If your dog eats a chocolate chip cookie, or you think that they might have eaten one, you’ll need to take action. Since chocolate is toxic for dogs, you can call the 24/7 ASPCA Pet Poison Control Hotline: (888) 426-4435
It’s important to stay calm and collect information that they’ll need in order to best advise you. Here’s 5 questions they might ask:
- What type of chocolate was in the cookie? Dark chocolate is the worst and white chocolate is most safe.
- How many cookies did they eat? Big or small?
- Any other ingredients in the cookie other than flour, sugar, eggs?
- When did they eat the cookies?
- Is your dog experiencing any symptoms?
Watch for the following symptoms:
- Increased heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Rapid breathing
If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, bring him to the nearest emergency vet. They will most likely recommend getting your dog’s stomach pumped. They will be sick for a few days, but this procedure will potentially save their life.
Why is Chocolate Poisonous to Dogs?
Chocolate comes from cocoa beans, and the plant produces the chemicals caffeine and theobromine. These compounds aren’t harmful to humans because our bodies can break them down easily, but they’re incredibly toxic to animals, including dogs. Chocolate and caffeine are both stimulants and can cause elevated heart rate, hyperactivity, and muscle tremors. If it’s not treated, chocolate toxicity can lead to death within 24 hours.
That being said, chocolate toxicity is dose-dependent, so the risk of your dog getting sick varies depending on their size and how much chocolate they ate. Larger dogs can consume more chocolate at a lower-risk than small dogs.
Different kinds of chocolate also contain different amounts of these chemical compounds; for example, chocolate chips are less toxic than pure, concentrated cocoa powder. Milk chocolate is safer than baker’s chocolate because of the concentration of theobromine present in both.
According to the Pet Poison Hotline and PatchPuppy.com, “Ingestion of more than 0.13 ounces per pound of dark or semi-sweet chocolate may cause poisoning. Almost all ingestion of baker’s chocolate can result in poisoning and are considered emergencies.”
You can use this toxicity meter to enter the amount of chocolate your dog has consumed, the type of chocolate, and their weight to determine how it could potentially affect your pet. You should still always contact your vet as the first line of defense, however.
How Can I Prevent It?
Keep all sources of chocolate out of reach of your pets. Lock them in a closet, place them on a high shelf in a pantry, make sure they’re stored in sealed containers, etc.
Be extra careful with young kids around who may not understand the dangerous consequences of feeding a cookie to a dog.
You also want to make sure your pet is trained with commands like “stay”, “sit”, or “wait”, so that you can issue these commands if food is spilled and you want to keep them from eating it. Accidents happen, especially in the kitchen, and you want to do everything you can to keep your dog safe!