What Do I Do If My Puppy Eats Chocolate?

Like small children, puppies have a habit of getting into trouble. As a pet parent, it’s your job to do everything you can to prevent their antics from causing them to be harmed. 

I’ve talked about how to puppy-proof your home in several of my other blogs. It entails removing toxic plants, securing things that could fall over, and vigilance about leaving food out within your puppy’s reach.

If you have young children at home, even more vigilance is necessary. Kids tend to leave things around that puppies will gladly eat or quickly chew to pieces.

This risk is especially true of one thing in particular that many children and adults love; chocolate. Chocolate is quite toxic for puppies and dogs, making it imperative nobody in your home leaves chocolate where your puppy can eat it, especially on the floor, sofa, or bed.

Accidents, however, do happen, and if your puppy happens to eat chocolate, some type of action is usually necessary. That leads us directly to today’s question, what do I do if my puppy eats chocolate?

The first thing to do if your puppy eats chocolate is not to freak out. Your pup won’t have eaten enough chocolate to be dangerous to their health in most situations. In fact, it’s very rare for a puppy or dog to die from eating chocolate.

If you’re sure it was a very small amount, you can simply watch your puppy to see if they react. (Most won’t.) However, if your puppy ate a substantial amount of chocolate, an immediate visit to your local veterinarian is highly recommended.

I’m sure that, because it’s such an important subject, you have more questions about what to do if your puppy eats chocolate. For example, how much chocolate kills a puppy, and can a puppy survive eating chocolate?

I have the answers to those questions and several more below, plus some helpful advice and tips. Read on if that sounds like the pet parenting information you’re looking for today.

Will My Dog be OK after Eating Chocolate?

Here’s the thing; most dogs, as I mentioned earlier, will not die from eating chocolate. Although some websites use alarming jargon about chocolate, that’s the one fact I always keep in mind.

If your puppy were to eat a huge amount of chocolate,  and you didn’t realize it in time, it could be fatal. Again, the chance of that happening is very small, however.

In some cases, a dog will vomit and have diarrhea if they eat chocolate, but in most cases, very little happens because the amount of chocolate eaten is so small. 

A large puppy eating a bite of chocolate cake or a small square of milk chocolate, for example, would cause almost no symptoms or problems. Of course, if your puppy is a chihuahua and they eat an entire chocolate bar, they will probably get pretty sick.

But in terms of whether your dog will be OK after eating chocolate, in the vast majority of cases, they will. My advice is simply to always keep chocolate out of your puppy’s reach. 

Why is Chocolate Toxic for Puppies?

The reason puppies and dogs shouldn’t eat chocolate is because of a chemical in chocolate called theobromine. Theobromine is very similar to caffeine, also found in many chocolate bars and products.

The problem is that dogs and puppies can’t metabolize either one, caffeine or theobromine. Also, because both theobromine and caffeine stimulate the heart and dilate blood vessels, they are problematic to a dog’s health, especially since they can’t metabolize them. 

Dark and bitter chocolate has more theobromine in it than milk chocolate, by the way. Also, gourmet dark chocolate and baking chocolate contain a high concentration of this dog-unfriendly chemical.

For example, between 45 and 60 mg per ounce of theobromine is found in milk chocolate. Gourmet dark chocolate, however, can contain as much as 450 mg of theobromine per ounce!

Not surprisingly, white chocolate has very little theobromine because white chocolate has very little chocolate. White chocolate is mostly sugar, cocoa butter, and some milk but contains no chocolate solids. 

How Much Chocolate Kills a Puppy?

The American Kennel Club (AKC)  says that 1 oz of milk chocolate per pound of body weight can have serious consequences for a puppy. They also mentioned that the average for a Hershey’s milk chocolate bar is 1.55 Oz.

If you follow that math, a 10 lb puppy would need to eat around 7 Hershey’s milk chocolate bars to have a serious (and possibly deadly) reaction. 

I don’t know about you, but it would be practically impossible for a puppy to grab 7 chocolate bars, let alone eat all 7 in my house. Plus, they would have to get through the wrapping, also!

Still, if your puppy were to eat more than one ounce of chocolate per pound of bodyweight, it could be fatal. Looking at the problem rationally, the chance of a puppy eating that much chocolate is extremely low.

What Happens When a Puppy Eats Chocolate?

Several things happen when a puppy or dog eats a large amount of chocolate. If you see any of these symptoms, and they appear to be severe, you should seek veterinary help immediately.  Below are a few of the things that happen when a puppy eats chocolate, including:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Significantly increased thirst
  • Heavy panting
  • Restlessness
  • Excessive urination
  • Racing (quickly beating) heart

How Can I Treat my Dog at Home after Eating Chocolate? 

If you know that your puppy just ate chocolate, the chance that it is already absorbed in their body is very low. (It’s probably still in their stomach.) That gives you a window of opportunity to get it out of your puppy’s stomach before it causes them any harm.

One way to do this is with a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. The hydrogen peroxide should be food grade, and you should use about one teaspoon for a medium-sized dog.

Remember that you should only use this remedy if you know exactly when your puppy ate chocolate and less than 30 to 40 minutes have passed.

My Dog Ate Chocolate. How Long Before Symptoms?

The signs of chocolate poisoning and how long it takes them to appear depend on several factors. The first is the size of your puppy. Smaller puppies will react faster than larger puppies in most cases.

Another factor is the amount of chocolate that your puppy ate. With a small amount of chocolate, your pup might have very few, if any, symptoms. However, if they eat a large amount, you will typically see them within a few hours.

One interesting thing is that theobromine remains in your puppy’s bloodstream for 2 or 3 days. Also, it can often be reabsorbed through the bladder. If your dog eats a lot of chocolate, most veterinarians will put them on intravenous fluids to ensure they urinate frequently. 

Final Thoughts

If your puppy eats chocolate, the most important thing to do is not freak out. Next would be to determine the amount of chocolate they ate. If it was a relatively small amount, observation is probably the only thing you need to do.

On the other hand, if you know your puppy ate a lot of chocolate, an immediate visit to the veterinarian might be necessary. Before you go, you can use hydrogen peroxide to help them vomit so that they get the chocolate out of their stomach.

However, I want to point out one last time that it’s very rare for a puppy or dog to die from chocolate poisoning. The amount of chocolate your puppy would have to eat for that to happen is so high that most would never be able to do it.

I hope you enjoyed today’s blog about puppies and chocolate and that it answered your most pressing questions. If you have more or would like to learn more about being a pet parent, please look at my other blogs. 

I have many of them dealing with a wide variety of puppy-related subjects and filled with great information, advice, and tips to raise your precious puppy. Until next time, best of luck raising your pup!