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Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs

Most people have heard that chocolate can poison dogs. It is the theobromine in the chocolate that poisons them. It affects their central nervous system, agitating it, which sometimes results in epileptic seizures. The quantity has to be high enough for it to be lethal. Different kinds of chocolate contain less or more theobromine per ounce. It takes so many ounces per pound of body weight for each kind of chocolate to sicken a dog.


1) Milk chocolate: 44 mg. per ounce
2) Semisweet chocolate: 150 mg per ounce
3) Baker's chocolate: 390 mg. per ounce
4) Hot chocolate 12 mg per ounce

So if a certain chocolate is lethal for a particular dog is determined by the type of chocolate and the animal's body weight.

For Each Pound of Body Weight 200 Ounces

For a 10-pound dog it would take 125 pounds of white chocolate to cause him to show symptoms of chocolate poisoning. A 20-pound dog would have to eat 250 pounds.

For Each Pound of Body Weight 1 Ounce

It takes around one pound of milk chocolate to poison a 20-pound dog. Around a half of a pound for a 10-pound dog. Candy bars normally have about 2 or 3 ounces of chocolate in them. The toxicity level for semi-sweet chocolate is similar.

For 9 Pounds Body Weight 1 Ounce

For baker's chocolate to harm a dog it takes only 0.1 ounce for each pound of body weight. To be toxic for a 20-pound dog only takes 2 1-inch squares and 1 ounce of it is toxic to a 10-pound dog.

The Symptoms

The following symptoms will appear during the initial hours after a dog has eaten enough chocolate to be toxic to his system: vomiting, diarrhea or hyperactivity. The other signs include: hyper irritability, muscle tremors, restlessness, excessive panting, and increased heart rate. It may take as long as 24 hours for the symptoms to show up and recovery time can be as long as 3 days.


There isn't a specific antidote for chocolate poisoning. The toxins half life is 17.5 hours for dogs. Make the dog vomit within the initial 2 hours. Use hydrogen peroxide to induce regurgitation. Mix water with 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. Administer 1 to 2 teaspoons, if the dog is small and 3 to 4 tablespoons for larger dogs. This by mouth in 10 to 15 minute intervals until the dog vomits.

After he has regurgitated give the dog activated charcoal to absorb the toxin. Give a smaller dog 1 teaspoon of the charcoal, if he weighs 25-pounds or under that and 2 teaspoons for larger dogs. If he shows neurological symptoms then an anticonvulsant can be used to control them. For protecting the dog's heart intravenous medications, oxygen therapy, and fluids are used.


Dogs like sweets just like humans do. To prevent chocolate poisoning in your dog keep all chocolate deserts in hard to reach cabinets or the refrigerator. Also, keep supplies put away when not in use and keep your dog out of the kitchen when baking or otherwise cooking with chocolate. During any holidays make sure the chocolate desserts and candy are put in high cabinets.


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