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I am not a veterinarian or a dog nutritionist. This post shares my experience when my dog ate chocolate. If your dog has eaten chocolate and you have health questions, please contact your veterinarian.

What to Do When Your Dog Eats Chocolate Cake - what we learned after Rodrigo ate the last piece of chocolate cake.

This blog post was originally published in June 2014. It has been updated with new information and republished.

Several years ago, J and I walked in the kitchen and noticed that the last piece of chocolate cake was missing. J says “so you ate the last piece of chocolate cake?” Ummmm. No. I thought he was joking at first, but then I saw the container and there was no chocolate cake.

I had taken it out of the fridge to reach room temperature for J. I left it too close to the edge of the counter and someone had taken two big bites and it was gone.

We had four dogs at the time and I had no idea who ate the chocolate cake. But then I gave it some thought and the only counter surfer we had was Rodrigo. I called him into the kitchen, opened his mouth, and saw chocolate on his back teeth.

Well, at least he chewed.

My First Reaction When My Dog Ate Chocolate

When it comes to my dogs, I'm a crazy dog mom. I love them to pieces and I want to keep them happy, healthy, and safe. I was pissed at myself for leaving the cake at the edge of the counter, but I knew that I couldn't freak out because Rodrigo would pick up on my negative energy.

So, instead, I split into two personalities…

  • The Pet Blogger – research what to do, try and recall discussions about dogs eating chocolate and wonder “why haven’t I written about this before?” What do veterinarians have to say? The clinic is closed, so who can I call?
  • The Dog Mom – freak the hell out, because I was irresponsible and I just hurt my baby.

Both personalities kind of even each other out and you get a semi-stressed dog owner who is annoyed by how complicated the information online is.

Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning

  • vomiting
  • pacing
  • agitated behavior
  • eating grass
  • diarrhea

Dogs Eat Chocolate All the Time, Right?

As I'm trying to learn what I need to do for my dog, I recall a couple of friends who have had dogs get into the chocolate. One dog ate a couple of candy bars while the other ate an entire stash in the pantry. Both dogs were fine – no illness, no diarrhea, no worries. They ate milk chocolate, so maybe that's why they were okay.

My friends confirmed that their dogs ate milk chocolate and as I was researching online, I found that the dark chocolate and baker’s chocolate are the most dangerous for dogs because it has a higher amount of caffeine and theobromine and it lasts in the system for up to 15+ hours.

Milk chocolate (which is what Rodrigo ate) and white chocolate pose less of a risk.

How Much Chocolate Can Kill a Dog?

If you're wondering why I didn't contact the pet poison hotline, I did. They charge a fee to speak with someone and they can't actually give you medical advice because they're not veterinarians. This wasn't clear on their website; I found out when I called. It was frustrating, because my vet's clinic was closed and the emergency clinic doesn't take calls, you have to go in for $99 a visit.

If I'm going to pay $99 for a veterinarian visit (not exam, that's extra), then I better make sure that my dog needs to go, so I continued to do my research while we watched Rodrigo (who was behaving normally, by the way).

So, how much chocolate required an emergency trip to the vet?

Per Pets.WebMD, one ounce of milk chocolate per pound of body weight can be lethal.  Rodrigo weighed 70 pounds back then (he weighs 53 pounds now – yikes, he was fat). And he ate what amounts to a cup (or 8 ounces) of chocolate cake. He would have needed to consume 8x what he ate for there to be a problem.

Whew!

The article I found went on to say that 20 ounces of milk chocolate, 10 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, and 2.25 ounces of baking chocolate can potentially kill a 22 pound dog.

Rodrigo was fine.

What To Do When Your Dog Eats Chocolate

If you're discovered this post because your dog ate chocolate – please call your vet immediately. I'm not qualified to give advice. This post is only sharing our experience.

Induce Vomiting

We chose not to induce vomiting because I worry about that being my go to remedy when my dog eats something that he shouldn't. I'm glad that I didn't do this step because it would have been unnecessary. Rodrigo didn't eat enough chocolate to be lethal (or to cause him harm).

If you want to know if you should induce vomiting, please contact your veterinarian. Another reason I'm hesitant is because if something else in is the stomach that shouldn't be, it could cause damage on the way back up.

Serve Raw Goat's Milk

We did give Rodrigo raw goat's milk because I hoped that it would line and soothe his tummy to ease any reaction to the small amount of caffeine he ingested. This also turned out to be good because Rodrigo was concerned because of my energy so this unexpected treat perked him right up.

Call Your Veterinarian

In our case, we didn't call our veterinarian because the clinic was closed. Instead, we kept an eye on Rodrigo and with the information we found on Pets.WebMD, we felt confident that our dog would be okay because he wasn't exhibiting any of the symptoms of chocolate poisoning.

  • vomiting
  • pacing
  • agitated behavior
  • eating grass
  • diarrhea

I've never been so happy to have pet insurance, because what I read about dogs who ate a ton of dark chocolate was scary!

My Dog's Chocolate Eating Timeline

Rodrigo had his chocolate cake Sunday evening and we watched him for an hour and he was fine. He was ready to play fetch, he was hanging out with his siblings, he was exploring the yard.

The following morning, he was still his normal self. No symptoms of chocolate poisoning. If he had been exhibiting any of the symptoms that I listed above, I would have called the emergency vet right away and taken him in.

Has your dog ever dined on chocolate?

I am not a veterinarian or a dog nutritionist. This post shares my experience when my dog ate chocolate. If your dog has eaten chocolate and you have health questions, please contact your veterinarian.

Steps I took after my dog ate chocolate cake to make sure he was healthy.

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