What happens if my dog eats chocolate?

How do know if your dog ate chocolate and what are the consequences? Chocolate consumption is toxic to dogs and can lead to serious health issues. Theobromine and caffeine, two chemicals in chocolate, are responsible for chocolate’s poison despite their relativity safety in humans.  

Theobromine is the most toxic component of chocolate. Dogs digest theobromine and caffeine differently compared to humans. Dogs cannot digest theobromine and are more susceptible to the effects of its poison. 

When does chocolate consumption become toxic for dogs? 

Chocolate comes in a wide variety of flavors and forms, with varying concentrations of theobromine. Dark and bitter chocolates are more toxic to dogs compared to white chocolate. An ounce of baking chocolate or quality dark chocolate contains between 130 and 450 mg of theobromine.

White chocolate presents a low risk of chocolate poisoning in dogs but there is still a risk. White chocolate contains 0.25 mg per ounce of theobromine.

Milk chocolate typically contains between 44 and 58 mgs per ounce of theobromine.

Baker’s chocolate contains heavily concentrated theobromine, around 390 mgs per ounce. Baker’s chocolate is the most dangerous chocolate to dogs.

The smallest dose of chocolate can affect your dog’s health. A 50-pound dog would only need to consume one ounce of baker’s chocolate or nine ounces of milk chocolate to exhibit signs of poisoning.

What are the clinical signs of chocolate poisoning in dogs? 

Clinical signs vary from dog to dog, depending on the kind and quantity of chocolate consumed.  

The clinical signs of chocolate poisoning in dogs can be delayed by several days because theobromine can stay in a dog’s digestive system for days. The type and quantity of chocolate consumed can affect the type of exhibited clinical signs.  

The most common clinical signs are: 

  • Vomiting  
  • Increased thirst 
  • Restlessness 
  • Excessive urine 
  • And other clinical signs  

Heart rate and blood pressure abnormalities are possible in more severe cases. Call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline® as soon as possible, if you suspect your pet has consumed chocolate. 

What if your dog eats excessive amounts of chocolate?  

Contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline® as soon as you believe your dog has eaten chocolate. Veterinarians will use IV fluids to help with excretion of theobromine. Other medications can be used to induce vomiting.