Chocolate and Easter go together like dog kisses and drool. But how much chocolate is safe for them to steal?
Dogs will steal chocolate during Easter 2019 (along with a lot of other treats).
Technically, dogs shouldn’t ever eat any chocolate at all. But they do, especially during the holidays, so…how much candy is too much?
Like a lot of pet parenting questions, the unsatisfactory answer is that it really depends on a lot of factors. What kind of chocolate was eaten? How much of it? How much does your dog weigh?
Time to dive into some dog science for a bit.
The reason it’s dangerous is because dogs can’t digest a type of chemical called methylxanthines very well, and caffeine is one of that family. The darker the chocolate, the more cocoa it contains, and the more cocoa it contains, the more toxic it is to our beloved canines.
According to PetMD, there are varying levels of danger depending on the kind of chocolate consumed.
White chocolate and milk chocolate probably won’t cause symptoms. Semisweet chocolate and dark chocolate will likely cause a lot of problems, and baking chocolate and straight cocoa powder could be deadly.
According to Petful, white chocolate is nearly impossible to overdose on – it would take a whopping 47 pounds for a 10-pound dog to undergo serious harm. About 3.5 ounces (two Hershey’s bars) of milk chocolate is the limit for the same size dog, 1.5 of dark chocolate and half an ounce of baking chocolate is the limit. The bigger the dog, the higher the tolerance level.
About that thievery – we know this from experience. (Wesley’s Beagle mix Sunny gobbled down his Easter bunny more often than not growing up. It didn’t seem to hurt her any, though it was very irritating.) She weighed around 25 to 30 pounds, for reference.
Staff dog Troy the Cocker Spaniel mix is about Sunny’s size, according to his owner Kimberly, so we’ll use him as an example. If he were to eat a package of Reese’s, which is about 1.5 ounces of milk chocolate, he would not be likely to have symptoms, according to PetMD’s Chocolate Toxicity Meter for Dogs. If he ate a cupful of peanut M&M’s, about six ounces, they predict he would have mild to moderate symptoms.
Luckily for our doggos, most Easter bunnies are made of milk or white chocolate, which are among the least deadly varieties.
Symptoms of chocolate poisoning, on the low end, include diarrhea, a fever and vomiting, On the severe end, they can include seizures, comas and heart failure.
The American Kennel Club recommends you call the vet as soon as possible if your dog has been eating chocolate, or calling the Pet Poison Hotline at 855-213-6680 for advice.