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A dog eating food they shouldn’t is extremely common. However, just because it is common, does not mean it isn’t dangerous. In fact, when people say that dogs can die from eating chocolate, they’re not exaggerating While every encounter with chocolate may not be deadly, it is still a serious risk to your dog’s health. To be safe, keep all chocolate away from your pups. If your dog has eaten some chocolate, read more to understand what you can do and why chocolate is so toxic.

Follow These Steps if Your Dog Has Consumed Chocolate

If your dog has recently consumed chocolate, follow these steps below to bring your dog back to health.

Step #1

Assess the Amount of Chocolate Eaten

The amount of chocolate your dog has consumed is extremely important in determining the next steps. The amount, and size of your dog, can help you understand the severity of the situation. Depending on the overall size of your dog, even a small amount can be toxic and cause uncomfortable symptoms in your dog. In many dogs, just one standard chocolate bar could be lethal. Once you’ve determined how much was consumed you can seek professional guidance.
a vet examining a dog on an exam table at a veterinarian’s office

Step #2

Call Your Vet Right Away

After you understand how much chocolate your dog has consumed as compared to their size, you should immediately contact a vet to determine any necessary next steps. A vet can walk you through at-home treatment, or they may recommend that you bring your dog in for an urgent evaluation. This will all depend on how much chocolate your dog consumed, and whether that chocolate was milk or pure dark chocolate.

Step #3

Follow Your Professional’s Recommended Treatment

If your dog ingests chocolate, following a veterinarian’s treatment recommendations is vital to restoring the health of your canine.

How Do Veterinarians Treat Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs?

If any chocolate products have been ingested by your dog, a vet may proceed with treatments such as:

  • Activated Charcaol
  • Antacids
  • Inducing Vomiting

Step #4

Prevent Your Dog’s Future Access to Chocolate

After getting immediate help with a vet’s assistance, be sure to rearrange your storage of sweets. While accidents can always happen, if you work to reorganize your kitchen in a way that makes it difficult for a dog to access that chocolate candy, it could save their life in the future, or prevent an urgent vet visit.

Why Is Chocolate Toxic to Dogs?

Chocolate contains a compound called theobromine. This chemical affects the nervous system of dogs and in some cases can cause convulsions. Theobromine can also affect the respiratory systems and cardiovascular systems in dogs. This compound isn’t toxic to humans since our digestive systems are able to process it more healthily than in dogs.

What Kinds of Chocolate Are Toxic to Dogs?

All kinds of cacao-derived products are toxic to dogs. These are the top three most severe kinds of chocolate a dog can eat.

  • Cocao Powder
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate
  • Unsweetened Chocolate

How Much Chocolate Is Toxic to a Dog?

Just a small amount of 20mg of theobromine is toxic to dogs. This could also be around 25mg of chocolate. The amount that is toxic overall depends on the concentration of theobromine in the chocolate. The darker, and more strong the chocolate, the more toxic it is. If the candy bar is heavy with milk chocolate and other sweetener additives, it may be less toxic.

What Are the Symptoms of Chocolate Toxicity?

The key signs to look out for in chocolate toxicity in dogs include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Racing Heart
  • Increased Thirst

Does Chocolate Cause Permanent Damage in Dogs?

If your dog has recovered from chocolate toxicity, there may be some lingering effects such as permanent nerve damage in the brain. However, once the theobromine has been fully processed and is out of a dog’s system, most canines will make a full recovery after eating a small amount of chocolate.

How to Get Started

Step One:
Call us to book your pet’s appointment.

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Step Two:
Our expert vet will take care of all of your pet’s needs.

Step Three:
Get back to enjoying your happy and healthy life with your furry best friend.

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Dr. Bilal Qasim, DVM, established Dr. Phillips Animal Hospital in 2011 after practicing veterinary medicine for over 17 years with the help of talented and caring veterinary technicians.