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.

The First Thing to Do if Your Dog Eats Chocolate

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.

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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.

You can also use Ask a Vet to talk to a veterinarian immediately!

Use the Chocolate Toxicity calculator by PetCare.com.au below to get a better idea 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
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased reflex responses
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Rapid breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • 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.

Now it’s your turn…

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.

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About the Author

Debi McKee is a mom of three kids, three dogs and the creator of Rescue Dogs 101... where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She also volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society.

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  1. My neighbor feeds his 65 lb Doodle
    2–4 Chips ahoy Chocolate cookies
    every night for a treat, plus what is left in his bowl
    Of ice cream with Hershey’s Syrup. Is this dangerous to the pup?

    1. Both are milk chocolate and I’m guessing since the dog eats it every night it’s not dangerous, but certainly not healthy for the dog (or the human, LOL). I’d be worried more about the amount of sugar!

  2. My toy poodle ate like very little bit of milk chocolate. He found it somewhere I don’t know but I got it out and I think he swallowed some because when I got it out but it was still in the shape it was before. So will he be okay?

  3. My 6 month old pup who’s around 25-28kg ate 400g of milk chocolate. He’s 8 hours after eating the chocolate, he’s not showing signs, I live in an extremely remote area and I don’t have access to a vet. I’m super worried is there anything I can do?

  4. So i walked into the tv room and one or both of my dogs ate around 4 Hershey kisses one is a pit bull and the other is a poodle will they be ok i dont have the money to take them to the animal hospital since its after 8pm here

  5. My english golden cream service dog ate a 6.6 oz box of chocolate covered cherries. At first I was OMG!!!! But I looked up what to do and found a formula for calculation. Ounces of chocolate x fifty eight ÷ dogs weight. As long if the final number is not to close to 20 they should be fine but to watch them for 72 hours. So for mine it was 6.6×58÷70 came out to be 5.468 so hopefully he will be ok

  6. My dog ate about 600 mg of dark chocolate a few days ago and he got extremely sick. He is a 7 year old Rhodesian ridgeback/mastiff and weighs 87 pounds, who has an enormous sweet tooth! That amount made him violently ill. He threw up a lot at first and then was extremely hyper active. I took him to the vets and his heart rate was above 200! He was very sick. For the past two days he has been on IV fluids and has a catheter in place. He is back home now for the night, and hopefully he rests tonight and gets no more tremors.
    Dark chocolate in the amount he ate has been extremely toxic. I thought we were going to lose him. I will never have chocolate in our home again! This experience has scared me a lot!

  7. In the mid 1970’s, we went to a cabin in the mountains with another family for Christmas week. We brought our wrapped gifts with us. Our friends had a Cairn Terrier they left in the cabin while we all went to town to buy a tree. When we returned, there were empty paper cups and a shredded Sees one lb. candy box, no candy. The dog had vomited, had diarrhea and drank water like crazy. None of us knew about the toxicity and just watched him until the problem disappeared in a couple of days. He never seemed to be in any lingering distress and recovered. Sees chocolates are a very high end candy and the box had an assortment. Someone had given our friends the box for Christmas.

  8. This is very useful information and I feel would benefit a lot of pet owners. Gonzo ate some chocolate once (the girls were not being careful with their cupcake) and I panicked. The vet confirmed everything you wrote. Also, that some dogs because of sensitivity or low immune system may react more regardless of dosage.

  9. My response to your post title is: TRY not to panic!! My dog ate a big thing of chocolate chip cookies. Luckily he is 70lbs and it was semisweet. He sure had a tummy ache from all those cookies, but he turned out to be ok. I of course visited the chocolate calculator!

  10. I had no idea that chocolate could be toxic for dogs until a few years ago while reading some of the dog blogs. It scares me how much we may have “messed up” our pets back when I was a child because we had no idea of the food and plants that were toxic.

  11. Now it’s hard to believe that decades ago, I used to routinely share chocolate candy bars with my 50 pound dog. She never got sick, because it really was a small amount of milk chocolate. Now I know better and never give my dogs chocolate.

  12. Dogs ingesting any chocolate is definitely a scary thing, but you are so right that overreacting does not help. And it takes more chocolate than you think to make them sick. Just like onions and garlic and grapes and whatever else, it’s just best to do whatever possible to keep potentially toxic foods up and away where our dogs can’t accidentally get into them, and to keep your vet’s number and the pet poison hotline number posted on your fridge. Great reminder post

  13. Such great info!!! I learned this from my vet when I panicked once after one of our pups ate a little chocolate. I love how you point out size of pup verse amount eaten and TYPE of chocolate! A lot of chocolate these days has such a low true chocolate in it. Still its always better to be concerned and ask for help than wait if in doubt. Great post to help us be aware of the signs of trouble!

  14. Our dog ate some M & Ms just over a year ago. At first, we weren’t too worried because they are milk chocolate, but he started vomiting and then became very restless. I was worried that he would have a heart attack and took him to the ER. Fortunately, he was okay.

  15. Well first thing I’d be like what did you do with Mr. N? And who are you? He doesn’t like chocolate. We’re still cautious about it though as he’s tiny and almost all of the chocolate in the house is dark or baking chocolate.

  16. I don’t own a dog however I’ve always heard chocolate is toxic to dogs. What I didn’t realize is that it depends on the amount as well as the size of the dog. Hmm…I learned something new. I definitely agree the best phone call to make is to the vet pronto.

  17. I like your list of symptoms – gets the message across loud and clear. I am sure so many people don’t know about chocolate. Kids eat it, dogs are family so they eat it too NOOOOOOO! We cannot ever stop trying to get the message across to dog owners.

  18. What a good article. I think to you need to know what it likely a risk for your own home environment. We know it’s a higher risk in our home for a few reasons 1) He’s 3.5 pounds so the impact is faster, harder and … well … 2) we are health nuts and that means we don’t do “candy” chocolate (in many countries if there isn’t at least 50% real cacao it can’t be called chocolate but only Candy) … we have cacao in the house. 100% raw cacao. So if any of that falls to the ground I am SUPER fast at cleaning it up. 3) know your dog. My dog isn’t food driven. Before we went vegan … I once dropped a lice of filet mignon on my lap right in front of him. He sniffed it, looked at me, and settled back to snooze. So … in that sense we are lucky!

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