We all know chocolate can be toxic to dogs. But the question is, how much chocolate will make a dog sick? Or what even are the symptoms to watch for if your dog ate chocolate?
I’m guessing many dog owners have experienced their dog eating chocolate at least once in their lifetime. I know we have. It was more than 10 years ago when our dog ate two small boxes of Valentine chocolates. I honestly don’t remember which dog it was, I’m guessing it was Nala since she was the counter surfer. But we came home after dinner one night and my kids went to get the chocolate treats that Grandpa sent them for Valentine’s Day. You guessed it, all we found were two empty boxes on the floor!
Talk about panic, we’ve already been away for a couple of hours… so we could have come home to a very sick dog. But thank God, she never did get sick. I learned from that experience, never leave chocolate on the counter!
It turns out that although chocolate is toxic to our dogs, the type, amount and the size of your dog, make all the difference in the world. If you have a small 10 lb. dog, the smallest amount could make him very sick. But with our 90 lb. lab, Bear, he could get away with eating a good amount before showing any symptoms from eating chocolate.
PetMD has an awesome dog chocolate calculator. If your dog has eaten chocolate, I highly suggest checking this out… the Chocolate Toxicity Meter for Dogs
Well, the simple answer is, all chocolate is toxic. But the type and amount vary.
Milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, and white chocolate have the lowest amount of methylxanthines, the chemical in chocolate that makes our dogs sick.
While dark chocolate, cocoa powder, and bakers chocolate have much higher amounts of methylxanthines, making them much more toxic.
Our dog ate milk chocolate, and she was about 80 lbs., which is why she never got sick.
If you are wondering what to do if your dog does eat chocolate, you may want to call your emergency vet right away. A phone call is free and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Now with that said, if your dog is 60+ lbs. and ate one small piece of milk chocolate, I personally wouldn’t be too concerned. Just keep a close eye on him. Use the PetMD chocolate calculator to get a better idea if you should be rushing to the emergency vet.
The symptoms of chocolate poisoning are as follows:
According to the AKC website, it can take 6 to 12 hours for your dog to show any symptoms of chocolate poisoning, and symptoms can last up to 72 hours. If you know your dog has eaten chocolate, do not wait to see symptoms. It’s best to treat your dog before he shows the signs of feeling sick. Again, you may want to check out the Chocolate Toxicity Meter for Dogs and call your emergency vet right away.
Yes, chocolate is toxic to dogs, but I think there is a myth out there that even if your dog eats a tiny piece, he may die. Again, it all relates to the size of the dog, the type of chocolate and the amount of chocolate. So don’t panic if your dog snatches up a piece of chocolate chip cookie you dropped on the floor unless of course, you have a tiny dog!
So when you receive a box of chocolate this Valentines Day, or your kids bring home a bag of candy on Halloween, make sure to eat it and put it away where your pooch can’t possibly reach it.
I love to hear your stories, has your dog ever eaten a box of chocolate before? Did he get sick? Comment below and share with our Rescue Dogs 101 Community.
Debi McKee is a life-long dog lover and owner, volunteers for Fetch WI, fostering rescue dogs, performing home visits and more. She also attends every dog training seminar available to her, and is continually looking for ways to build her knowledge of dog adoption, health and training. Her goal is to guide you through every step of your dog journey. Read her story and learn about the dogs behind Rescue Dogs 101. If you have a question, please feel free to send Debi a message here.