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Help! My Dog Ate a Brownie

2 brownies topped with chocolate

Brownies are NOT good for dogs because most of their main ingredients are either unhealthy or toxic to canines. For instance, things, like wheat flour and sugar, are not healthy for your pup as they don’t add any value. Having said that, the ingredient that is particularly dangerous for dogs is chocolate. For this reason, you must contact a vet to get professional advice if your pup has eaten a brownie.  

Why Chocolate is Toxic to Dogs?

The constituents that make chocolate toxic to dogs are caffeine and theobromine. Both these methylxanthines speed up the heart rate and stimulate the nervous system of canines. These chemicals don’t have a similar effect on us because humans can break them down. Dogs can’t do that because methylxanthines pass through their digestive tracts too quickly.  

The risk of chocolate poisoning depends on the type of chocolate and the weight of your dog. The concentrations of theobromine and caffeine vary among different types of chocolate. Generally, the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the higher is its theobromine content. The following is a list of some common kinds of chocolates, in increasing order of toxicity.

  • White Chocolate (least toxic)
  • Milk Chocolate
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate
  • Baking Chocolate
  • Cocoa Powder (most toxic)

How Much Chocolate is Too Much for a Dog?

Blocks, chopped, shaved  and powdered chocolate on a counter

It’s really difficult to determine the exact quantity of chocolate that can be toxic to your canine companion. This is because several factors are involved in this calculation, and the effects can still vary from one dog to another. However, the critical toxicity levels of different varieties of chocolates are mentioned below.

White Chocolate – 45-90 ounces of white chocolate per pound of body weight can be toxic for your pup. This means that a 10-pound dog can develop serious symptoms if he/she eats 55 pounds of white chocolate.

Milk Chocolate – 0.7-2 ounces of milk chocolate per pound of body weight can be toxic for your pup. This means that a 10-pound dog can develop serious symptoms even if he/she consumes 0.5 pounds of milk chocolate.

Semi-Sweet Chocolate – 0.3-1 ounce of semi-sweet chocolate per pound of body weight can be toxic for your canine. This means that a 10-pound dog can develop serious symptoms even if he/she eats 3 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate.

Baking Chocolate – 0.1-0.3 ounce of semi-sweet chocolate per pound of body weight can be toxic for your canine. This means that a 10-pound dog can develop serious symptoms even if he/she consumes 1 ounce of baking chocolate.

This means that the type and amount of ingested chocolate are crucial for determining its effect on the pup. You can find this information on the packaging of the chocolate. In the case of brownies, it’s highly likely that milk chocolate was used to make them. Similarly, you must be aware of your dog’s weight to decide whether the situation is serious or not.

Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning

overhead view of Jack Russell Terrier with a bar of chocolate

Signs of chocolate poisoning usually take around 6-12 hours to appear after the ingestion. Although dogs tend to recover within 24-48 hours (mostly), these symptoms can last up to 72 hours, in extreme cases. Some of the signs that may indicate the ingestion of chocolate by your pup are as follows:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abnormal Breathing
  • Increased Urination
  • Restlessness
  • Tremors
  • Seizures

How to Treat a Dog Who Ate a Chocolate?

Jack Russell Terrier at vet with owner

Dogs who have eaten chocolate must be treated immediately. This is because the longer it stays in his/her system, the more dangerous the chocolate becomes. Even if your pup seems fine, you must monitor him/her closely and call the vet if the situation worsens. The following are the steps that you should follow to treat your canine if he/she has consumed a brownie.

Gather Maximum Information about the Chocolate

The very first thing that you need to do is to determine the amount of chocolate your dog has ingested. You should also know the type of chocolate, which is quite likely to be milk chocolate in case of brownies. All this information will help your vet to treat your pet.

Call Your Vet

Office phone with hand on reciever

Once you have the necessary information, immediately contact your veterinarian for expert advice. In most cases, the vet will ask you to stay home and observe your dog. However, he/she can tell you to bring the pup to the clinic if the condition of your canine seems serious.

Induce Vomiting

This should only be done if the chocolate was eaten in the last hour and the vet has advised you. Always remember that making your pet vomit can have lethal complications if your dog is experiencing neurological symptoms. You will need to mix a teaspoon each of 3% hydrogen peroxide and water and feed it to your dog. Ideally, you should use an oral dosing syringe for this purpose.

After that, take your dog outdoors and observe him/her closely. If he/she doesn’t vomit in 15 minutes, feed another dose of hydrogen peroxide solution and wait. In case your canine hasn’t vomited after 30 minutes, DON’T give another dose because hydrogen peroxide can have side effects. For example, an overdose of this chemical can lead to esophagus irritation, aspiration, and inflammation.

Use Activated Charcoal

Activated Charcoal in a spoon and in tablet form

Activated charcoal is quite handy for absorbing the toxic elements of chocolate from the digestive tract. However, it should only be administered on the advice of your veterinarian. A normal dose is 1 gram of charcoal powder in 5 ml of water for every 2.2 pounds of bodyweight. This means that a 10-pound dog will require about 5 grams of charcoal in 25ml of water.  

My Dog Ate Half a Pan of Brownies

Half eaten pan of brownies

If your dog has eaten brownies, there’s NOT a lot a vet can do for chocolate poisoning. He/she will just try to make the dog vomit while giving regular fluids. If the incident of ingestion occurred a few hours ago, throwing up won’t be very useful. Once the vomiting exercise is complete, the vet will advise you to keep a watch on your pet.

Normally, brownies contain milk chocolate that isn’t toxic in small amounts. The toxicity of the chocolate is further reduced when it is diluted into the cake. Consequently, the degree of threat is reduced even further.  

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