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What to Do if Your Dog Ate Chocolate

Updated on February 21, 2016

What if Your Dog Eats Chocolate?

Around Christmas time, Valentine's Day, and Easter, the veterinary hospital I worked for was bombarded by frantic phone calls about their dogs eating chocolate. Everybody loves chocolate and so it comes as no surprise that Lassie goes for a fix too. If your dog ate your last batch of brownies or stole your unattended bag of Oreo cookies, you have a reason to be concerned, as chocolate can be harmful to dogs. At the vet clinic, we used to take these phone calls very seriously.

The culprit of chocolate intolerance in dogs is a substance found in chocolate called theobromine. The level of toxicity is determined by various factors:

  • the amount ingested
  • the concentration of theobromine
  • the overall health status of the dog
  • and the size and weight of the dog.

The effects may range from a mild stomach upset, excitability, to even a potentially fatal cardiac arrest.

But how much is too much? How can an owner know when it is time to rush their beloved pet to the vet, or simply keep a watchful eye on him/her?

How Much is Too Much?

It is really difficult to determine exact toxic levels, as there are different factors to keep in mind and sometimes the effects may also vary on an in individual basis (just like in humans, one alcoholic drink may cause one to feel dizzy while another may still feel sober on his third drink).

As a general rule of thumb, the toxic levels of chocolate in dogs according to PetPlace veterinarians are as follows. (Note that the lower range is likely to cause mild signs whereas the higher range is likely to cause severe toxicity.)

  • White chocolate: 45 ounces to 90 ounces per pound of body weight. A 20 pound dog would need to ingest 55 pounds to exhibit nervous system signs.
  • Milk chocolate: 0.7 ounces to 2 ounces per pound of body weight. A 20 pound dog would have to ingest a little less than one pound to exhibit nervous system signs.
  • Semi-sweet chocolate: 1/3 ounce to 1 ounce per body weight. A 20 pound dog would have to ingest only 6 ounces to exhibit nervous system signs.
  • Baking chocolate: 0.1 ounce to 0.3 ounces per body weight. A 20 pound dog would have to ingest 2 ounces to exhibit nervous system signs. All it takes for a 10 pound dog to exhibit nervous system signs is one ounce!

Generally, the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the higher its theobromine contents. It is very important to determine, therefore, the type of chocolate ingested and the amount. This information is often found on the candy wrapper. At the same time, it is also important to know the dog's weight.

Confused by all these numbers? Use this cool tool, a virtual dog chocolate toxicity calculator crafted by veterinarian Dr. Marie by visiting this link: Dog Chocolate Calculator. No guarantees of accuracy can be made.

A Vet Explains Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs

What to Do

Once you realize your dog has ingested a toxic dose, the best thing to do is to contact your veterinarian and follow their instructions. They will need to know:

  • the amount of chocolate ingested
  • how long ago it was ingested
  • and the weight of your dog.

He/she may also ask you to induce vomiting if your dog ingested less than two hours ago. This is the time when it is still in the stomach.

Inducing Vomiting

Always keep on hand 3% hydrogen peroxide which will help the dog induce vomiting. Your vet will instruct you on how much to give. Unfortunately vomiting alone may not be sufficient, since some of the theobromine may still be absorbed. Your dog may require further treatment at the vet's hospital. Keep in mind that there is no antidote for chocolate poisoning, therefore, treatment is mostly supportive!

Toxicity Symptoms

Symptoms suggesting chocolate toxicity include the following: Vomiting

  • diarrhea
  • hyperactivity
  • panting
  • increased urination
  • high blood pressure
  • high heart rate
  • seizures
  • coma

Don't wait for these to happen! the sooner you see your vet the better chances of recovery and the cheaper on your wallet!) Note: chocolate mulch can also cause toxicity in dogs!

These symptoms may only develop after 12 hours post ingestion. Therefore, don't assume that just because your dog is doing fine that he will not get sick. See your vet immediately instead!

Tips

  • Always keep chocolate and candy bars away from your furry friend.
  • Always keep on hand 3% hydrogen peroxide and activated charcoal.
  • The quicker you act, the better the prognosis. Generally, dogs treated within four hours have the highest chance of survival. Time is of the essence, so do not delay treatment. Call your vet for advice and follow it carefully.
  • If your vet is closed, seek help from a 24 hour animal emergency center immediately or call the ASPCA Poison Control at (888) 426-4435.

Note: I am not a vet and I am not qualified to determine if your dog will get sick or not from eating chocolate. Remember to always call your vet for advice!

How to Induce Vomiting in Dogs Who Ate Chocolate Less Than 2 Hours Ago

Did you know chocolate was poisonous to dogs?

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Dog Ate Chocolate Comments

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    • profile image

      Rebeca 7 years ago

      My dog ate three kisses maybe 4 or 5 kisses i gave him aglass of warm milk but i am still worried.

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      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 7 years ago from USA

      It really depends on the type of chocolate and how much your dog weighs. I would not have given the milk because if the Hershey kisses were the milk chocolate ones, too much milk may cause diarrhea.

      If they were the milk chocolate ones the good news is that milk chocolate, is much more "safe" compared to baking chocolate or cocoa. You need to do some math on how many ounces each kiss weighs and how many pounds your dog weighs. Here is a link to a good table for these type of calculations:http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&a...

      If she ate just four or five she should be fine especially is she is on the larger side. At worse, a bit of upset tummy and diarrhea may pay a visit.

    • profile image

      Brittany 7 years ago

      You should never give your dog chocolate,it is harmful to them. I'm a Veterinary Assistant, I'm always careful with chocolate and I keep it away from my dog.

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      Kelly 7 years ago

      My dog ate a resis pieces then now won't stop eattin stuff from everywhere what should I do?????!!!!!????? =(

    • alexadry profile image
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      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 7 years ago from USA

      Greetings, sorry for the delay in answering your question. We are on different time zones as I am vacationing in Europe at this time. Hope your dog is feeling better by now. Just one reeses piece should not be sufficient to cause chocolate toxicity. If your dog weighed 5 pounds it would take 4 ounces of milk chocolate to cause toxicity. A reeses pieces therefore may contain a very small amount (check the label as it may even not contain chocolate at all!)

      However, your dog appears to be eating stuff from everywhere? What do you mean by that? Is your dog sort of acting panickly, licking off the floor, walls and eating anything in sight? This may be a sign of nausea or something stuck in the throat such as a foxtail.

      For future reference here is a table about chocolate toxicity:

      http://beaglesunlimited.com/beaglehealth_chocolate...

    • profile image

      Kat Snack 6 years ago

      Hello! I have a miniature poodle puppy who weighs about 5 pounds. A few months ago she got into a half bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips. She ate the ENTIRE remainder of the bag (about 6 oz.) I had no idea she had even eaten it until she started vomiting chocolate. Immediately, I called an after-hour emergency vet. I gave her hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting. She had vomited at least 5 or 6 HUGE piles of melted chocolate. After about an hour and a half after ingestion, regardless of all the vomiting, she started showing some strange behavior. Her limbs were twitching sporadically and she wouldn't sit still. I decided to take her to the emergency vet. They had recommended a few things - EKG monitoring, activated charcoal, medication to get her heart rate down... I didn't have much money, so I decided on the activated charcoal. Luckily, she had vomited most of the chocolate up now the charcoal could absorb toxins in the stuff that was still in her system. When I took her home, she wouldn't sit still. She reminded me of someone who had had too much coffee. Finally, she got to sleep.

      The point is when your dog eats chocolate, it's important to take action. The vet told me if I had not done anything, my dog would have died without question. Depending on the size of your dog, the type of chocolate it eats, and the amount of chocolate it eats, your dog could be in danger. If you are unsure of the amount your dog ate, it's still a good idea to use hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting if you know the ingestion wasn't long ago. The appropriate dose of hydrogen peroxide is one teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight.

      Hope my experience helps!

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      Summer 6 years ago

      We have a minature poodle/ bishon that is 18 months old & weighs 20-21 lbs. He ate 2 pieces of dark chocolate (about .5-.6 oz. ). What should we do?

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      Kim 5 years ago

      My 70lb goldendoodle ate cookies and brownies. I am not sure how many and what kind of chocolate. what do i do??

    • alexadry profile image
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      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 5 years ago from USA

      Sorry I usually check my comments once a day and sometimes I get to them only in the evening. How is he doing? I hope you were able to call your vet.

    • profile image

      Penny 5 years ago

      My Miniature Doberman Pincher weighing 2.5 kilos and 15months old ate a huge bar of dark chocolate with nuts. she has vomitted a couple of times but her stomach is big and she is restless. after about three hours she is trying to sleep. The vet is not available as it is midnight. What do we do?

    • alexadry profile image
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      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 5 years ago from USA

      It is good she vomited but I am concerned about her being restless and her stomach being bloated, please seek an emergency vet ASAP, they are open 24 hours.

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      jessica 5 years ago

      My 10 lb yorkie ate some bit size milk chocolates him n my other dog ate a bag of maybe 20 pieces. They aye them around 2pm I did the Prox. At 6 pm they both got sick but now my yorkie is wobblely but is sleeping now n is just really slow! We don't have 25 he vets? But I was thinking maybe his just sick bc he poked b4 I gave him Prox n after! Hope this makes since I'm at work n my bf called n to watch him ?

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      corey 5 years ago

      hello,

      my beagle just all but 3 out of a box of chocolates... (about 25 of them)... Shes pukeing a lot( about 7 times) since i came home from school... its now 7:00 and I suspect she ate the chocolates between 1:20 and 3:00........ Im very wooried because shes my best friend and scared shes going to get sick... what should I do???

      Thanks,

    • profile image

      MY DOG ATE A FULL CHOCHLATE BAR! what should i do?!?!? 5 years ago

      i had a full sized willy wonka choclate bar and i left to use the bathroom and when i came back it was gone. i have a girl beagle, about 2 years old... here is a picture of the candy. should i try giving her some food that has protien because it helps her digest things better..? i don't know if this has to do with anything but, when i usually come home she is very hyperactive and starts howling, as if i was gone for a long time.

    • profile image

      Hannah 5 years ago

      My 8 pound chihuahua just ate two .6oz chocolate bars, will he be okay?

    • alexadry profile image
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      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 5 years ago from USA

      Hannah, it depends on your dog's weight and the type of chocolate used in the bar, here is a guide for you:

      http://www.petplace.com/dogs/why-dogs-can-t-eat-ch...

      If in doubt, call an animal hospital and they will tell you over the phone what to do.

    • profile image

      Jessica 5 years ago

      Hi, I just wanted to thank you for posting these, and being active on checking your comments. This shows your awareness and dedication. I was worries about my golden retriever puppy, but now I know shell be fine because of you. All in all thanks! Keep up the awesome work! :)

      Cheers!

    • alexadry profile image
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      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 5 years ago from USA

      Awww, thank you! These posts make me feel happy and helpful...what and how much chocolate did she eat? Keep an eye on her and if you are not sure about something please consult with your vet.Kind regards!

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      melissa 5 years ago

      Thank, thank you thank you. my dog ate white chocolate and I was getting sick over this, so happy it is not that bad as other types of chocolate.

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      brenda 5 years ago

      My dog ate chocolate and got sick but was ok afterwards, would vomiting it make him out of the woods?

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      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 5 years ago from USA

      If he vomited withing 2 hours of ingesting it, technically yes, if you think he vomited the whole amount he ate.

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      melissa 5 years ago

      I just induced vomiting in my lab because he ate a few hershey kisses, only now I saw it probably was not necessary! because he is big and it was milk chocolate, oh well. Sorry Rover! Well... now at least now I know what to do if he really eats a toxic amount!

    • alexadry profile image
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      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 5 years ago from USA

      Well, yes, you should know by now how well the hydrogen peroxide works!

    • profile image

      cristhol 5 years ago

      My dog ate a milk chocolate bar and was fine afterward, no diarrhea, no vomiting, not hyper. I guess the dose was not enough to create problems?

    • profile image

      Janet 5 years ago

      My chocolate lab ate a tray of chocolate brownies about 12 hours ago. I induced vomiting with peroxide about an hour after she ate them. She seems fine, but I'm still worried. It's 1:25 a.m. & I can't sleep cause I'm looking for signs. She's sleeping soundly & I'm wide awake! How long after ingestion should I look for signs?

    • alexadry profile image
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      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 5 years ago from USA

      Janet, generally with chocolate toxicity you should see within 5 hours an irregular heart rate, tremors, seizures, hyperactivity. If your dog seems fine, most likely he vomited most of it. The fact he is a lab and vomited should make this unlikely. Keep an eye on him for the rest of the day, best wishes!

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      Worried sick 5 years ago

      Awesome! the video from the vet really reassured me, thank you for posting this; it helped me feel better, if felt almost as if having a vet in my living room talking to me.

    • alexadry profile image
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      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 5 years ago from USA

      Great, I am happy the dog ate chocolate video was helpful to you, Best wishes!

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      Judy 4 years ago

      my 50 pound goldendoodle just ate a box of double stuff oreos. Do I need to induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide?

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      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 4 years ago from USA

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      Antonio 4 years ago

      My dog ate a bailey's ( they are those things with a mix of chocolate and alcohol in the middle and solid chocolate on the outside) and I gave her milk and she drank it all. So I gave her another bowl but she didn't finish it. She was trembling a lot a while a go but she stopped more or less. I don't know what to do! I'm only 10!!!!!

    • alexadry profile image
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      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 4 years ago from USA

      Your best bet is to call a vet or any emergency vet and tell them the exact ingredients in the chocolate (dark chocolate is worse) along with the weight of your dog; the smaller the more likely they are to get sick from it. best wishes!

    • animalloverrrrr profile image

      animalloverrrrr 4 years ago

      My dog ate chocolate he want eat he's laying around looks sick please help

    • animalloverrrrr profile image

      animalloverrrrr 4 years ago

      What?

    • animalloverrrrr profile image

      animalloverrrrr 4 years ago

      I was eating an he looked at me so I gave him some turkey he ate it . He has worms treated him twice hasn't worked ...does he have a belly ache???

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      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 4 years ago from USA

      Animalloverr, my page has been attacked by spammers as you can see, I am working at removing them. As my article disclaimer announces, you should see your vet anytime your dog is sick and especially if he ate chocolate. Please call your vet and tell him how much he ingested, how long ago, the type of chocolate and the weight of your dog. Best wishes!

    • Jen Beckers profile image

      Jennifer Beckers 2 years ago from Palm Beach County

      I knew chocolate was bad but I had no idea so many factors went into it. Thankfully that's never happened to my dogs but thanks now I know what to do if they somehow get into my stash!

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      faith 2 years ago

      My 30 pound beagle just ate half of a extra large sized krackle bar. Is she going to be alright?? She seems to be breathing normally...

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      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 2 years ago from USA

      My article has a link that brings you to the chocolate toxicity calculator, you would put the weight of the dog, the type of chocolate ingested and how many ounces was ingested. Is crackle the miniature chocolate of the larger bar? is it milk or dark chocolate? how many ounces is it? that's the info you would put there. However, I cannot grant how accurate it is ,so a call to your vet to confirm is a good idea.

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      Sarah gibbs 23 months ago

      Hello my dog ate chocolate almost 24 hrs ago we feel and the vets closed any suggestions

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      Shemp 18 months ago

      Oh no!!!! My dog is a Chocolate Lab! Will it die!?!??

    • profile image

      sarah 16 months ago

      Hi,

      Our 52 lb mixed breed ate about 1/2 a tray (approx. 10 brownies) which were made with semi-sweet chocolate and 2 oz. of cacao. ALL of the chocolate was of the dark kind. I don't think she vomited and it was at least 7 hours ago since I just came back from work and see that it's gone. She seems fine and is not acting hyperactive or with an irregular heart beat. It is 7:30pm and our vet is closed and also, I think too late to induce vomiting. Any ideas? Freaking out!!!

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      DD 15 months ago

      My lil poodle who will be 2 Aug 19 ate chocolate about 30 hours ago he has literally puked about 15-20 times do you think he will be ok,

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      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 15 months ago from USA

      After how much time of eating the chocolate did he vomit? Has your dog shown symptoms. I would call your vet just to be safe.

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      Emily 13 months ago

      My dog got into a trash bag today and it had a lot of leftover chocolate cake.. We realized after a while that he had got into it and not sure how much he actually ate.. He has thrown up three times and its definitely the cake and some food he had right after.. What do i do???

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      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 12 months ago from USA

      Emily, sorry have been away for a month and catching up. Hopefully,he got all lthe chocolate out and your dog by now is backing to being a happy camper.

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      ConcernedKid 10 months ago

      Hi, my dog is a cocker spaniel beagle and I found him a few minutes ago eating abot half a bowl full of cocoa pebbles that I had beside my bed that I had previously been nibbling on. Im not sure what to do, my parents are sleeping and they might kill me if I woke them up cuz they have work in the morning. Please respond quickly, im very worried, crying even......... thank you

      - a concerned kid

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      Jastine Delfin 9 months ago

      I gave chocolate filled biscuit with my 3 month old husky, when i realize that chocolote is toxic for dogs, i grab immediately the half of the biscuit...

      What shall i do.

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      Emily Hummus 8 months ago

      I have a 10 year old Toy Fox Terrier and he ate two semi-sweet chocolate chips. So far he is not showing any signs or symptoms. Did he eat too much? Should I be concerned?

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      shelby 7 months ago

      my 16 pound mini Aussie ate 8 milk chocolate Hershey kisses and i am very scared can some one please help me!

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      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 7 months ago from USA

      Milk chocolate is fortunately not as toxic to dogs as dark chocolate. More concerning may be the foils if she/he ingested them with the foil. Keep an eye on your dog for any symptoms of trouble and report to your vet if you notice any. Here's a dog who at 20 pounds ate 2 dozen! .http://www.justanswer.com/pet-dog/1zsa9-dog-just-a...

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      Nicole ropog 5 months ago

      My dog got ahold of 6 ounces of chocolate. He is about 55 pounds. I love him so much. Will he be ok?

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      Finn 3 months ago

      My dog ate a few chocolate lambs (aero kind from easter) he won't stop whining and making strange noises and he's being really hyper and drinking a lot of water. His name is Max, he's a miniature dachshund and weighs just about 14 pounds and we don't know what to do. We don't know if we should induce vomiting. He's being very hyperactive. His stomach is also making strange noises. Please help.

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      Jim 2 months ago

      My half lab half American bulldog just ate half of a brownie I bought from a treat store, am worried she will get sick! Gave her salt to Induce vomiting not sure what to do.

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      Chantel castro 2 months ago

      I Hershey's kiss

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