My Dog Eated a Small Piece of Dark Chocolate

If your dog ate a small piece of chocolate, there is a good chance that it is not harmful to them. However, if your dog has a history of eating chocolate, it is important to contact your veterinarian immediately to rule out any health concerns. Chocolate is a food that can be harmful to dogs if consumed in large quantities, so it is important to monitor your dog's intake.

Chocolate is toxic to dogs, and depending on the type and amount of chocolate consumed, as well as your dog's weight, it could result in a serious medical emergency. If you know your dog has eaten chocolate, it is critical to monitor them for signs of toxicity.Learn how much chocolate is too much, which types are the most dangerous, and what signs to look for that may indicate your dog requires treatment.

Why Is Chocolate Toxic to Dogs?

Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, both of which can increase heart rate and stimulate dogs' nervous systems. The risk of your dog becoming ill from chocolate depends on the type and amount of chocolate consumed, as well as your dog's weight.With this simple program, you can calculate your dog's toxicity risk; the concentrations of these toxic substances vary between different types of chocolate.

Here are a few chocolate varieties listed in order of theobromine content:

  1. Cocoa powder (most toxic)
  2. Unsweetened baker’s chocolate
  3. Semisweet chocolate
  4. Dark chocolate
  5. Milk chocolate

My Dog Eated a Small Piece of Dark Chocolate

Barna Tanko via Getty Images

Knowing how much and what type of chocolate your dog consumed can help you and your veterinarian determine if there is an emergency. In general, mild symptoms of chocolate toxicity occur when a dog consumes 20 mg of methylxanthines per kilogram of body weight.Chocolate toxicity causes cardiac symptoms around 40 to 50 mg/kg, and seizures occur at doses greater than 60 mg/kg.

Simply put, a very concerning dose of chocolate is approximately one ounce of milk chocolate per pound of body weight, and since an average Hershey's Milk Chocolate bar is 1.55 ounces, consuming even one chocolate bar can have serious consequences, particularly for small dogs.Eating a crumb of chocolate cake or a very small piece of chocolate bar, on the other hand, is unlikely to kill your dog, especially if it is a large breed, but chocolate should never be fed to dogs as a treat.

Carob is a dog-safe alternative to chocolate that is just as tasty to canines!

What Symptoms Indicate Chocolate Poisoning?

Chocolate poisoning symptoms usually appear 6 to 12 hours after your dog has eaten it; older dogs and dogs with heart conditions are more likely to die suddenly from chocolate poisoning.The following are the symptoms, which can last up to 72 hours:

What Should You Do If Your Dog Consumed Chocolate?

If you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, contact your veterinarian immediately or the Pet Poison Helpline (855-213-6680) for assistance. If your vet is closed, some services offer live chat and video options to connect you with a vet.Your veterinarian may recommend that you monitor your dog for the clinical signs listed above and call back if his condition worsens based on his size and the amount and type of chocolate consumed.

If your pet consumed the chocolate less than two hours ago, your veterinarian may induce vomiting and administer several doses of activated charcoal, which works to move the toxins out of the body without being absorbed into the bloodstream.In more severe cases, veterinary intervention may be required to provide supplemental treatment, such as medications or IV fluids, to resolve the effects of the poisoning, and dogs experiencing seizures may need to be monitored overnight at the clinic.

If you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate or if they exhibit any of the following symptoms, call the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661 or your veterinarian or emergency vet immediately:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased reflex responses
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Rapid breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Advanced symptoms (heart failure, weakness, and coma)

Remember, with any poisoning, treating early is always less expensive, less invasive, and has a better prognosis/outcome; once your dog has developed clinical signs and is affected by the poison, it makes for a much more expensive veterinary visit!

COMMON CHOCOLATE SOURCES:

Ice Cream Rich Chocolate
Serving: 1 cup ( 148g)
Theobromine: 178mg
Caffeine: 5.9mg

KIT KAT Wafer Bar
Serving: 1 bar (42g)
Theobromine: 48.7mg
Caffeine: 5.9mg

Peanut M&M's
Serving: 1 cup (170g)
Theobromine: 184mg
Caffeine: 17mg

REESE'S Peanut Butter Cups (2pk)
Serving: 2 cups (45g)
Theobromine: 32.4mg
Caffeine: 3.2mg

Ready to Eat Chocolate Pudding
Serving: 4 oz (108g)
Theobromine: 75.6mg
Caffeine: 2.2mg

Doughnuts, cakes, chocolate, sugared, or glazed
1 Doughnut (3' dia) (43g) per serving
Theobromine: 12.6mg
Caffeine: 0.6mg

Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar
Serving: 1.55 oz (43g)
Theobromine: 64mg
Caffeine: 9mg

Margarine-based chocolate chip cookies
1 Cookie Med (2 1/4" dia) (16g) per serving
Theobromine: 20.3mg
Caffeine: 2.6mg

Hershey's Chocolate Syrup
Serving: 2 Tbsp (39g)
Theobromine: 64mg
Caffeine: 5mg

Milky Way
Serving: 1 bar (58g)
Theobromine: 37.1 mg
Caffeine: 3.5mg

Hershey's KISSES (Milk Chocolate)
Serving: 9 pieces (41g)
Theobromine: 61mg
Caffeine: 9mg

Generic Hot Fudge Sundae Topping
Serving: 1 Sundae (158g)
Theobromine: 77.4mg
Caffeine: 1.6mg

Hershey's Semi-Sweet Baking Bar
Serving: 1 Tbsp (15g)
Theobromine: 55mg
Caffeine: 7mg

REESE'S PIECES Candy
Serving: 1 package (46g)
Theobromine: 0mg
Caffeine: 0mg

Cookies, brownies, commercially prepared
1 square (2-3/4" sq x 7/8") (56g) serving
Theobromine: 43.7mg
Caffeine: 1.1mg

Caffeine and theobromine levels will naturally vary due to growing conditions, cocoa bean sources, and variety.

Foods Highest in Theobromine

Cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened, alkali-processed [Dutch cocoa]1 cup (86g)2266 mg67.1 mgBaking chocolate, unsweetened, squares1 cup, grated (132g)1712 mg106 mgCocoa, dry powder, unsweetened1 cup (86g)1769 mg198 mgBaking chocolate, unsweetened, liquid1 oz (28g)447 mg13.2 mgPuddings,

What Causes Chocolate to be Toxic to Dogs?

Chocolate contains methylxanthines (specifically caffeine and theobromine), to which dogs are far more sensitive than humans. Different types of chocolate contain varying amounts of methylxanthines.However, the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the greater the risk.

For example, 8 ounces (a 12 pound) of milk chocolate can sicken a 50-pound dog, whereas 1 ounce of Baker's chocolate can poison the same dog!

Why Isn't Chocolate Dangerous to Humans?

Humans are much more efficient than dogs at breaking down and excreting methylxanthines like theobromine.

Will it be okay if my dog eats a small piece of chocolate?

Chocolate's sugar levels can cause upset stomach and diarrhea in your dog; one piece of chocolate should not harm your dog, but multiple pieces can.

Will one dark chocolate chip cause harm to a dog?

Pets that ingest a few M&Ms or 1-2 bites of a chocolate chip cookie are unlikely to develop chocolate poisoning; however, any ingestion of more than 0.5 ounces per pound of body weight of milk chocolate may put dogs at risk of chocolate poisoning.Pets that ingest a few M&Ms or 1-2 bites of a chocolate chip cookie are unlikely to develop chocolate poisoning. For milk chocolate, any ingestion of more than 0.5 ounces per pound of body weight may put dogs at risk for chocolate poisoning.