The Doggie Dangers of Easter Chocolate

Easter Chocolate

Many pet owners know that chocolate is toxic to our canine friends; however, many people wonder how much chocolate is truly dangerous.  The answer to that question depends primarily on the size of your dog as well as the kind of chocolate ingested.  With all of the Easter chocolates and baking happening this weekend, we felt it was important that pet owners know exactly what to look out for in their dogs. We consulted with Dr. Michelle Lindsey of Emerald Animal Hospital to find out exactly how much chocolate is unsafe for your dog.

Theobromine and Caffeine are two compounds found in chocolate and are toxic to dogs.  Typically, darker and bitter chocolates have higher concentrations of Theobromine and Caffeine.  This means that the darker the chocolate, the more poisonous it is to your dog.  Initial toxicity signs would be vomiting, diarrhea and not eating, then effects on the heart – fast and/or irregular heartbeat, then tremors and seizures, and finally death if not treated.

Since most of us can visualize the size of a Hershey’s Kiss, Dr. Lindsey went ahead and calculated the chocolate volumes in the size of Hershey’s kisses!

1 Hershey’s Kiss = 0.16 ounces

3 lb toy breed dog (Chihuahua, Yorkie, etc.) eats:

Milk Chocolate:

2 kisses – vomiting/diarrhea
5 kisses – affects the heart
7-8 kisses – can lead to death

72% Cocoa Dark Chocolate:

1 kiss – affects the heart
2 kisses – possible death

Baker’s chocolate:

1/2 of a kiss – vomiting/diarrhea
1 kiss – seizures
More than 1 kiss – death

20 lb dog (Miniature Schnauzer, Westie, French Bulldog, etc.) eats:

Milk Chocolate: 

15 kisses – vomiting/diarrhea
30 kisses – affects the heart
50 kisses – potential death

72% Cocoa Dark Chocolate:

5 kisses – vomiting/diarrhea
7 kisses – affects the heart
11 kisses – death

Baker’s Chocolate:

2 kisses – vomiting/diarrhea
5 kisses – affects the heart
8 kisses – death

50 lb dog (Labrador Retriever, Pit bull, etc.) eats:

Milk Chocolate:

40 kisses – vomiting/diarrhea
80 kisses – affects the heart
125 kisses – death

72% Cocoa Dark Chocolate:

10 kisses – vomiting/diarrhea
20 kisses – affects the heart
30 kisses – death

Baker’s Chocolate

5 kisses – vomiting/diarrhea
12 kisses – affects the heart
18 kisses – death

If your dog ingests any amount of chocolate, it is best to call your veterinarian ASAP so they can calculate if the amount may be toxic. If you know your dog ate or could have eaten chocolate and they are having any symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea, not eating, restlessness or hyperactivity, heart racing, seizures) you should seek immediate veterinary care.

At Sandstone Animal Hospital, we build positive relationships on a healthy foundation of strong medicine and rock solid caring. If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact us 440-234-6336  or click on the dog on the right send us an email. We are located at 1467 W. Bagley Road in Berea, Ohio and we happily treat dogs and cats in the Berea, Olmsted Falls, Middleburg Heights, Brook Park, and Columbia Station areas.