How Much Chocolate Can a Dog Eat? | DogExpress
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How Much Chocolate Can a Dog Eat

How Much Chocolate Can a Dog Eat?

Does your dog eat too much chocolate? Do you know how much chocolate is good for your dog? This article informs dog owners of the damage a single chocolate bar can do to their dogs’ health.

Chocolate is the leading cause of toxicity in dogs and is often fatal. Also, it is painful to see your puppy or dog suffering from a bite of chocolate you gave it with love.

Chocolate usually contains a lot of caffeine or theobromine your dog can’t handle. It usually differs based on how much chocolate an average-sized dog can ingest. According to its size, a small amount of chocolate is enough to kill a dog. It means a small puppy cannot ingest a specific amount of chocolate that a mature dog can.

How much chocolate is good for your dog?

Vets often do not suggest chocolate for the dogs because a small piece could also harm them. An average 500g chocolate bar or 170g chocolate cake contains 3000 mg of the active ingredient (theobromine), which could be fatal.

The following table gives you a clear picture of how much chocolate is good for you:

Dog’s Size Milk Chocolate Dark Chocolate
3 – 4 kg 27g 11g
6 – 8 kg 53g 22g
16 – 23 kg 140g 58g
30 – 35 kg 261g 109g
57 – 89 kg 496g 206g

Why is dark chocolate more harmful to dogs?

Dark chocolate contains theobromine in a large amount, so vets do not recommend more than 3.5g per kg body weight for your dog. On the other hand, white chocolate only contains small amounts of theobromine, which is less harmful. However, a larger amount can cause vomiting, diarrhea, or even poisoning.

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs

Usually, the symptoms of chocolate poisoning are noticeable within an hour, 24 hours, or even last up to 72 hours. Mature dogs with heart diseases are more prone to chocolate toxicity. These symptoms may

Below are the common symptoms of chocolate poisoning or chocolate toxicosis in dogs:

  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Diarrhea
  • Extreme thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Hyperactivity
  • Pacing
  • Panting
  • Muscle tremors
  • Seizures

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Things to do when your dog has chocolate poisoning

Consult your veterinarian right away if you suspect chocolate poisoning in your dog. Firstly, check the quantity of chocolate your dog eats and note its nutritional information. Schedule a veterinarian appointment and tell the dog’s weight, type of chocolate, and nutritional information.

Your vet may suggest you induce your dog to vomit within 2 hours at home. Moreover, monitor its health for 4-6 hours if it has eaten only a small amount of chocolate. However, if eaten in a potentially toxic amount and entered into the bloodstream, a complete physical examination will help diagnose.

Read Also: Why Is My Dog Vomiting?

Some ways that can help your vet to diagnose the disease include:

  • A complete blood analysis
  • A urinalysis to detect any organ failure
  • Electrocardiography (EKG) to detect heart arrhythmias or abnormalities
  • Radiographs to detect other injuries

How do you make your dog vomit?

Once you’ve detected chocolate poisoning in your dog, your vet may suggest inducing your dog to vomit. To make your dog vomit, give it 3% hydrogen peroxide and 1:1 with water—around 1 teaspoon per 5 pounds. A maximum of 3 tablespoons is sufficient for dogs weighing more than 45 pounds.

Your dog should swallow the peroxide. You can just follow the below instructions to make your dog vomit:

“Use a syringe to squirt it into your dog’s throat. Hold its mouth and rub under the throat, or blow into its nose, to get it to swallow. Your dog may appear to improve as soon as you get the theobromine out of its body.”

Ask your vet for activated charcoal

You should always ask your vet before giving activated charcoal to your dog for chocolate poisoning. As activated charcoal blocks theobromine from absorbing into your dog’s body. Moreover, giving a high dose of activated charcoal to your dog is not recommended because it may cause hypernatremia and can be risky.

A standard dose is between 1 and 5 g per kg of body weight or amount of chocolate consumed. You can sprinkle it on food, yogurt, or anything to eat. You can also use the same method we have suggested for hydrogen peroxide. But give only a little bit at a time. However, it should be the last option, as it can enter your dog’s lungs.

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Avoid giving chocolate to your dog

Preventing chocolate from your dog is the best way to avoid the cause. Dogs and puppies often like to eat sweets, so it should be out of their reach, especially on festivals or holidays.

Below are some common things you can do to prevent chocolate poisoning in dogs:

  1. Place it away: Keep all the chocolate items out of the dog’s reach, such as at a height or in a closed-door pantry.
  2. Notify everyone: Notify your family, guests, or especially children not to give chocolate to the dog or not leave it on the table.
  3. Be careful on holidays: Make sure to place trick-or-treat bags, baskets, Christmas stockings, Valentine’s Day candy, etc., out of their reach.
  4. Teach “leave it”: You should teach your dog the command “leave it” to prevent your dog from eating something from the ground. Also, it is a simple and easy-to-learn command.
  5. Give your dog crate training: Crate training is the best way to keep your dog safe when you’re not around. Find a sturdy and comfortable crate for your dog, and place it in a safe area. Give them toys, a blanket, and treats to make them feel the crate is their den.

Frequently Asked Questions?

  • How long does it take for a dog to show signs of poisoning?

After ingesting the chocolate, you may see the signs of chocolate toxicity in your dog within 30 minutes to 4 hours. Initially, it may become anxious, and its body temperature may elevate.

  • How long does chocolate stay in a dog’s system?

The effects of chocolate toxicity may resolve within one to four days, according to your dog’s blood theobromine levels.

  • Does water or milk help a poisoned dog?

No. Milk is not recommended for a poisoned dog, as dogs are lactose intolerant, and milk can cause stomach problems. However, flushing your dog’s mouth with clean water may help decontaminate.

  • When should I take my dog to the vet for chocolate poisoning?

According to the dog’s size, a poisonous amount of chocolate would be over 3.5 ounces. You can measure it at 1.5 ounces per 10 pounds of body weight. If your dog ate that much chocolate, it’s time to call your vet.

  • What do vets do when dogs eat chocolate?

Your vet may induce your dog to vomit, wash out the stomach, or feed activated charcoal to absorb any theobromine left in the intestine. If there is still any indication, a thorough examination will be beneficial.

Final thoughts

Chocolate ingestion usually does not last long and can be recovered with on-time or appropriate treatment. However, it’s important to diagnose it as soon as possible because, in severe cases, it can be fatal if treatment is delayed.

As a dog owner, you should be aware of the symptoms and initial treatment to give in the case of chocolate toxicity. Furthermore, you may keep some remedies at home in an emergency.

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