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Help! My Dog ate A Chocolate Bar        

Milk chocolate, white chocolate, and dark chocolate candy bars on a wooden table

It smells good, not just to humans but to dogs as well. Chocolate is a favorite snack for everyone from dogs all the way up to senior citizens. It doesn’t help when it tastes so good either.

That is one of the hard parts about eating chocolate when you own a dog. They smell that odor and want to have their share. But it is not wise to let your dog eat chocolate in most forms. If they do, contact your vet or use this website to get more help when your dog eats your favorite chocolate bar.

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What Happens If My Dog Eats a Chocolate Bar?

Before we get to what happens when your dog eats chocolate, some explanation needs to be made first. First, the good news. Not all chocolate has the same toxic levels.

The toxic levels depend on how much Methylxanthines are in the chocolate bar, etc. That complicated word merely refers to naturally occurring stimulants.

Because dogs digest these stimulants slower than humans do, their presence in chocolate can harm their hearts, central nervous systems, and kidneys. What happens when your dog eats chocolate? That depends on the type and the amount they eat. Some of the symptoms and reactions are:

1. Early signs

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating

2. More advanced symptoms and behaviors

  • Increased restlessness
  • Hyper-excitability
  • Frequent urination
  • Rapid breathing
  • Weakness
  • Seizures
  • Coma

There is some more good news but this good news does not mean you can feed your dog chocolate. Death is rare and if it occurs, it usually happens through cardiac arrest.

If your dog ate too much chocolate, you should be able to see these symptoms within 6 hours and as many as 12 hours from eating. Methylxanthines is the medical term and these are made up of alkaloid theobromine and caffeine.

It is the former stimulant you have to worry about as caffeine is usually in chocolate in very small amounts.

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Will One Chocolate Bar Hurt a Dog?

Pieces of white, milk, and dark chocolate on a candy wrapper sitting on a blue surface

The answer to this question is yes and no. It will depend on what type of chocolate and how much they ate that will be the determining factor. Here is a table that shows you the level of alkaloid theobromine in different types of chocolate you eat.

Type of chocolate Theobromine levels
 Dry cocoa powder 800 mgs per ounce
Unsweetened & bakers chocolate 450 mgs per ounce
Cocoa bean mulch 255 mgs per ounce
Semisweet or dark chocolate 150 to 160 mgs per ounce
Milk Chocolate 44 to 64 mgs per ounce
White chocolate Does not register
** chart contents are taken from this website

This next chart will show you how much your pet has to eat before suffering from chocolate poisoning:

Chocolate type Toxic level per pound 10-pound dog20-pound dog
White chocolate 200 ounces 125 pounds 250 pounds
Milk Chocolate 1 ounce 8 ounces or 2 to 3 chocolate bars 1 pound or 5 to 6 chocolate bars
Semi-sweet or dark chocolate 1 ounce 8 ounces 1 pound
Sweet cocoa 0.3 ounces 1/6th of a pound1/3rd of a pound
Baker’s chocolate 0.1 ounce 1 ounce 2 ounces
** chart contents are taken from this website

As you can see, your dog should not eat a lot of chocolate. To answer the question, in most cases, no one chocolate bar will not hurt your pet unless it weighs under 10 pounds.

Those figures are not up to 10 pounds or up to 20 pounds. They stand for a 10-pound dog and a 20-pound dog. Lighter dogs should not eat even a piece of chocolate to keep them from being poisoned.

What To Do When Your Dog Eats Chocolate

Close up of a person on a telephone

If they do eat chocolate, contact your vet or use this website to get more help when your dog eats your favorite chocolate bar. The following are some of the things they may tell you to do:

Small pieces may not do anything to your dog. But if they get a hold of larger amounts you may need to wait 6 hours to see if they start vomiting etc. During this time you need to determine which type of chocolate they ate and how much of it.

If it is an insignificant amount, then you may not need to worry. The same will go for white chocolate. But if it is one of the other chocolate varieties and over the amount listed in the charts above, then you may need to take some action.

If your dog has not vomited yet, your vet or the pet poison helpline may advise you to induce vomiting using a 50-50 mix of hydrogen peroxide and water. Then depending on the size of your dog, you may have to pour between a tsp. to a tbsp. of the mixture down their throat.

They may ask you to do this 3 times, waiting 5 minutes each time. If still no vomiting has occurred, you might need to go to your vets office or a pet emergency center. If your dog has vomited, they may have you then mix 5 large tsp. in a glass of water and give your dog 1 tsp if they weigh under 25 pounds and 2 if they weigh over that amount.

Some Final Words

Close up of dark, milk, and white chocolate candy bars in a stack

The best way to avoid this problem is to keep chocolate out of your home. But that is not always possible so make sure no one in your family decides to share their sweet snack with your dog. If they do, follow the instructions above.

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