad for your dog for a variety of reasons. There is nothing that is good for a dog in a chocolate chip cookie.

Chocolate has caffeine and theobromine. Both of these substances cause your dog’s heart to beat faster and cause his body functions to speed up. It is like a human taking a drug called speed, except it is multiplied a few times. 

A cup of coffee, or a chocolate bar, might give us a little pep of energy for a short time because of the caffeine. We often think of that as a good thing. For a dog, the same thing happens, but it is multiplied many times.  It would be like us drinking a couple of gallons of coffee in a few minutes. Imagine the effect that would have on our bodies. That is what happens to a dog’s system when she eats chocolate.

The bladder of the dog has trouble handling either of those substances, and they end up being reabsorbed by the body. This means that the multiplier effects of either substance are doubled, making it even worse after it gets in the dog’s system.

It does take a lot of chocolate for it to be fatal or cause serious illness, but there are studies that show repeated exposure of even small amounts can cause heart problems over the long term.

The other problem with chocolate chip cookies is the cookies themselves. Dogs have not evolved to process sugar and fats the way we do, so it is hard for them to digest. It can cause stomach problems, as well as pancreatitis and the malfunction of other organs.

The sugar and fat can cause your dog to gain weight as well. Being overweight is not good for dogs, and can shorten their lifespan. Sugar is also bad for a dog’s teeth. You can clean a dog’s teeth, but when the teeth wear out, the dog will not be able to eat at all.

Some dogs, like miniature schnauzers, do not process fat well at all, and it can cause them more problems than it causes other breeds of dogs.

What happens if my dog eats a chocolate chip cookie?

What will probably happen is, your dog will get sick, throw up and or have diarrhea in a few hours. There is just enough chocolate to cause some problems. If the dog is not used to eating fatty substances, there is enough fat to make it sick as well. 

The real problem is that nothing happens immediately if your dog eats a chocolate chip cookie. The worst thing you will likely see in the short term is some vomiting. Your dog may also pass from very smelly gas, but other than that, there is not much that will happen in the short term.

Because nothing happens, people think it didn’t hurt the dog, so there is not really a problem. This leads people to think there is nothing wrong with giving their dog a cookie. It is true that a piece of a cookie a couple of times a year will do no harm. The problem is if you get into the habit and start giving them cookies regularly, or often you will get into long-term negative health complications.

Some people may not even make the connection between the cookie and vomiting or diarrhea.  They then go on to give their dog cookies regularly, thinking nothing bad is happening to their pet. The pet seems to like the cookies, so there is not really a problem, they may think.

The problem is that there are bad things going on inside your dog when he eats cookies, most processed foods, and certainly any foods high in sugar or fat. These substances give internal organs difficulties, such as the liver, pancreas, kidneys, and stomach.  Too much fat can cause your dog to get pancreatitis or even have kidney failure.  Long-term exposure to chocolate can also cause heart failure over a long period of time.

The cookies may not do much of anything in the short term, but the cookies will shorten the life of your pet. Most veterinarians advise against giving dogs any human food whatsoever, and they are generally in agreement that sweets are very bad for your pet.

Cookies, or sweets of any kind, can also make your dog fat. In America, being a little overweight is common for humans, and it may be for a lot of pets as well. Being overweight is not good for your dog though. It puts extra strain on all their body parts. It can also hurt their back and legs over time.

What to do if my dog eats a chocolate chip cookie?

If your dog eats a chocolate chip cookie, there is not much you can do other than keep an eye on the pet. They may need to go outside more often and may get sick and throw up. Chances are there will be no visible harm to your pet.

If the dog ate a lot of cookies, and the chips were of the dark chocolate variety, they may make your dog sicker than regular cookies would have. If you are concerned, consult your veterinarian.  Tell the vet what they have ingested, and tell them the age and weight of your dog. With this information, you and your vet can decide whether you need to bring the dog in to be checked out.

Your veterinarian may advise you to just observe the dog carefully until morning, and if symptoms show up or get worse, you might need to bring the dog in for a check-up. Veterinarians often take a wait-and-see approach.

The size of your dog can be significant here as well. One ounce of any substance would affect a 10-pound dog a lot more than it would affect an 80-pound dog just because of the size of the animal. A 10-pound dog eating five cookies would be a much more dangerous thing than if your 80-pound lab ate the same amount.

If your dog has eaten chocolate chip cookies, encourage them to drink water. Take them outside for walks often. If they urinate often, it will help get the chemicals out of their system. They may have loose stools, and may even vomit while you are on a walk. This is just a natural result of having eaten cookies, and should not be a concern. It is actually a good sign that they are getting the bad stuff out of their system.

If your dog has eaten a lot of cookies, the dog may get sick. Some symptoms to look for include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increase in body temperature
  • Rapid breathing
  • Seizures
  • Lethargy

These are symptoms you should tell your vet about when you call. A lot will depend on the severity of the symptoms and whether these symptoms are normal for your dog.  If the dog has two or more and it comes on fast within 12 hours of eating cookies, you should be more concerned. In that case, you probably should take your dog to a health clinic. Most dogs will not get real sick from a few cookies, but dogs are different in their tolerance, so it is possible only a small amount could make a dog very sick.

How many chocolate chip cookies are too many for a dog?

Veterinarians and dog health experts would say that any chocolate chip cookie is too many for a dog. Most would say the same about any kind of cookie. The chocolate is bad, and the rest of the cookie is bad for them too.

There are a lot of healthy treats available commercially. Some of them look like cookies and smell like cookies. It is generally OK to give your dog plenty of these, but avoid giving her so many that she expects to have them all the time. You don’t want to create a pest. Even so, these treats are good for your dog, and you can give them to the dog knowing they will not cause harm.

This is not the case with cookies. Fat and sugar have the same health repercussions in dogs as humans have. Cookies are not really good for people either because of the fat and sugar content. We are bigger than dogs though, so a small amount will have no significant impact on us humans, even though if we overeat cookies, we will see negative results.

Hopefully, we humans have the self-control to also eat healthy foods, and eat sweets only rarely.  Dogs are smart, but they still live on their appetite. If it smells good and tastes good, it should be eaten immediately. It is a dog’s attitude. It is up to us dog owners to make the right dietary choices for our dogs, because they will not make the right choices on their own.  It is also up to us to keep things like cookies out of their reach. Just as you have to child-proof your home when you have young children, you have to dog-proof your home as well.

Another option

If you really want to share cookies with your dogs, there are recipes out there for cookies that are safe for dogs. They just avoid having any of the substances that are bad for dogs in them. They will taste rather bland to us, but to the dog, they taste fine. You can eat these cookies as well if you like.

You could get one of those recipes online, and bake some for your dog while you are baking chocolate chip cookies for you and your family. 

Some gourmet dog treats companies make some fancy treats that look just like the cookies we eat. There is a substance called Karob, which is totally safe but looks and tastes like chocolate. There are plenty of treats out there that you can get for your dog. These treats are healthy and will not hurt your dog. Use these instead of giving people food that will do them more harm than good.