how much chocolate is toxic to dogs

How Much Chocolate is Toxic to Dogs?

Reviewed by Lauren Cannon, DVM

Have you ever wanted to share your treat with your pet, and wondered how much chocolate is toxic to dogs?

The best answer is that it’s probably best not to share your chocolate with your puppy ever, not even a little piece.

We will take a look at some of the details, and see just why chocolate is so bad for dogs.

We will also see what steps to take if you find that your dogs have found the chocolates you have hidden in the cupboard.

The first thing to do is take the chocolate away!

Why is Chocolate Toxic to Dogs?

how much chocolate is toxic to dogs

Chocolate, in its makeup has two components that are poisonous to dogs, theobromine, an alkaloid of the cacao plant, and caffeine. 

These two chemical components are what are called methylxanthines, and are processed very slowly in a dog’s body.

The methylxanthines act as stimulants, and as these toxins build up in your dog without being eliminated quickly, problems begin to happen.

If high amounts of chocolate are consumed your dog could begin to vomit and have diarrhea.

They may begin to have seizures that can lead to the death of the dog.

A lot will depend on how much chocolate was consumed and how big your dog is.

Take a look at the calculator below to make a determination.

How Much Chocolate is Toxic to Dogs?

how much chocolate is toxic to dogs

It will all depend on what kind of chocolate your dog has eaten to determine how much is too much.

It will also depend on the size and health of your dog.

Baking chocolate is probably the worst, with only half an ounce for a ten pound dog.

Dark chocolate is a little bit better with a dose of about one and a half ounces for a ten pound dog.

Milk chocolate is a little more forgiving with about three and a half ounces for a ten pound dog.

White chocolate is usually nothing to worry about, given technically it is not even chocolate.

A ten pound dog would have to ingest approximately 50 pounds of the stuff to cause problems.

Signs of Chocolate Poisoning

how much chocolate is toxic to dogs

The most common signs are that your dog will most likely have an elevated heart rate, with vomiting and diarrhea.

Dogs with chocolate poisoning will act restless, pant excessively, and appear to be very thirsty, with excessive urination.

It can take several hours for some signs to show up, which then may last many days given the long half-life of theobromine.

Tremors and seizures are also typical signs of chocolate poisoning in dogs.

Another dangerous possibility is that the theobromine can be reabsorbed into the dog’s body from the bladder. 

And of course the worst signs are sudden death due to cardiac arrest of the animal.

What to Do if You Think Your Dog Has Chocolate Poisoning

how much chocolate is toxic to dogs

If you suspect that your dog has eaten any amount of chocolate it is best to contact your veterinarian or animal poison control center immediately.

If it is a small amount then it is best to keep a close eye on your dog to make sure it was able to eliminate the toxins on its own.

Chocolate Toxicity Calculator for Dogs

When to See a Veterinarian

how much chocolate is toxic to dogs

See your veterinarian right away upon suspecting that your dog has ingested chocolate that is beyond a safe limit.

The vet will give medication that will induce vomiting, as well as charcoal to absorb as much toxicity as possible.

Administering an IV treatment is very common, in order to counteract the loss of fluid from the vomiting and diarrhea.

The dog will need to be closely monitored, blood pressure checked, while given medications to slow their heart rate.

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