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How to Help with Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs

A Chocolate lab

Did your dog just eat a whole batch of brownies or get the whole bag of baker’s chocolate from the shelve. A little bit of chocolate may be fine for your dog, but a whole lot of chocolate can cause a lot of problems in dogs.

This article will explain what you will see when your dog eats chocolate and what you need to do about it.

Is chocolate poisonous for dogs?

Chocolate is rarely fatal but can cause significant illness in your dog. Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine. Your dog cannot metabolize this substance. 

Theobromine is used medically as a diuretic, heart stimulant, blood vessel dilator, and a smooth muscle relaxant. These effects can cause a lot of problems in a healthy dog.

Baker’s chocolate and Dark chocolate contain the most theobromine per oz, which makes it very toxic. Milk chocolate and white chocolate contain way less, making them the least toxic.

An easy way to figure out if your dog at too much is a 25-pound dog would need to eat about ½ ounce of baker’s chocolate or 4.5 ounces of milk chocolate to have toxic side effects.

How much chocolate can hurt my dog?

The amount of chocolate that your dog can eat depends on the size of your dog and the type of chocolate. These are the common concentrations of theobromine found in the different types of chocolate. These are the amounts of theobromine in an ounce of the different types of chocolate.

  • Baker’s Chocolate and Dark chocolate contains 130-450mg per ounce oftheobromine
  • Milk chocolate contains 44-58mg per ounceof theobromine
  • White chocolate contains 0.25mg per ounce of theobromine

The toxic dosage of chocolate

These are the different signs you would see based on the amount of theobromine that your dog ate.

  • For Mild signs: 10mg per pound of body weight will cause agitation, hyperactivity, and GI signs such as vomiting and diarrhea
  • For Moderate signs: 20mg per pound of body weight will cause increased heart rate and high blood pressure
  • Severe signs: 30mg per pound of bodyweight will cause neurological signs such as tremors and seizures.
  • For Death: 100mg/pound

If math equations are not your expertise, there is a chocolate toxicity calculator foundhere that you can use to help you figure out if your dog ate a toxic amount or not. This calculator makes it very easy for you to even guess how much your dog possibly ate.

Many times we do not know for sure the exact weight of chocolate that our dog ate, and this helps give you a great guess. This chocolate toxicity calculator also will help you with signs that you need to look out for if your dog did eat that much chocolate.

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning

There are many signs and symptoms that you may see in your dog. Depending on how much chocolate your dog has eaten, they will start to show signs such as vomiting and diarrhea within 2 hours of eating the chocolate.

As time progresses, these signs will get worse. It can take up to 10 hours or more before very severe signs are seen. Usually, after three days, all the chocolate is out of your dog’s system, and they are back to normal.

Other common signs are seen in dogs who have eaten chocolate are:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased reflex responses
  • Muscle Rigidity
  • Rapid Breathing
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Low blood pressure F
  • Seizures
  • Cardiac Failure, weakness, or coma is often seen in late-stage poisoning

If you notice any of these signs, call your vet. They can advise you on what to do next.

Treating chocolate poisoning

If your dog ate a large amount of chocolate or you think that they are now starting to show signs of chocolate toxicity, it is best to call your vet. Your vet will let you know if there are any immediate procedures you need to perform before taking the dog to them.

Your vet will induce vomiting to get some of the toxins out. They can also give your dog medication to help control seizures if they start to occur.

Depending on the amount and what kind of chocolate your dog ate, they may need to stay in the hospital and monitored for any worsening signs. They will be placed on IV fluids to help keep their blood pressure regulated and keep them properly hydrated.

Can I Treat My dog at Home?

If your dog does eat chocolate and they did not get a lot, you need to make sure to keep your dog hydrated with lots of fluids. Usually, just one small piece of milk chocolate will not hurt your dog. It is also best to restrict their diet for several days to a bland food diet that is easier on the stomach.

You will need to monitor your dog for the next three days, and if they ever start showing symptoms, take them to your vet.

While chocolate in large amounts can be very toxic for your dog and make them very sick. If your dog eats chocolate, call your veterinarian or pet poison helpline to see if your dog will experience any of these side effects.

As soon as you start to notice something wrong with your dog, take them to your veterinarian as the quicker your pet is treated, the better the outcome

Meet The Author 

Dr. Sara Ochoa DVM


Since she was a little girl, Dr. Ochoa knew that her dream was to become a veterinarian. With a tremendous passion and love for animals, she is now a great source of knowledge for others. Dr. Ochoa lives happily with her husband Greg and her babies: Ruby the Schnoodle and Bam-Bam the bunny.

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