Chocolate poisoning in dogs
“My dog has eaten chocolate!” What to do about chocolate poisoning in dogs
You may have heard that chocolate is poisonous to dogs.
If your dog has eaten chocolate, the first thing to do is – not panic! It’s probably not as bad as you think.
Find out what the chocolate type is and how much they have eaten. The darker the chocolate, the higher the risk.
Chocolate Toxicity Calculator
If you think your dog has eaten a toxic amount of chocolate, take note of the amount and book your dog an emergency veterinary appointment straight away.
Find an emergency vet
Find your nearest White Cross Vets practice using the search bar at the top of this page.
If your local White Cross Vets practice isn’t open, you can call our ‘out of hours’ service partners Vets Now for advice and treatment.
To find your nearest out of hours emergency vet, visit the Vets Now website here.
How much chocolate is poisonous to dogs?
If a dog has eaten a full bar of 70% chocolate, that could be serious. But a dog would have to eat a lot more milk or white chocolate to have the same impact.
If you’re worried, call your vet immediately. If your pet can be treated within an hour, they should be fine. Ideally within half an hour.
Ask for an emergency appointment and get them to the vets as soon as possible.
Whatever you do, DON’T try to make the dog sick yourself. This can be extremely dangerous and can waste precious time.
Your vet can assess and treat them quickly and effectively.
The severity of the poisoning is influenced by the amount of chocolate eaten as well as the type of chocolate.
Theobromine and chocolate toxicity in dogs
Cocoa powder and dark chocolate are the biggest dangers to dogs as they contain more theobromine. Theobromine is a stimulant (a bit like caffeine) that is poisonous to dogs.
Dogs that eat a few smarties or a couple of bites of a chocolate chip cookie are unlikely to develop chocolate poisoning. But baker’s or cooking chocolate is highly toxic and any amount could be dangerous.
For milk chocolate, eating more than half an ounce per pound of body weight may put your dog at risk for chocolate poisoning.
For dark or semi-sweet chocolate, eating more than 0.13 ounces per pound of body weight may cause chocolate poisoning in dogs.
Age and general health are also factors that can affect chocolate toxicity in dogs.
Very young and very old dogs or dogs with underlying health conditions or diseases should be treated as higher risk than healthy adult animals.
Due to the large amount of fat in chocolate, some pets may develop pancreatitis (or inflammation of the pancreas) after eating chocolate or baked goods containing chocolate.
We always recommend giving your vet a call for advice or an emergency appointment. This is because it is hard to tell exactly how much your dog may have eaten, and there are so many variables to consider in relation to chocolate toxicity in dogs.