Why Can't Dogs Eat Chocolate?

Chocolate is delicious. Every pet I've ever had has also suspected that to be true, but thankfully, they have yet to confirm it. Now that I know why chocolate is so poisonous to dogs (and cats), I feel particularly bad for the little dudes. Not too bad, because it means more sweets for me, but. You know. Bad-ish.

Reactions , a YouTube channel from the American Chemical Society that you should all check out because it's super interesting, caught me up on the dangerous deets of chocolate. It also happened to open my mind to how great chocolate is for humans, so that's an added bonus — but let's get back to our furry pals for a second. Here's the deal:

Cocoa contains a molecule called theobromine, which acts as a vasodilator — that is, a substance that causes blood vessels to widen. Sound familiar? It should; in a lot of ways, theobromine resembles caffeine. In small doses, chocolate increases blood flow and nutrients to the brain and amps up your heart rate. Sounds like a test-taker's dream to me, but that is not what this article is about.

Dogs and other household pets don't metabolize theobromine well, so all those effects last a lot longer for them than they do for humans, wreaking havoc on your pup's nervous system in the process. And that? Is bad news. Bad, bad, bad news. Even worse? It takes between six and 12 hours for theobromine poisoning to set in. So you can't even tell anything is wrong and or know to take action for hours and hours!

Another good thing to know: Dark chocolate contains a significantly higher concentration of theobromine than milk chocolate. So while dark chocolate keeps being touted as great for our hearts and our slowly aging bodies (still not sure I believe it, but whatever), it's extra extra bad for pooches. Check out the full video below for chocolate poisoning symptoms and tips on what to do if you think your pet has unwittingly snacked on some chocolate:

But just because your doggies really, really can't eat any chocolate doesn't mean they can't think they're eating chocolate. Here are a few human-food-esque treats so your pets don't feel left out. Because they do feel left out. There's no way they can't. Chocolate is awesome.

1. Three Dog Bakery Classic Cremes

Three Dog Bakery, $11.00, Amazon

These treats look like vanilla Oreos. Ahh! It's TOO CUTE!

2. Puppy Cake Wheat-Free Red Velvet Mix

Puppy Cake, $7.00,

Your pup can say she knows first-hand what's going on with the whole red velvet craze. Cupcake Wars is totes her fave show now.

3. Bone Bons Doggie Truffles

Bone Bons Organic Dog Treats, $25, Amazon

Eeeeeee it's Valentine's Day treats for dogs! Too much! In a little polka dot box! AH!

4. Pawsitively Gourmet Doughnut Cookies

Pawsitively Gourmet, $26, Amazon

"Donuts for dogs, donuts for dogs, this is cutest I've ever saw-g" - New song, by me, made up right now. Killed it.

5. Gourmet Tails Snack Happy Dog Treats

Gourmet Tails, $7.99, Petco

You know those extra soft sugar cookies you can buy at the grocery store? These look like the dog form.

Images: Fotolia; Giphy; Brands