My dog ate chocolate, what should I do? We all know chocolate can be toxic to dogs. But the question is, how much chocolate will make a dog sick? What 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.
What Types of Chocolate Are Toxic to My Dog?
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.
The First Thing to Do if Your Dog Eats 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 Chocolate Toxicity calculator by PetCare.com.au below to get a better idea if you should be rushing to the emergency vet.
My Dog ate a chocolate chip cookie
If your dog stole your chocolate chip cookie and you are worried, use the toxicity calculator above. Always use caution and call your emergency vet if you are concerned are see any signs of chocolate poisoning.
Most chocolate chip cookies are made with milk chocolate and have very small amounts of cocoa. If your dog ate a dark chocolate chip cookie, or an entire bag of chocolate cookies, then you may have more reason to be concerned. Again, use the Chocolate Toxicity calculator above to judge if you should be rushing to the emergency vet.
What Symptoms Should I Watch for If My Dog Ate Chocolate?
The symptoms of chocolate poisoning are as follows:
- Extreme thirst
- Increased body temperature
- Increased reflex responses
- Muscle rigidity
- Rapid breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Low blood pressure
- Advanced signs include cardiac failure, weakness, and coma
How Long Does It Take For Chocolate To Affect a Dog?
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 use the Chocolate Toxicity Meter for Dogs above, and call your emergency vet right away.
The Dogs and Chocolate Myth
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.