Chocolate Toxicity Calculator For Dogs
We all know that dogs are experts at getting into that secret chocolate stash and consuming the lot!
But how much chocolate can kill a dog?
Chocolate poisoning in dogs occurs when they eat too much theobromine.
If your dog has eaten chocolate, it’s important to calculate the theobromine level to determine if they require veterinary care.
Scroll down to use our chocolate toxicity calculator and find out what you need to do.
Thankfully, not all dogs will need a visit to the vet, many can get by with some care at home.
If you need assistance with treatment, our vets are online 24/7 for consultations.
Calculate Chocolate Toxic Dose For Dogs
This Chocolate Toxicity Calculator can be used as a guide to decide whether your dog needs to see a veterinarian.
While every effort is made to ensure the calculations are correct, this diagnostic tool is a guide only.
Our vets are available 24/7 to provide animal poison advice.
Even if your dog is not showing symptoms of chocolate poisoning, please monitor your dog for any changes for at least 12 hours (see below for clinical signs to watch out for).
Why Does Chocolate Kill Dogs?
Dogs love chocolate, but unfortunately, they can’t metabolise it as effectively as we can.
In dogs, the metabolism of chocolate can take longer than 18hours.
The chemical toxicity in chocolate is due to the methylxanthines theobromine and caffeine. (Theobromine being by far the most important).
While theobromine is also poisonous to cats, thankfully for them, they don’t tend to seek out chocolate as cats don’t have a sweet tooth (how lucky!).
Signs Of Chocolate Poisoning In Dogs?
It can take 6–12 hrs after ingestion for clinical signs of chocolate toxicosis to become apparent.
Initial signs that you may notice include:
- increased restlessness
- drinking a lot
As signs progress we will often see:
- wobbliness (ataxia)
- increased urination (polyuria)
- elevated heart rate (tachycardia) and other cardiac signs (hypotension, bradycardia (slow heart rate), rhythm disturbances i.e. ventricular premature contractions)
- hypokalaemia (high blood potassium)
Because many chocolate sources have high-fat content, it is not unusual for a dog who has consumed chocolate to then suffer from pancreatitis.
What Chocolate Is The Most Toxic To Dogs?
Not all chocolate contains the same amount of theobromine.
As a general rule we say:
The darker the chocolate the more dangerous it is
The amount of theobromine in different types of chocolate is shown here:
|Type Of Chocolate||Theobromine Content|
|Cocoa bean mulch||2-28mg/g|
|Dry cocoa powder||14-26mg/g|
|Unsweetened baker’s chocolate||13.7-15.9mg/g|
While some might argue that it can be safe to give your dog a small chocolate treat, a far safer alternative would be to give your dog ‘pet chocolate’ that doesn’t contain the toxic theobromine.
How Much Chocolate Kills A Dog?
The amount of chocolate that can kill a dog depends on the amount of theobromine and caffeine that it contains.
The dose of both caffeine and theobromine that will kill 50% of animals that consume it (i.e. LD50) is estimated to be around 100–200 mg/kg.
Occasionally severe clinical signs and death can occur at much lower dosages so it appears that individual sensitivity to methylxanthines can vary between individuals.
For this reason, we recommend that even if your dog is not showing any signs or even subtle signs, you continue to monitor them closely for at least 12 hours.
How Does A Vet Treat Chocolate Poisoning?
If a vet decides that your dog has ingested a toxic amount of chocolate then it’s important to start immediate decontamination.
Your dog will be made to vomit.
Depending on the amount eaten, they may then be made to eat activated charcoal.
Activated charcoal assists with the absorption of chocolate toxins so that the toxins aren’t able to be absorbed and metabolised.
If signs of poisoning are more progressed a vet may need to place your dog on IV fluids to increase diuresis (urine outflow) to aid decontamination.
Relaxants such as Methocarbamol or Diazepam may be required to prevent or treat tremors and seizures.
Heart medications may be required to lower the heart rate and prevent arrhythmias or hypotension.
For the majority of cases decontamination via forcing vomiting will be enough.
Your dog will still likely have some sort of stomach upset such as diarrhoea but in general, the prognosis for recovery is excellent.
Find out about other potential pet poisons in our article Top Dangers For Pets In Autumn.
Our vets can help you with steps you can take at home to induce vomiting and advise whether it would be best to take your dog to a veterinarian.