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Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs and Cats

By Dr. Andrew Jones

Good morning everyone.
a Big cheery hello to you and
your pets- It’s Christmas Eve.

Look out for Chocolate

Yesterday I had 3 emergencies due to dogs
eating chocolate- this is becoming
increasingly common.

Veterinarians are seeing MORE chocolate toxicities,
due to our increased desire to consume ‘healthier’
dark chocolate- BUT your pet only needs to
consume 1/3 as much dark chocolate as opposed to
milk chocolate to become seriously ill.

In fact yesterday I had 2 small dogs that
consumed OVER 1 pound of chocolate covered
coffee beans..

Dogs surprise me as to what they will consume…

WHAT you NEED to know

1. The TOXIC and potentially FATAL dose of
chocolate is 60mg/kg- so a 10lb dog only
needs to consume 300mg of chocolate.

Clinical Signs can be seen as low as
20mg/kg- meaning our little 10lb dog only
needs to consume 100mg to have problems.

Severe signs are seen at 40mg/kg-
or consuming 200mg of chocolate.

2. The Toxic components are theobromine
and caffeine- although the theobromine
is the BIGGEST toxin.

3. Here are some relative amounts of

Milk chocolate bar ( 5oz)                  -250mg theobromine
Dark chocolate bar ( 70% cocoa)            – 600mg theobromine
Unsweetened Baking chocolate (per square)  – 400mg theobromine
Semisweet Chocolate Chips ( per 30 chips)  – 250mg theobromine
Instant Cocoa Powder ( per ounce)           – 150mg theobromine
Dry Cocoa Powder     ( per ounce)           – 700mg theobromine

4. Here are some of the clinical signs-
they occur 6-12 hours after ingestion.

Increased Drinking
Increased Urinating

Progressing Signs:
Elevated Heart Rate/arrythmia
Cyanosis ( bluish gums)
Elevated blood pressure
Increased resiprations

5. What to do

– IF your dog/cat consumes 20mg/kg of
theobromine or higher, then induce vomiting:

PURGE THE POISON. In most cases of poisoning,
getting your pet to vomit is the most important
thing that you can do. To induce vomiting, give
hydrogen peroxide at 1 teaspoon per 10 lbs of
body weight. If your pet doesn’t vomit in 10 minutes,
repeat again. NEVER do more than 2 treatments of
peroxide. You can also try salt: dilute 1
teaspoon of salt in a tablespoon of water per
every 10lbs of body weight.

DELAY ABSORPTION. Activated charcoal is readily
available at most pharmacies. It delays absorption
of any toxin by binding to the toxic compound in
the stomach. The easiest way is to give the capsule
form. For those garbage-eating dogs (such as my own dog)
it is a good idea to have hydrogen peroxide and activated
charcoal always on hand.

-IF your dog is showing ANY of the clinical signs,
such as vomiting, increased drinking, bloating
and tremors, then see your Veterinarian IMMEDIATELY.

-IF you are UNABLE to induce vomiting, SEE your


P.S. The 2 small dogs that consumed the 1pound of chocolate covered
coffee beans are FINE because I did one thing that YOU can
be doing at home: Inducing Vomiting.

AND if you are wanting to KNOW more about how to respond in
case your dog consumes chocolate, go here:


P.P.S. Have a SAFE and MERRY Christmas!

Dr Andrew Jones


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Topics: Cat Health, Dog Health, Pet health | 1 Comment »

One Response to “Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs and Cats”

  1. Avatar Shauna Says:
    June 26th, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Hydrogen peroxide worked like magic for our 25lb dog. She ate a 3oz bar of 70% cacao chocolate (~600 mg theobromine!) so we gave her 2.5 tsp about 2 hours later…a few minutes later the chocolate came up. Thanks for saving us a vet bill!


Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM