Bar of chocolate
As little as 50 grams (1.8 oz) of general chocolate can be enough to poison a small dog, but the concentration of theobromine in dark chocolates (approximately 10g/kg) is up to 10 times that of milk chocolate. (source: Wikipedia)

Chocolate is digested much more slowly by dogs than people. Therefore symptoms may not appear for many hours after the chocolate is eaten.

Do not be fooled by this into thinking that everything is okay. The earlier chocolate poisoning is treated the more likely you are to save the dog’s life.

No antidote

In addition, the very slow deactivation of theobromine by dogs means that the effects of chocolate poisoning can be very prolonged – up to three days, so the dog may need to be hospitalised throughout this time.

Theobromine has no specific antidote – cases are treated symptomatically. The prognosis depends on how much chocolate or cocoa powder the dog has eaten, and how long prior to being seen by the vet that the dog ate it.

Don’t delay

Up to 50% of dogs will die if treatment is delayed until severe, persistent vomiting has developed. If seizures have begun then an even higher proportion of dogs will die.

Treated early enough, except for dogs that have consumed very large quantities of chocolate or cocoa powder, the outlook is generally quite good. Recovered dogs show no long term ill effects from the poisoning.

View your activity >

Leave a Reply

1 Comment on "Chocolate poisoning in dogs"

Notify of

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
7 months 2 days ago

Treated five of these over a twenty four hour period. When will owners learn,!


related content

Although “off-licence”, immunotherapy is well worth considering in our pruritic feline friends. Of course we … more

3 mins

Ever had one of those cases, which seem to typically occur around this time of year, that you think must be the start of an allergic dermatitis?

2 mins

David Cameron has praised a pioneering vet for “undoubtedly changing the fate of scores of vulnerable animals”.

6 mins

Have you ever had a puppy that just presents with lethargy, exercise intolerance and sleeps … more

2 mins

Many dogs will not pass faeces for the first 4 to 5 days after surgery.

1 mins

It is harder to correlate the grade of a heart murmur with the severity of the underlying heart problem in cats than it is in dogs. Some quite loud murmurs may occur with relatively small defects.

2 mins