Everything You Need to Know if Your Dog Eats Chocolate

As most pet owners are aware, chocolate can be extremely toxic to dogs.

If your dog does consume chocolate, depending on the type, amount consumed, and your dog’s weight, could make for a serious medical emergency.

That being said, no matter how much your dog has eaten, there is no need to panic.

Learn why chocolate is so toxic to dogs, the signs of chocolate poisoning, and what steps you should take if your fur-friend gets their paws on your Cadbury chocolate block.

Sad dog with chocolate

Why Chocolate is Toxic to Dogs

Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, both which can speed the heart rate and stimulate the nervous system in dogs.

The risk of your dog becoming sick if they eat chocolate all comes down to the type and amount of chocolate, and also the weight of your dog.

Basically, a big dog such as a Lab is going to be able to tolerate a lot more than a small dog such as a Pug.

However, even the smallest amount of dark chocolate can be lethal to any sized dog.

A general rule to follow is the darker chocolate, the greater the risk.

To help you understand better, here is a list of common types of chocolate in the order of theobromine content and greatest risk of toxicity.

1. Straight cocoa powder
2. Unsweetened baker’s chocolate
3. Dark Chocolate
4. Milk Chocolate
5. White Chocolate

To calculate the expected toxicity level in your dog if they have eaten chocolate, use the helpful guide below:

Signs Your Dog Has Chocolate Poisoning

The greatest risk about chocolate toxicity, is that the signs of poisoning usually don’t appear until 6-12 hours after they have eaten it. And at this point, can make it very expensive and difficult to treat.

That is why it’s SO important to keep any chocolate in your home out of your dog’s reach – especially when you’re not home.

In the unfortunate case that your dog steals your Cadbury block off the coffee table, in the midst of an epic battle between Harry and Voldemort during your Harry Potter movie marathon. And you only notice right after Harry finally defeats the Dark Lord. Although not ideal pooch has just devoured half the block, at least you’re able to act quickly and give your pet the best chance of survival.

In the unlikely event that you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate while you weren’t home, look for the following signs:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Restlessness
  • Increase urination
  • Tremors
  • Elevated or abnormal heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Collapse or death

Sick dog

What to Do if Your Dog Eats Chocolate

Regardless of how much your dog as eaten, or the type of chocolate, you should ALWAYS call your veterinarian immediately.

That way you can explain to the vet your exact circumstances, and from there they will be able to recommend to you the steps you need to take for your individual situation.

If your dog has only eaten a few squares of milk chocolate, they might just recommend that you monitor your dog for the next few hours, and call back if you notice any changes in their behaviour.

If your vet is concerned or you are worried for your dog, they will likely get you to bring your pet in and they will induce vomiting and possibly give them a few doses of activated charcoal. This works to move the toxins out of the body, without being absorbed into the bloodstream.

And for more severe cases, your vet may provide supplemental treatment, such as medications or IV fluids, to resolve the effects of the poisoning, and may need to monitor your pet at the clinic overnight.

Vet and dog

Overall, if your dog does eat chocolate the most important thing to remember is not to panic.

Remain calm and ensure your dog is comfortable first and foremost, before taking any further steps.

And when in doubt, don’t hesitate to call your vet and they will happily guide you through.

If you’d like more vet approved pet health advice, sign up to our monthly newsletter here, or visit www.vetshopaustralia.com.au/Pet-Health.

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