How Much Dark Chocolate Can Kill a Dog?

Chocolate is so yummy. But did you know that chocolate can kill a dog? Chocolate contains substances that are bad for dogs such as caffeine, theobromine, and phenethylamine or PEA.

How Much Chocolate Can Kill a Dog

How much chocolate is toxic to a dog?

The amount of chocolate that it takes to poison a dog depends on the type of chocolate, the size of the pet, and its overall health.

The primary toxin in chocolate is theobromine. Chocolate also contains varying amounts of caffeine, another stimulant.

Theobromine acts as a stimulant for dogs and can be very toxic. It cannot be broken down or processed by a dog’s liver in the same way as it can in humans.

As a result, theobromine builds up in the dog’s bloodstream and continues to affect them even after they have stopped eating chocolate.

It’s important to be aware of how much chocolate can kill your dog.

Amount per pound of body weight (mg) Symptoms of chocolate poisoning
9 mg/lb
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • increased thirst
  • panting or restlessness
  • excessive urination
  • increased heart rate
18 to 22 mg/lb
  • tachycardia
  • premature ventricular contractions,
  • tachypnea cyanosis
  • hypertension
  • hyperthermia
  • bradycardia
  • hypotension
  • coma
27 mg/lb
  • seizures
  • death

How quickly will chocolate affect a dog?

Within hours of eating chocolate, your dog may vomit or have diarrhea. He also may be very thirsty and urinate more. If your dog has eaten a large amount of chocolate, he may develop muscle tremors, seizures, an irregular heartbeat, hypertension, or a heart attack.

If you see any of the above symptoms after your dog eats chocolate, call your veterinarian or animal poison control center right away. Even if your dog doesn’t show any symptoms right away, it’s important to call so you’ll know how to monitor him for signs that he does have chocolate poisoning.

In general, the dark or bitter the chocolate, the more dangerous it is to a dog.

Can a dog survive after eating chocolate?

Dogs can survive eating chocolate. Depending on how much your dog ate and what type of chocolate it was, you may be able to treat him at home. But you need to know what type of chocolate your dog ingested so you can discuss treatment options with your vet. In some cases, hospitalization may be necessary for treatment.

What do vets do when a dog eats chocolate?

If you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, take him to the vet immediately. Chocolate poisoning is a medical emergency, and you should never try to make your dog vomit or give him any medications without the advice of a professional.

At the surgery, the vet will induce vomiting if your dog ate the chocolate recently, then give activated charcoal to absorb any Theobromine left in your dog’s system. This is an effective treatment if given early enough after ingestion.

However, if it has been a few hours since your dog ate chocolate, he may need to have his stomach pumped (gastric lavage). This is a more invasive procedure that involves passing a tube through your dog’s mouth and into his stomach to manually remove any food from inside.

Your dog will also require treatment for any symptoms he has developed such as beta-blockers to lower a high heart rate or anticonvulsants to prevent seizures. Most dogs with chocolate poisoning recover well with supportive treatment.

What can I give my dog after eating chocolate?

If your dog ate chocolate but isn’t showing any signs of illness yet, you can induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide: use 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, 1 ml for every pound of body weight.

It’s best to consult with a vet before giving your dog hydrogen peroxide or any other method of inducing vomiting. Giving them too much could be harmful.

Conclusion of chocolate poisoning in dogs

The basic rule of thumb is that one ounce of milk chocolate per pound of body weight is a potentially lethal dose.

Chocolate comes in three basic forms: unsweetened baking chocolate (the most concentrated), dark chocolate, and milk chocolate. Of these, unsweetened is the most toxic because it contains the highest concentration of cocoa solids and caffeine-like stimulants called methylxanthines. The less sweet the chocolate is, the more dangerous it is to your dog.

Chocolate toxicity is dose-dependent and the severity depends on the amount ingested as well as your dog’s weight.

Large amounts of chocolate can produce severe stimulation of the central nervous system and heart, causing seizures, coma, hyperthermia, and potentially death.

The early signs of toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, hyperactivity, increased urination, and restlessness. These symptoms can develop within 6 to 12 hours after ingestion.

If untreated these symptoms can give way to more serious signs like irregular heartbeat, high temperature, seizures, and possibly death from cardiac failure.


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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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