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Holiday Safety Tips: What Happens When Dogs Eat Chocolate


What happens when dogs eat chocolate?

In short: it's a disaster.

If your dog has ever ingested any chocolate, you know the effects can be anything from mild to severe. It depends on the type of chocolate, how much was ingested and whether your dog is an adult or a puppy.

For instance, dark chocolate is more toxic than milk chocolate because it contains more caffeine and stimulants than other types of chocolate. However, even milk chocolate can cause severe problems for dogs if they eat enough of it.

The most important thing you can do is keep your dog away from all types of chocolate. But if your dog does happen to eat some anyway—or if you're just curious about what could happen—there are some things you should know.


3 Things to Do When Your Dog Eats Chocolate During the Holidays


Don't panic.

When your dog has eaten chocolate, it may seem like the end of the world. But you don't need to panic—not even if your dog is a miniature poodle who weighs less than 10 pounds or a Great Dane who weighs more than 200 pounds.

This is because chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, which are toxic to dogs. But there are quite a few factors that will determine how much damage they do, including:

  • the type of chocolate that was eaten (milk chocolate is less toxic than dark chocolate)
  • the size of your dog (smaller dogs are more prone to health risks)
  • the amount of time between ingestion and treatment (the longer it takes, the worse it is)
  • your dog's body mass index (if he has been gaining weight lately, he might be able to tolerate more without showing symptoms)


Figure out how much chocolate your dog ate and how long ago it was eaten.

Determining the amount of chocolate that has been eaten is important in determining how much damage has been done. If the amount ingested was small, your dog may only experience mild symptoms or none. This way, you can be sure that they are not in danger and assess whether or not they will need treatment.


Contact your vet.

Nothing beats professional help when it comes to chocolate poisoning. Your vet will be able to assess your dog’s condition and make sure they are not suffering from any other symptoms or illness. They may also choose to administer fluids and medications that can help prevent further damage. 


Need Help?

Your pet is your family, and you want to do everything you can to help them navigate the world. Unfortunately, there are occasions when pet owners need to seek emergency veterinary care for their animals. At Sabal Chase Veterinary Hospital, our staff is prepared to handle any kind of animal-related crisis that may arise.

Call us at (305) 595-1450 if you are concerned about something your pet ingested or another case of emergency.


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