How Much Chocolate Can Kill A Dog?

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how much chocolate can kill a dog

In some cases eating 1 or 2 ounces of chocolate will kill your dog while other kinds only take 0.3 ounces before being deadly for your dog.

If you are a dog owner, you must have heard of how chocolate can be harmful to your dog if not given in the appropriate amount. 

Chocolate poisoning has been for many years the most common poisoning in domestic dogs. It has methylxanthines which are harmful when consumed by dogs.

Dogs can’t metabolize theobromine in the same way as humans, making them highly susceptible to this chemical.

So How Much Chocolate Can Kill A Dog?

Chocolate poisoning is the most common type of poisoning in dogs. 

Toxic signs usually show up in a dog that has consumed chocolate within a short time. However, this may depend on the amount of the toxic ingredient (theobromine) that is in the chocolate. 

A theobromine dose of 20 mg/kg can cause mild toxicity, while a dose rate of 40 mg/kg can cause severe toxicity to cause mild toxicity.

Different types of chocolates have their toxic level when consumed by dogs. Some of the common types of chocolates include:

Milk Chocolate

milk chocolate

Milk chocolate is not too bad as compared to other types of chocolates. It rarely causes poisoning in dogs. 

14g of chocolate for every one kg body weight has to be eaten by the dog before any treatment is recommended.

  • 14g/1.6 oz of milk chocolate can be only dangerous to a dog weighing 3.2 kg or less
  • For a puppy weighing 7 kg, one milk chocolate of 100g would be poisonous
  • A 250g bar of milk chocolate can be deadly to a dog weighing 18 kg or less

Dark Chocolate 

dark chocolate

Dark chocolate can be a nightmare for your dog. It is worse because it has higher levels of theobromine. Since it is four times more toxic than milk chocolate, it is recommended that a dog must be treated if it eats 3.5 g or more per one kg body weight.

  • A small 45 g of dark chocolate would be harmful to a dog weighing 13 kg or less
  • A bar of 100 g (medium-sized chocolate) can be detrimental to a dog under 28kg body weight
  • A large 250g bar of milk chocolate can be poisonous to a dog that has a considerable body weighing over 28g

Cocoa powder chocolate and cooking chocolate can be more harmful too. However, the number of dogs around the world that eat them is too small.

White chocolate has small amounts of theobromine. It is therefore not toxic when consumed by dogs. However, if a lot of it is eaten, it might cause some diarrhea and vomiting.

You can calculate the toxicity level of chocolate here.

Signs Of Chocolate Poisoning In Dogs

Dogs experience different effects that are caused by chocolate poisoning. Some dogs may experience more severe effects of chocolate poisoning than others. 

It is therefore advisable for a dog keeper to check out the signs even when he or she thinks that the dog has not eaten much of it to be affected.

 Some of the common problems caused by chocolate toxicity in dogs include:

  • Diarrhea
  • An increase in the heart rate
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Tremors or twitching
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Seizures
  • Increase in thirst
  • Hyperactivity or agitation
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Collapse
  • Death

Most dog keepers are aware of the danger posed on dogs by chocolate; therefore, untreated and severe cases are very rare.

Treating Chocolate Poisoning In Dogs

The only way of treatment before the appearance of chocolate poisoning in dogs is supportive therapy.

Inducing Vomiting

Induction of vomiting has to be done before 2 hours elapse after the day has ingested chocolate. You can give two teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide (3%) every 15 mins before the dog vomits.

Give your dog light boiled water after vomiting -2 teaspoons for those weighing above 25 kg and one teaspoon for those weighing 25 kg and below.

Activated charcoal absorption

In cases where your dog has ingested chocolate, you can also give it activated charcoal. It helps in absorbing any remains of theobromine from its gastrointestinal tract. It also discontinues the bloodstream.

Supportive therapy

Supportive therapy is done when symptoms occur to keep the dog safe and stable. This may include intravenous fluid administration to promote excretion and dilute the levels of theobromine in the bloodstream.

The treatment above should not be done until 5 hours after the dog has eaten the chocolate for better results. Symptoms can persist for almost 36 hours. You should therefore see a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Currently, there is no cure for chocolate poisoning. After noticing poisoning signs, your dog should try vomiting as soon as possible.

Prevention of chocolate poisoning in dogs

There are many ways of making your home safe for dogs and preventing chocolate poisoning.

A good storage

If you are a big fan of chocolate, you will have to be careful about how you store them at your home. It would be best if you store your chocolate in a place where your dog can not get to. It is important to keep pantry doors as well as your cabins shut.

Training your dog

It is advisable to train your dog with commands to prevent it from taking things that it should not take. Training your dog in obedience and good habits from an early age can work well and save you from the trouble that may arise in the future.

Educating your family and friends about dog chocolate poisoning

It is important to educate your family and friends on the danger posed to dogs by

chocolates. Children may be notorious when it comes to giving substances to dogs. 

It would be best if you, therefore, taught them about storing chocolates properly at home and to avoid giving them to dogs.

Recovery of chocolate poisoning

If a dog is treated for any symptom of chocolate poisoning, it will have to be monitored closely until all the symptoms are gone and when it has fully recovered.

 Recovery in dogs may depend on how soon chocolate poisoning treatment was administered as well as the severity of the symptoms. If the treatment is done early enough, recovery can be prognosis good and complete.

The Bottom Line

Luckily, white chocolate contains very low levels of this stimulant so it should not cause any problems for your pet dog! 

If you have a canine companion who loves sweets, keep them away from dark or milk chocolates as they will contain more high doses of theobromine which may lead to vomiting, seizures, or even death if ingested by an animal with heart disease. 

Read more about milk in dogs’ nutrition and learn how much milk can dogs drink here.

Photo of author
Larissa Musangu
I'm a seasoned dog lover and companion. I've noticed that there are numerous misconceptions regarding dog nutrition, which is why I've taken it upon myself to share actionable, accurate and research-backed advice on best-practices for feeding our four-legged friends.

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