Can Dogs Eat Milk Chocolate? Is it Safe for Dogs?

You may have heard of dogs eating bars of chocolate with seemingly no adverse effects, and then you may have read that chocolate is toxic for dogs, and as a result, you are feeling very confused. 

Does the rule apply only to certain dogs? 

Is it different with different kinds of chocolate? 

In this article, we will answer the question – can dogs eat milk chocolate? 

We look at the effects chocolate can have on your dog, and what to do if your dog eats it.

  • Can chocolate kill dogs?
  • Why is chocolate bad for dogs?
  • What does chocolate do to a dog?
  • How much chocolate can a dog eat?
  • Can a dog have chocolate flavored foods or drinks?
  • What to do if your dog eats chocolate
  • How does the vet treat chocolate poisoning in dogs?
not safe for dogs to eat

No, your dog shouldn't eat milk chocolate. 

Chocolate can be fatal to dogs, especially puppies. 3 ounces of milk chocolate can cause vomiting and diarrhea in a 20-pound dog. Milk chocolate has less theobromine than dark chocolate but is still toxic.

Can Chocolate Kill Dogs?

The first and foremost thing that dog owners will be most concerned about is whether or not chocolate is so toxic to a dog that it will kill them. 

Nobody wants to think of their beloved family pet falling at the hand of a seemingly innocent sweet treat.

The good news is that chocolate is rarely fatal. The percentage of fatalities concerning dogs and the consumption of chocolate is minor. 

According to the Veterinary Poisons Information Service, only five dogs died out of the 1,000 chocolate toxicity cases on its system.

Saying that chocolate can still make your dog quite ill, and it should, therefore, be avoided. 

You wouldn’t want your dog to be in the unfortunate minority of dogs that have lost their lives to this sweet treat. 

As a dog owner and dog lover, I know that I wouldn’t want to take any risks with my pet dog.

can puppies eat milk chocolate

Why Is Chocolate Bad For Dogs?

Aside from the fact that there is the potential for the chocolate to be dangerous for your dog, especially when consumed in large quantities, chocolate is also awful for your dog’s health. 

With this in mind, it is advisable to ensure that your dog is not given any human chocolate. 

If we have our dogs’ best interests at heart, we should only want to be offering them healthy foods that will not negatively impact their quality of life, given that a dog’s life is so much shorter than our own.

The main ingredients that are bad for dogs in chocolate are fat, sugar, and caffeine. 

These are the same ingredients that humans should be wary of consuming in large amounts outside of a balanced and healthy diet also because they can do so much harm to our bodies.

The most toxic ingredient for dogs in chocolate, though, which you may not be aware of, is theobromine, a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant. 

This ingredient is toxic for dogs because they aren’t able to metabolize it as humans can. It can, therefore, affect their gut, heart, central nervous system, and kidneys. 

This means that while humans can afford to have the odd bar of chocolate as a sweet treat, a dog cannot.

What Does Chocolate Do To A Dog?

You may be wondering what will happen to your dog’s body or system if they eat some chocolate. If your dog is going to be adversely affected by chocolate, then symptoms will show between four and twenty-four hours.

The effects of chocolate poisoning may depend on the size of your dog and how much they have consumed. Chocolate poisoning mainly affects the heart, liver, and central nervous system; however, if your Labrador has eaten 200g of milk chocolate, they may only experience an upset stomach with vomiting and diarrhea. 

If the same dog ate 500g, you might see signs of an increased heart rate, and cardiovascular problems may occur. 

At 750g or more, the result could be as severe as seizures. It wouldn’t take very long for a Labrador-sized dog to wolf down this amount of chocolate given a chance.

It is never a good idea to feed chocolate to your dog. If anything, they may get the taste for it, and then they are likely not to hesitate when finding a bar of chocolate on the floor during a walk.

is milk chocolate safe for dogs

How Much Chocolate Can A Dog Eat?

Feeding your dog chocolate intentionally is not recommended for all of the reasons above. 

You may still want to know how much chocolate a dog can eat to gauge whether a chocolate consumption situation with your dog warrants a visit to your vet.

As a guide, 100-150mg of theobromine per kg of body weight is considered to be toxic for dogs. This means that for a Labrador weighing 30kg, 3000mg of theobromine could be fatal, the equivalent of which can be found in a 500g bar of dark chocolate.

Can A Dog Have Chocolate Flavoured Foods Or Drinks?

Dry cocoa powder used for drinking chocolate or to flavor foods like cakes contains up to 26mgof theobromine per gram, meaning that cocoa powder is highly toxic for dogs. 

For a small dog, the weight just 10kg, just a few grams of cocoa powder have the potential to lead to seizures.

Popular brands of drinking chocolate tend to have similar levels of theobromine as milk chocolate. A small dog or 10kg would have to drink more than 130g or drinking chocolate for toxic effects to take place.

What To Do If Your Dog Eats Chocolate?

This first thing to do if your dog has eaten chocolate is to determine whether or not he has consumed a dangerous amount or not. 

If you are worried, you can call your vet for advice and be sure to tell give them as much information about your dog as possible. 

They are likely to ask what breed of dog you have and how much your dog weighs, how much chocolate your dog ate, and what kind, how long ago it was eaten, and if you have noticed any adverse symptoms since ingestion. 

You may be able to find more information on wrappers, so keep hold of these if you need to take your dog to the vet.

is milk chocolate safe for dogs

How Does The Vet Treat Chocolate Poisoning In Dogs?

There is no antidote that your vet can prescribe to reverse the toxic effects of theobromine, which is why it is so essential to make sure that you don’t feed or allow your dog to have access to any chocolate or chocolate-flavored foods or drinks.

The most likely treatment your vet will give is to induce vomiting to try and remove the ingested chocolate product and therefore reduce the amount of theobromine that your dog’s system will ultimately absorb. 

An injection will usually be administered, which will induce vomiting almost immediately. 

Activated charcoal is also a tremendous precautionary treatment, which will help to absorb any of the remaining toxins in your dog’s stomach by binding to them.

Additional treatments will depend on the symptoms your dog is showing. For example, your dog may need IV fluids via a drip, in which case your dog will need to be hospitalized. 

Heart rate, blood pressure, and seizure activity may also need to be controlled with medication if these problems are present.

Despite all of this, the prognosis for dogs with chocolate poisoning is right, even for those that have ingested a high amount of theobromine. The key is prompt intervention and the correct treatment. 

So if you suspect that your dog has eaten chocolate or you are worried about the symptoms they are showing, don’t hesitate to seek the advice of your vet straight away so that you can get your dog to the surgery as quickly as possible if needed.

Summary: Can dogs eat milk chocolate?

It can often feel like you are overreacting when your dog eats something that seems entirely harmless for you or your child, I mean we eat chocolate all of the time! 

But we must always remember that a dog’s body and systems work very differently to our own, and they are not designed to digest or deal with the variety of foods and ingredients that we put into our bodies. 

So many human foods are not only toxic but also incredibly unhealthy for our dogs. The effects of these may not be known immediately. 

It may even be years before we see the adverse impact on our dog’s health due to the inappropriate foods we have been feeding them consistently over the years. 

It has never been more important to keep our selves informed, to keep our dogs safe so that they can lead long, healthy and happy lives.

(Last Updated On: March 28, 2020)
Liz
 

I'm a self-employed blogger, life-long pet parent, and lover of dogs and somehow manage to have time to pursue another of my passions - writing. I’m the primary contributor and editor of PUPPY FAQS. I love to write about nutrition, health, and care of puppies. In my spare time, I volunteer at my local dog shelter. If you have a question that needs answering, please leave a comment below, and I will do my best to explain it.

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