My dog ate chocolate

Our question this week was:

My dog ate 1.3 ounces of chocolate last night around 7 pm and has had no signs of being sick. She was sleepy this morning but has eaten. Should I worry?

Gins Jones

Answer

Hi – thanks for your email and question. It is the time of year that chocolate is around and dogs can get into it. The reasons we worry about chocolate is that it contains caffeine and theobromine. These two compounds are nervous system stimulants and can be toxic to your dog in high amounts.

When clients ask me about chocolate toxicity and ingestion – I generally have 4 questions – first, how big is your dog; second, what type of chocolate; third, how much did he eat; and finally when did he eat it?

These answers all affect the possibility of having problems. The most dangerous type of chocolate is baking chocolate followed by semi-sweet chocolate, then milk chocolate and lastly, white chocolate.

Depending on the type of chocolate ingested and the amount eaten, various problems can occur. Any amount of chocolate may cause vomiting and diarrhea. Toxic levels of chocolate can cause restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching, increased urination, excessive panting and possibly seizures.

The most common chocolate I hear about is milk chocolate. Mild signs can occur when 0.7 ounces per pound of body weight is ingested. It usually isn't a problem because a 20-pound dog would have to eat a pound!

I am going to give you the link to a very good article that talks about ingestion and how much is too much – Chocolate Toxicity.

If your dog is experiencing tremors, hyperactivity or seizures, please call your vet or go to your local veterinary emergency clinic.

Best of luck.

Regards,

Dr. Debra

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