For all the fun of Halloween (and just about every other holiday), when it comes to dogs, chocolate is NO treat. According to Petplan pet insurance, dogs are 32% more likely to suffer food poisoning during Halloween week versus any other time of the year. What’s the top risk? Chocolate! It’s extra important that you keep all candies away from your dog–and that you know what to do if your dog eats chocolate.
Chocolate is poisonous to pets because it contains toxic theobromine, and different types of chocolate affect pets differently because they have varying levels of theobromine.
Baking chocolate has the highest concentration, and is therefore the most toxic – followed by dark, milk and then white chocolate.
If your dog eats chocolate, you need to know three things:
- how much theobromine the chocolate contains
- how much your dog ate
- how much your dog weighs
If your dog ingests close to 20mg of theobromine per pound of body weight, he’s in the danger zone for food poisoning.
How much theobromine in in an ounce of chocolate?
- Baking chocolate – 450mg/oz
- Dark chocolate – 160mg/oz
- Milk chocolate – 64mg/oz
- White chocolate – 1mg/oz
How to calculate how much theobromine your dog ingested
Multiply the ounces of chocolate ingested by the milligrams of theobromine per ounce and divide that by the weight of the dog in pounds.
The closer the resulting number is to 20, the worse the toxic effects. For example:
- A 25-lb. dog who eats 3 ounces of milk chocolate: 3 oz x 64mg/oz = 192 divided by 25lbs = 7.7mg/lb (non-toxic level of theobromine)
- A 25-lb. dog who eats 3 ounces of dark chocolate: 3 oz x 160 mg/oz = 480 divided by 25lbs = 19.2mg/lb (dangerous level of theobromine)
What to do if my dog eats chocolate
A number close to 20 indicates a toxic level of theobromine that can terrorize your pet’s health. Get to the vet or an emergency clinic immediately!
If the number is well below 20, your pet’s tummy may turn on him, but you don’t need to be spooked. Call your vet for tips on how to treat signs of trouble.