Your dog and chocolate: Why it's bad and what to do - World of Angus

Chocolate & Your Dog: A Toxic Combo

Your pup + Easter chocolate = disaster

Some dogs seem like they have an iron stomach. My Siberian Husky got into our recycling bin once and chewed up some empty tin cans. After a trip to the vet, it was determined that she was completely fine. Her sister ate an entire Toblerone bar once. The really really big one. After close observation, she was also deemed completely healthy. 

While those dogs were perhaps beautiful freaks of nature, dog owners must be conscious of what food they leave around the house and what their pup gets into. Chocolate tops every single list of the top foods you shouldn't feed your dog. Since it's Easter weekend and many houses will be filled with chocolate we figured it was a good time to look into the why of it all. And what you should do if you suspect your sneaky pup got a head start on your chocolate Easter egg hunt. 

The Why

We all know that your pup shouldn't get into your Easter basket. But why? What is it about chocolate that is so bad? How do you know how much is too much?

It's something called theobromine that's toxic to our furry friends. Theobromine is similar to caffeine and affects the heart, central nervous system and the kidneys. 

The severity of the symptoms will greatly depend on how much chocolate your dog ate, what kind of chocolate, and how much they weigh. The general rule is that 9 to 18 mg of theobromine per pound is toxic.

Here are the guidelines on how much theobromine is in each type of chocolate:

Type of chocolate Amount of theobromine
White chocolate Minimal amounts
Milk chocolate 44 - 64 mg
Semi-sweet chocolate/
Sweet dark chocolate
150 - 160 mg
Unsweetened baking chocolate 390 - 450 mg
Dry cocoa powder 800 mg 

Not sure how much theobromine your pup ingested? To make things easy, here's a chocolate toxicity metre from PetMD

If your dog ingested chocolate, you might not see any symptoms for 4 - 24 hours. Theobromine stays in the body for a long time so symptoms can last up to 72 hours. Some of the symptoms documented include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Extreme/unusual energy
  • Extreme thirst
  • Panting
  • Pacing
  • Seizures
  • Shaking

Don't wait to see symptoms. If you're concerned, contact your vet right away. Treating your pup early will help them recover more quickly. 

What do you do?

First contact your vet. They will give you instructions and/or tell you to bring the dog in. 

Typically, when your dog isn't feel well, he will make himself vomit. But if you're watching and he hasn't done that, your veterinarian may want you to induce vomiting. One way to do that is to give him 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide for every 20 pounds. A medicine dropper works well to give it to him. 

Once your dog vomits, don't give them any food or water. 

Keep a close eye on your pup, but stay calm. If your calm, your dog tends to be much calmer. 

Your best preventative measure is to make sure you keep that toxic, delicious chocolate out of your pup's reach. 

If you're a pet owner you should be familiar with all the foods your dog shouldn't get into. Take a read through a list of 12 of these things here

What has your pup gotten into? Have you had a chocolate related emergency before? What did you do? Tell us in the comments!


Katherine Wellman
Katherine Wellman


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