My Dog Ate a Chocolate Chip — What To Do?

Most dogs are not picky eaters. And while most canines are friendly toward foods, not all foods are canine-friendly. Unfortunately, chocolate, a favorite human food, can be very toxic for our favorite friends.

If your pet consumes chocolate, immediately call the vet. Chocolate can be extremely dangerous for dogs. Even if the symptoms improve, they may still suffer from chocolate toxicity. That said, the severity of your dog’s symptoms will vary depending on:

  • Type of chocolate
  • Quantity consumed
  • The dog’s size 

From chocolate-filled Christmas stockings to the packet of chips you need to bake cookies, your dog has several places to go for dessert. This article explores how to help a canine who’s eaten chocolate.

My Dog Ate a Chocolate Chip — What To Do?

If you realize your dog ate a chocolate chip and are wondering what to do about it, you should contact a veterinarian immediately. It also helps to know the exact type of chocolate your dog consumed.

Chocolate comes from cacao beans containing theobromine, which is poisonous to dogs in high enough amounts.

When you first call the vet to report a case of canine chocolate consumption, they’ll likely want to know how much chocolate your dog ate, what kind it was, and how long ago they consumed it.

This information is vital because your vet may advise monitoring your pet for at least the first two hours, depending on the dog’s size and the amount and type of chocolate they ate.

That’s the minimum amount of time that needs to pass for symptoms of chocolate poisoning to appear. However, if you only find evidence that your dog ate chocolate after the fact, you may still find yourself at the vet with your canine.

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How Much Chocolate Is Too Much?

As discussed, the primary factors to worry about if you find yourself thinking, “My dog ate a chocolate chip,” are:

  • Size/weight of the dog
  • Type of chocolate
  • Amount of chocolate

A single milk chocolate chip is unlikely to affect a large dog like a Great Dane but may have a different effect on a smaller dog, like a Miniature Dachshund.

You need to pay special attention to any dog that tries to eat leftovers from your baking because as little as 114 to 228 mg/lb of theobromine can be lethal for your dog. Consider the fact that baking chocolate has twice as much theobromine as semi-sweet chocolate

A good rule of thumb is that the darker or more bitter the chocolate, the less chocolate your dog needs to eat before they risk becoming sick.

How Do Vets Treat Chocolate Toxicity?

There are several ways vets treat dogs for signs of chocolate toxicity. The most effective is to treat your dog with activated charcoal.

Even if you have charcoal on hand the first time you realize your dog ate a chocolate chip, you shouldn’t give it to them. Activated charcoal isn’t the same as the charcoal left in your fireplace. There’s a reason it’s a staple of medical treatments — it’s more absorbent than standard charcoal.

Not only that, but forcibly feeding your dog charcoal could result in them inhaling it rather than swallowing it, damaging your dog’s lungs.

Keep in mind that depending on the severity of your dog’s symptoms after eating a chocolate chip, a doctor may need to repeat the treatment for chocolate toxicity several times.

It’s also possible that the activated charcoal may cause:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Black feces
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These are expected side effects and shouldn’t be cause for concern.

Signs of Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs

So, that’s what to do if you realize “my dog ate a chocolate chip.” But since your vet may ask you to monitor your dog for several hours, it helps to know signs of chocolate toxicity.

Signs of chocolate toxicity include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle stiffening
  • Seizures
  • Panting/faster than normal
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Heightened reflexes

In extreme cases, your dog may also show signs of:

  • Heart failure
  • Inability to stand
  • Coma

While tools like this chocolate toxicity meter can help you estimate how severe your dog’s reaction will be, you should still speak to your veterinarian.

Can I Treat Chocolate Toxicity at Home?

Since you shouldn’t administer activated charcoal yourself, it’s natural to wonder if there is anything else you can do after realizing your dog ate a chocolate chip.

Getting the chocolate out of your dog’s system as fast as possible is critical. One way to clear the pet’s system is by administering hydrogen peroxide. To be effective, it needs to be 3% hydrogen peroxide.

A standard teaspoon of this mixture is enough to induce vomiting in small to medium-sized dogs. However, it is only effective within the first half-hour of your dog eating that chocolate chip. Even if you successfully induce vomiting, it’s still worth calling the vet.

Conclusion

A small amount of chocolate can adversely affect your dog. So, if you realize your canine ate a chocolate chip, contact your vet for treatment options

You can try home remedies, but the best thing you can do for your dog is to keep chocolate out of their reach.

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Nadine Oraby

My name is Nadine; I am a passionate writer and a pet lover. People usually call me by the nickname “Joy” because they think that I am a positive and joyful person who is a child at heart. My love for animals triggered me to create this blog. Articles are written by vets, pet experts, and me. Thanks for visiting. Your friend, Nadine!

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