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What to Do if Your Dog Eats Chocolate?

What to Do if Your Dog Eats Chocolate?

Author WDF Staff

06.03.2021.


Dog owners should know how dangerous chocolate is for their dogs. If you are a dog owner, you should keep in mind that you shouldn’t give your dog chocolate under any circumstances. If you suspect your dog ate chocolate, you should call your vet immediately and let them know what happened.

Not all chocolate is the same. Some types of chocolate in small amounts might not be fatal to dogs. Still, it can cause a severe gastrointestinal issue. As a dog owner, you should know what to do if your dog eats chocolate. Here is what you need to know if your dog ate chocolate.

What does chocolate do to dogs?

Chocolate contains things nutrients like caffeine and theobromine. Both can speed up the heart rate and overly stimulate the nervous system. According to Merck/Merial Manual for Veterinary Health, chocolate’s toxicity to your dog will depend on the type of chocolate and your dog’s size. Larger dogs can endure tiny pieces and be left relatively healthy. Chocolates with the highest theobromine content are;

  • Cocoa powder
  • Unsweetened baker’s chocolate
  • Semisweet chocolate
  • Dark chocolate
  • Milk chocolate

The exact toxicity to the dog that ate chocolate can be calculated. According to the American Kennel Club, the mild symptoms of chocolate toxicity happen when a dog ate chocolate in the amount of 20mg of methylxanthines per kilogram of their body weight.

“Cardiac symptoms of chocolate toxicity occur around 40 to 50 mg/kg, and seizures occur at dosages greater than 60 mg/kg.”

If you are confused by that (like we were), here is a more straightforward explanation. One ounce of Milk chocolate per pound of a dog’s body weight can be very concerning. So, if your dog gets their paws on a tiny piece of chocolate, it probably won’t cause them too much harm.

chocolate

The point is that if your dog ate chocolate, see if you can spot how much they ate and keep in mind that the answer to the question “Can dogs eat chocolate?” is always a resounding NO. If you found yourself in the position to say, “My dog ate chocolate,” call your vet immediately. Give them as much information about the type of chocolate and the amount of chocolate your dog ate.

Here are some human foods that are potentially dangerous for your dog - Human foods that can kill your dog.

What can happen if your dog ate chocolate?

A very likely thing that can happen if your dog ate chocolate is chocolate poisoning. As a dog owner, you should familiarize yourself with signs of chocolate poisoning. Learn how to spot signs so you can react even if the dog starts exhibiting symptoms and you didn’t actually see your dog eat chocolate.

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs can show 6 - 12 hours after the dog ate chocolate. AKC says that these symptoms can last for more than 72 hours, and they include;

Chocolate poisoning is a severe threat to your dog’s health, so make sure you never find yourself in a situation where your dog ate chocolate. This is especially true for older dogs and dogs with heart issues. They are at even greater risk if they eat chocolate.

Steps to take if your dog ate chocolate

If your dog ate chocolate, what you do in the next couple of hours can mean the difference between their life and death. It will become a stressful situation, so the most important thing is to try and compose yourself and remain as calm as possible. There is no point in beating yourself up at this moment. Even the most cautious dog owners can find themselves in a situation where their dog ate chocolate.

The first thing you should do is call your vet or if they are not available, contact the Pet Poison Helpline (855-213-6680). Ask for their advice and try to remember as many details as you can. If you saw the exact moment your dog ate chocolate, mark the time. You have about a two-hour window where you can make your dog vomit. If you are not sure how to do that, check out this helpful guide - How to make your dog vomit.

Try to remember what type of chocolate your dog ate and how much they ate. If your dog ate chocolate, but not a lot, your vet might advise you to stay at home and watch for symptoms we mentioned earlier. If your dog ate a lot of chocolate, your vet would probably ask you to bring them in, and they can take it from there. The vet will probably give them medications and activated charcoal that attracts toxins but doesn’t release them into the dog’s bloodstream.

If you were ever wondering, “Can dogs eat chocolate?” now you know how dangerous it is. You know what can happen if you leave your dog unsupervised with chocolate. Make sure your dog never gets their paws on chocolate, and you will spare them of harm and yourself from tears and heartbreak.


World Dog Finder team

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