How much chocolate can a dog eat before it needs to visit a vet?

Anyone who owns a dog knows the sheer and utter panic that hits when your little angel grabs that bar of chocolate off the kitchen counter and swallows it in one  before you manage to snatch it out of their paws.

So why is it that chocolate is so bad ? and how much of it really qualifies as an ‘emergency’?

Well, chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine. This unfortunately is toxic to our canines and leads to some seriously unwell dogs. Clinical signs include vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal heart rhythms, seizures and even death in some cases. Dark chocolate is the most dangerous , but milk choc is harmful too. Its good to note though that according to the ‘Merck vet manual’, the amount of theobromine in white chocolate is negligible.

How much chocolate does your dog need to eat to be ‘unwell’ or in need of a vet visit/treatment? This is totally individual and dependent on lots of factors like size etc. BUT  as a Vet a good rule of thumb i like to use is 9g of milk chocolate per kg bodyweight, or 3.5 g of dark chocolate per kg bodyweight. If in doubt, call your own vet! Always better to be safe than sorry.

Chocolate typeQty/BodyweightExample
Dark3.5g/kgeg 35g for a 10kg dog
Milk9g/kgeg 90g for a 10kg dog

Treatment involves inducing vomiting with medication, or by giving deactivated charcoal to absorb the toxin, often your dog will be kept overnight with IV fluids to flush out the toxin. Acting quickly gives your dog the best chance of a good prognosis!

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