Can Dogs Die From Chocolate?

Dogs can die from consuming chocolate, especially dark chocolate, no matter the amount. It contains theobromine, along with caffeine, which makes chocolate toxic. Theobromine, which shares many characteristics with caffeine, is the primary toxin in chocolate that affects dogs.

Dogs can die from eating chocolate since it is toxic to them. The amount and type of chocolate your dog consumes will determine how harmful it is to him. Considering milk chocolate’s low toxicity, some dog owners give it to their pets.

To be on the safe side, however, avoid giving your pups any chocolate at all, since dogs can die from eating chocolate in rare situations. 

Why Dogs can die from eating chocolate?

A pleasant pleasure for individuals, chocolate also has several health advantages. Additionally, even though your body is designed to absorb sweets like chocolate, swallowing even a tiny bit can be very harmful to your dog’s health.

Caffeine and theobromine are two members of the methylxanthines chemical class that are present in chocolate.

The effects of these substances on the heart and muscles are well recognized. A dog’s body cannot handle these compounds after eating chocolate in the same manner that yours can. The harmful effects of the substances, such as the symptoms we observe in dogs, are thus more noticeable.

1. Theobromine

Xantheose is another name for theobromine. It is a sour alkaloid that can be found in soda, guarana, acai berries, coffee, tea, chocolate, and other items. Theobromine is metabolized relatively slowly in dogs and certain other animals, which provides it with a better chance to affect its organs. 

2. Caffeine

Theobromine and caffeine have some similarities but also some differences. The nervous system is disturbed by caffeine, and the dog’s heart may start to beat more quickly.

What Are the Effects of Chocolate on Dogs?

The symptoms of chocolate toxicity may appear within a period of one to two hours or may take several hours to appear. They could linger for a few hours or for a few days.

Rarely, hospitalization is caused by these symptoms. Depending on how severe the symptoms that your dog is displaying during this time, it’s imperative to provide supportive care.

Some of these signs of chocolate toxicity in dogs may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Increased thirst
  • Muscle tremors
  • Increased urination
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Increased body temperature
  • Restless or anxious behavior
  • Racing or increased heart rate
  • Panting or increased breathing rate
  • Advanced signs such as seizure, collapse, coma, or death

Which Types of Chocolate Are More Toxic for Dogs?

The amount and type of chocolate consumed are crucial considerations because the amount of caffeine and theobromine in chocolate varies, making all kinds of chocolate potentially harmful to dogs.

The most hazardous chocolate is typically thought to be that which is darker and most bitter. This is so because, compared to other forms of chocolate, dark chocolate has a higher concentration of theobromine per ounce.

Amount of Theobromine in Different Types of Chocolate

The list below includes the estimated amounts of theobromine in each type of chocolate in milligrams (mg) per ounce (oz).

  • Dark chocolate: 135 mg/oz.
  • Milk chocolate: 44-60 mg/oz.
  • White chocolate: 0.25 mg/oz.
  • Cacao beans: 300-1500 mg/oz.
  • Cocoa powder: 400-737 mg/oz.
  • Unsweetened baking chocolate: 390-450 mg/oz.

Toxicity Levels of Chocolate to dogs

The levels of toxicity in various forms of chocolate vary. The chart shows that the more pure the chocolate, the more poisonous it is. In comparison to white chocolate or milk chocolate, straight cocoa powder or cocoa mulch might be far more hazardous in tiny amounts.

You can use the recommendations below or a chocolate toxicity calculator, which estimates the risk depending on your dog’s weight, the quantity, and the type of chocolate.

Toxicity of Chocolate on Dogs
TypeDescriptionAmount Harmful to Dogs
White chocolateNot actually chocolateUsually not harmful
Milk chocolateIn candy bars1 ounce per pound of dog
Semi-sweetChocolate Chips, etc.1 ounce per 3 pounds of dog
Dark chocolatecandy, chocolate chips, baking1 ounce per 4 to 5 pounds of dog
UnsweetenedIn squares1 ounce per 9 pounds of dog
CocoaPowderLess than 0.10 ounce per 5 pounds of dog
Cocoa bean mulchSold for gardens2 ounces per 50 pounds of dog

Factors to consider if your dog eats chocolate

How chocolate affects your dog depends on many factors. These include:

  • Age of the dog
  • Weight of the dog
  • The overall health of the dog
  • Type of chocolate consumed
  • Amount of chocolate eaten

In comparison to a 10-pound dog that consumes more milk chocolate, a 10-pound dog that consumes less dark chocolate may exhibit more severe symptoms and need urgent treatment.

It is always safe to call your vet immediately away if you suspect your dog has gotten into your secret chocolate drawer, regardless of the size of your dog or the sort and quantity of chocolate he has consumed.

What to Do If Your Dog eats Chocolate

Calling a veterinarian right away is vital if your dog eats chocolate. In order to assess whether the amount consumed is toxic and the best course of action, consult your veterinarian.

While you wait for assistance and guidance, keep your dog secure and at peace. Inducing vomiting at home may be advised, or the veterinarian may suggest receiving urgent care at the clinic.

Treatments that may be administered by a vet include

  • Activated charcoal (to prevent further absorption of the toxin from the gut)
  • Passage of a stomach tube (to remove toxin directly from the stomach)
  • Intravenous fluids (to help with hydration and cardiovascular support)
  • Other therapies aimed at controlling specific clinical signs

1. 24 Hours or More

The best course of action is to call your veterinarian if your dog ate chocolate 24 hours ago and you have not yet seen any signs. Your veterinarian will likely advise you to keep an eye on your dog and keep him at home if he has eaten less than the minimal harmful quantity and appears healthy.

Give him bland food in little amounts and lots of water. If his diarrhea lasts more than a day, call your veterinarian.

2. Long-Term Effects

If you don’t treat your dog after he eats chocolate, there could be long-term consequences. Your dog’s stomach will continue to break down chocolate for up to 24 hours. He must get it out as soon as possible in order to avoid suffering long-term consequences. Damage to the kidneys or heart issues is a couple of these effects.

How to induce vomiting in dogs that eat chocolate

In the event that your dog ate chocolate, your veterinarian may give you instructions on how to administer first aid by inducing vomiting. In the event that this does not work, you will need to take a trip to the clinic for the vet to induce vomiting in your dog. When your dog presents with any symptoms, vomiting will help stabilize her and control her symptoms.

Depending on the duration since your dog ate the chocolate, your vet may attempt to induce vomiting by giving your dog a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution or activated charcoal.

Intravenous fluids will be given, and your vet may administer other specific treatments to control heart rate irregularities, diarrhea, and vomiting.

If you catch your dog eating chocolate, call your veterinarian immediately. To induce vomiting at home on the instruction of your vet, you’ll need hydrogen peroxide. Your vet will advise the following:

  • Feed your dog a small meal. Having something in her belly will make it easier to induce vomiting and will absorb some of the toxins before she vomits.
  • You can use 3% hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting in dogs. The proper dosage of 3% hydrogen peroxide for a dog to make them throw up is one teaspoon for every 5 pounds of a dog’s body weight.  However, 3 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide should be the maximum amount, no matter how much your dog weighs. More than that can be fatal to dogs.
  • To make your dog throw up, you have to squirt the hydrogen peroxide into the dog’s mouth and make sure he swallows it.
  •  The easiest way is to use a needleless syringe to squirt the peroxide into the back of a dog’s throat.
  • In most cases, he will instinctively swallow the liquid.
  • Do not give your dog salt, as it can lead to sodium poisoning.
  • Call your vet again and ask for more instructions after she has vomited. If you haven’t gotten her to vomit, you should get her to the vet immediately.
  • The overall prognosis for a dog that ate chocolate is generally good with quick and efficient care.
  • Storing chocolate in a safe place even the refrigerator and educating others in the house not to feed chocolate to dogs is the best prevention.

Training Your Dog Not to Eat Chocolate

Nobody who has a dog wants their pet to eat their chocolate. However, things happen all the time, so it’s imperative to be prepared. In addition, there are a few actions you may do to stop your dog from ever consuming chocolate.

Chocolate should never be left out where your dog may steal it. You should keep this in mind especially if you have children or are over the holidays. Your older kids should be informed about the risks of chocolate for dogs so they will know to keep it out of their reach.

When a dog is trying to eat something it shouldn’t, like chocolate, the command “leave it” works quite well. It might save your dog’s life, so make sure they are familiar with it.

When you aren’t home, crate training your dog is the greatest approach to prevent him from consuming food that he shouldn’t. Every time you leave the house, your dog will gladly head to his kennel to cuddle with his favorite toy instead of stealing your chocolate.

 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How rare is it for a dog to die from chocolate?

The outlook very much depends on how much chocolate or cocoa powder the dog has eaten, and how long it has been since it was seen by the vet. Experience shows that up to 50% of dogs will die if treatment is delayed until severe, persistent vomiting has developed.

Should I give my dog water after eating chocolate?

Make sure your pet gets plenty of fluids: Both of these steps will dehydrate your dog, so make sure they drink tons of water. The more water they drink, the faster they will expel the poison.

Can a dog recover from chocolate poisoning?

The ASPCA Poison Control Center estimates twenty-five percent of dogs with chocolate poisoning recovers within two days; even with treatment, one in one hundred dogs with chocolate poisoning never recovers.

What to give a dog who ate chocolate?

If your dog ate chocolate within an hour, get him to vomit. Use a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. Mix it 1:1 with water. Use 1 teaspoon per 5 pounds of the dog’s body weight.

Now it’s your turn

Your pups can die from eating chocolate. Chocolate, in whatever form or type, is toxic to dogs due to the presence of theobromine and caffeine. These chemicals are slower to digest in dogs, and as such, they could result in discomfort after a few hours. 

As a dog owner, it’s important to keep chocolate away from your dogs as much as possible and educate your household, especially little children, to avoid feeding dogs chocolate.

Did you at any point spot your dog munching on chocolate? What did you do? We would love to learn from your experience.

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Hello! Sedi here... I love cocoa and everything that comes out it even more! Chocolate, butter, paste, etc... Picture this: I have very sensitive and dry skin, and as a result, I develop dark spots, especially on my legs, at the slightest provocation. To get rid of it, I have been using cocoa butter for more than a decade. My dark spots are gone; my skin tone is even! When I'm not writing, you'll find me reading, working out, and advocating for plastic-free earth.