Most humans can't resist the smell of freshly baked brownies, so, why should we expect our dogs are going to do the same? Dogs are inquisitive in nature, and they love to explore their world with their mouth. Veterinarian JoAnna Woodnutt examines if brownies are toxic to dogs, and what steps you should take if your pup just ate some when they shouldn't have.
Dr. Joanna Woodnutt
Last Updated: December 8, 2022 | 7 min read
This article was written by a veterinarian, but it should not substitute as contact with a trained professional. If your dog ate brownies and is reacting adversely, contact your local veterinarian immediately. When you buy something through one of the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
If your dog has just eaten a brownie – or several! – don’t panic! Yes, chocolate can be toxic to dogs, and in large amounts, it can be very bad for them. But, just because a dog eats chocolate doesn’t mean they are going to die. Many cases of chocolate poisoning end up not being fatal to our canine companions.
Chocolate poisoning is dangerous, so it’s important to understand what happens to dogs during chocolate ingestion. It’s also important to understand what steps you should take immediately upon your pup ingesting anything containing chocolate, like a brownie.
Chocolate is bad for dogs because it’s made from cocoa, which contains two compounds – theobromine and caffeine. Dogs are more sensitive to these substances, called methylxanthines, and cannot metabolize them as well as humans can. Both ingredients can build up to toxic levels in your pup. So, what should you do when your pup makes his or her way into a basket of brownies?
My Dog Ate a Brownie: What Now?
So, what should you do if your dog ate chocolate brownies? There are actually a few steps you’ll need to take, and you’ll want to ac quickly, depending on how many brownies were consumed.
Step #1: Move Brownies Away From Fido
Move the brownies to a safe place, out of reach of the dog, to stop them from eating any more. You may need to put your pup in a safe place, or lock them away while you sort out the mess and clear the area.
Step #2: Figure Out How Much Was Eaten
Work out a rough idea of how many brownies the dog ate and what type of chocolate was in the brownie. Look for the ‘total cocoa solids’ on the packaging – it’s usually expressed as a percentage. You can also use thischocolate toxicity calculatorto get an idea of how concerned you need to be as a pet parent.
Step #3: Call Your Veterinarian
How Many Brownies Can a Dog Eat?
With brownies, the damage done depends on the type of chocolate used to make the brownies. White chocolate tends to be the lowest risk, followed by milk chocolate, then dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is worst for dogs because it has a higher cocoa content, which means it contains more of the toxic ingredients theobromine and caffeine.
Cooking chocolate (Baker’s chocolate) tends to be even worse still – 1 ounce of Baker’s chocolate can cause as much damage as several ounces of milk chocolate! As a rule, the darker and less sweet the chocolate, the worse your pup might be affected.
Cocoa powder is also bad for dogs, as it has a high theobromine content—and, like all theobromine—it’s still toxic after it’s been cooked.Thisis a useful resource for finding the harmful contents of different types of chocolate.
The risk to your dog also depends on their size. Larger breeds are likely to be less affected by the same amount of chocolate as a small dog. As puppies are smaller, they are also likely to experience worse side effects than adult dogs.
One ounce of milk chocolate per pound of body weight can potentially be fatal in dogs. On average, one serving of brownie contains 2 ounces of milk chocolate. This means eating one or more brownies can cause potential problems for any dog, but especially smaller dogs as they have lower body weight.
When Should I Call the Vet?
If you think your dog has eaten chocolate, always call the vet for advice. It is better to treat early than to wait until the dog is showing signs of chocolate poisoning.
If the type and amount of chocolate consumed is low risk, then the vet may suggest keeping an eye on your dog to look for the symptoms of chocolate poisoning (listed below). If the situation is more severe, or you have seen clinical signs, then the vet may ask you to bring Fido to the clinic.
In this case, the vet may cause your pup to vomit up the chocolate and give him activated charcoal. Activated charcoal helps trap toxic substances in the dog’s gut to stop them from being absorbed and causing harm to the dog. The vet should also provide supportive care for your pup, such as fluids, flushing the gut, and pain relief.
What Are the Signs of Chocolate Toxicity?
The signs of chocolate poisoning do not appear straight away, and it may take up to 12 hours for any signs of sickness to show. Once they start though, these symptoms can stick around for up to 72 hours, so it’s important to know what you’re looking for. Depending on how severe the poisoning is, signs can include any of the following:
- Urinating and/or drinking more often
- General restlessness and excitement
- Muscle tremors
- Increased heart rate/heart palpitations
- Death (in extreme cases)
With chocolate poisoning, the outcome is always better with early treatment. This is why it’s best to contact the vet straight away if you think any brownie has been consumed, or something else they shouldn’t have.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that even if the amount of chocolate eaten does not result in chocolate poisoning, it can still cause tummy upsets due to the fat and sugar content.
What About Other Brownie Ingredients?
Although many brownies are made with chocolate, other brownie ingredients might cause toxicity if eaten.
Macadamia nuts are also toxic to dogs. If your pup has eaten brownies with macadamia nuts, then you should mention this when you call a vet for advice. The signs of macadamia nut toxicity tend to be mild and self-limiting; however, this is not always the case. In severe cases, the vet should treat the clinical signs to make your canine companion more comfortable.
Possible signs of macadamia nut poisoning are as follows:
- Inability to stand
- Reluctance to walk
Most dogs will recover from macadamia nut toxicity with help from a vet. It’s worth being aware that dogs with other health problems will be at higher risk of severe poisoning cases.
An artificial sweetener used in many keto and ‘healthy brownie’ recipes, as well as in some peanut butters, this substance can be incredibly toxic to dogs if ingested. As little as 0.0017 ounces per pound of body weight can cause signs of poisoning. Xylitol in dogs causes a major drop in blood sugar, followed by liver damage, both of which can result in fatality.
Signs of xylitol toxicity include:
- Potentially death
If you have reason to believe your pup may have eaten something containing xylitol, contact your veterinarian immediately. It may be useful to send an image of the packaging to your vet or have it to hand to read through the ingredients list with them if you’re unsure.
Marijuana (AKA ‘pot brownies’)
If your dog has eaten an edible brownie containing marijuana, then you should contact a vet straight away. Dogs are much more sensitive to marijuana than humans, and it’s often harder to estimate the amount eaten compared to other ingredients such as chocolate.
Don’t be embarrassed – your vet isn’t interested in how Fido ate weed, just in making sure they survive the experience. If your pup ate pot brownies, it’s likely your vet will ask you to bring them in for hospitalization.
How Much Brownie Can Kill a Dog?
The amount of brownies that can kill a dog depends on the following:
- The type of chocolate used to make brownies
- The number of brownies eaten
- The size of the dog in question
- Any other poisonous ingredients included in the brownies
These factors are important to assess the risk to a dog. It’s also worthwhile considering other health conditions that may put your pup at a higher risk. This may apply to dogs with diabetes, arthritis (osteoarthritis), kidney disease, or heart disease, for example. This can also apply to elderly dogs, as they will be more prone to severe signs of chocolate poisoning.
Despite this, it is still unlikely that your dog will die from chocolate poisoning. Even in severe cases, most dogs tend to recover if they have fast and aggressive treatment from a vet.
Preventing Brownie Ingestion
If you want to keep your furry friends safe, it’s best to prevent them from eating anything they shouldn’t. This means leaving sweet treats such as brownies, cookies, and any other potentially harmful foods out of reach of all pets. For those pets that tend to rummage through the trash, make sure you keep the bins someplace out of reach or use child locks if necessary to stop them from opening the bin.
It is also wise to be careful during high-risk times, such as Easter, Valentine’s Day, and Christmas, where there is likely to be lots of family members around that like to give the dog treats. In this case, it’s best to ask Granny to feed pet-friendly dog treats instead and avoid giving your dog chocolate in any form.
If your dog ate a brownie, he could be at risk of chocolate poisoning or toxicity from some of the other brownie ingredients. The risk will depend on the type of chocolate, amount of chocolate, and size of your dog, as well as what other ingredients were present.
If you see your pup eating a brownie, always call your vet or the Pet Poison Helpline for advice! They will help you work out whether your canine companion has had a toxic dose and what to do next.
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Leave a Comment
Kimberly Robinette Wygant
March 1, 2022 at 1:12 am
My 7lb dog just are about 1 fifth of a brownie
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It can take 6 to 12 hours for symptoms of chocolate poisoning to appear in your dog. So, if you already know your dog's eaten chocolate, don't wait for any of the above symptoms to appear, call your vet. If it's after hours and your veterinarian's clinic is, call a local emergency vet.How long after eating brownies will a dog get sick? ›
It can take 6 to 12 hours for symptoms of chocolate poisoning to appear in your dog. So, if you already know your dog's eaten chocolate, don't wait for any of the above symptoms to appear, call your vet. If it's after hours and your veterinarian's clinic is, call a local emergency vet.Will my dog be OK after eating brownies? ›
No. The main ingredients in brownies are not good for dogs, including chocolate, wheat flour, and sugar. In particular, chocolate is toxic to dogs because it contains methylxanthines like caffeine and theobromine, which dogs cannot break down like we can. Chocolate poisoning can cause severe symptoms and even death.How much brownie is toxic to dog? ›
Dog owners often ask how much chocolate can kill a dog. While there is no right or wrong answer to this, we know dogs show symptoms of poisoning when they eat 20mg of theobromine (the toxic chemical in chocolate) for every kilogram they weigh. These symptoms become severe at 40 to 50mg per kg.How long after a dog eats chocolate will they be OK? ›
Generally, with prompt treatment, dogs that have eaten chocolate are back to their usual selves within a day or two.What can I do if my dog ate a brownie? ›
If you believe your dog has eaten chocolate, call your veterinarian immediately or call the Pet Poison Helpline (855-213-6680) for advice.How do I get my dog to throw up after eating brownies? ›
Hydrogen peroxide can be used to induce vomiting in dogs, pigs, ferrets and cats according to the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center. “The dosage (of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide) is 1 teaspoon per 5 lbs., not to exceed 3 tablespoons,” writes veterinarian Jill A. Richardson.Should I give my dog peroxide after eating chocolate? ›
Give your dog 3% hydrogen peroxide, one to two teaspoons for every ten pounds of weight. You can squirt this solution to the back of your dog's tongue using a turkey baster, eye dropper or needless syringe. The taste and foam with prompt vomiting within five to ten minutes after administration.How long does it take for a dog to absorb chocolate? ›
While dogs reach peak serum (the non-cell part of blood) levels of caffeine after 30-60 minutes and eliminate half of an ingested dose in 4.5 hours, they don't reach peak serum levels of theobromine until after 10 hours and take 17.5 hours to eliminate half of it.How much chocolate does a dog need to ingest to induce toxicity? ›
The toxic dose for theobromine is reported as 100-150mg per kg body weight, however occasionally problems are observed at doses as low as 20mg/kg. What this means in a practical sense, using 100mg/kg as a guide this equates to: approximately 60 grams of milk chocolate per kg bodyweight.
If your dog has eaten an edible with any amount of THC, you need to contact a veterinarian as soon as possible. Dogs that have consumed THC can be susceptible to THC toxicity. The effects of THC that give the “high” feeling that is normal to humans may be fairly harmful to dogs.Does milk help a poisoned dog? ›
No. Milk is unlikely to be helpful in the vast majority of poisoning situations and can sometimes make things worse. Most pets are lactose intolerant and giving milk can cause or worsen stomach upset symptoms.Can a dog survive chocolate poisoning without treatment? ›
Seizures are one of the most severe symptoms of extreme chocolate toxicity in dogs. This may only occur when a dog has ingested a large quantity of chocolate, but it can sometimes mean the toxicity will become fatal without veterinary treatment.What home remedy can I give my dog for chocolate? ›
If your dog ate chocolate within an hour, get him to vomit. Use 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. Mix it 1:1 with water. Use 1 teaspoon per 5 pounds of the dog's body weight.Can you save a dog from chocolate poisoning? ›
Recovery can be complete and prognosis good if caught and treated early (within 2 hours of ingestion). Chocolate poisoning can be lethal at high doses. Always keep chocolate out of reach of your pet.Can I flush chocolate out of my dogs system? ›
Get 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
If your dog eats chocolate, the first thing you need to do is contact your veterinarian. They will likely tell you to make the dog vomit to get the chocolate out of his digestive system. You can use 3% hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting in dogs.
Common symptoms of a dog consuming Marijuana (an edible):
If your dog ate an edible infused with THC, it'll take roughly 30 minutes to an hour for the weed to take effect. * Physically, you might notice dilated pupils, a slower heart rate, and difficulty walking, if they can walk at all.
Dogs cannot eat chocolate cake or any other chocolate containing product, because they may experience poisoning. Symptoms range from vomiting and diarrhea to more severe symptoms such as an irregular heartbeat and seizures. Taking immediate action is the best way to ensure the health and safety of your pet.How do vets treat chocolate poisoning? ›
How is chocolate poisoning in dogs treated? Treatment for chocolate poisoning in dogs may include induced vomiting, activated charcoal, intravenous fluids, heart medications, anti-convulsants, and antacids, depending on the clinical signs.What happens if my dog ate chocolate and immediately threw up? ›
Symptoms of dog chocolate poisoning include vomiting (which may include blood), diarrhoea, restlessness and hyperactivity, rapid breathing, muscle tension, incoordination, increased heart rate and seizures. The effect and signs of chocolate poisoning in dogs depend on the amount eaten and the size of the breed.
If treated early, decontamination including inducing vomiting and administering activated charcoal to prevent absorption of theobromine into the body may be all that is necessary. Treatments of activated charcoal may be repeated to reduce the continued resorption and recirculation of theobromine.What happens if a dog doesn't throw up hydrogen peroxide? ›
If it has been more than 15 minutes after administration of the hydrogen peroxide and vomiting has not occurred, you may re-dose one more time. Do not continue to give your dog hydrogen peroxide if he is not vomiting. This could lead to an overdose and hydrogen peroxide toxicity.Should my dog drink water after eating chocolate? ›
Make sure your pet gets plenty of fluids: Both of these steps will dehydrate your dog, so make sure they drink tons of water. The more water they drink the faster they will expel the poison.Should I make my dog vomit after eating chocolate? ›
If you know your dog has consumed chocolate, call your vet and get your dog treated as soon as possible. The first step is to induce vomiting and give multiple doses of activated charcoal to decontaminate. If needed, your pet will be given IV fluids, and sedatives may be given to keep your pet calm.Can a dog survive eating edibles? ›
Essentially any edible product, including cannabis gummies, can be toxic for dogs. Although vets say that edible products that contain chocolate and cannabis are the worst. Chocolate is also toxic to dogs.How many mg of edibles can a dog have? ›
Unfortunately, a one-pound dog can eat only seven grams of marijuana flower or 2 grams of marijuana concentrate and potentially have a lethal reaction. On the other end, a 150-pound dog would need to have 1023 grams of marijuana flower or 256 grams of THC concentrate for a possible lethal dose.Can a dog overdose on edibles? ›
Poisoning in pets can occur following inhalation of the smoke, ingestion of the dried plant, ingestion of foods laced with marijuana (e.g., brownies, cookies, butter), or products made with hashish.How do you reduce toxicity in dogs? ›
- Upgrade Your Dog's & Cat's Food & Treats. ...
- Give Your Dog & Cat Filtered Water. ...
- Herbal Supplements for Your Pets. ...
- Be Mindful of Household Chemicals. ...
- Exercise Every Day with Your Pet. ...
- Improve Air Quality. ...
- Minimize Your Pet's Exposure to Outdoor Pollutants & Chemicals. ...
- Support Your Pet's Liver.
- Prevent your dog from eating or breathing in any more of the toxin.
- Phone your vet and take their advice.
- Gather up any packaging from the poison, or a sample if it's safe.
- Drive your dog to the vet, keeping them calm and cool on the journey.
- Show your vet the packaging or sample.
A professional may ask you to induce vomiting at home with hydrogen peroxide. For this reason, you should try to always keep an unopened, non-expired bottle of hydrogen peroxide in your home (old hydrogen peroxide will not usually work). You will give the hydrogen peroxide to your dog by mouth.
Your dog may vomit after eating something harmful, but it's more likely that symptoms will take a couple of days to develop (depending on what they has eaten). Contact your vet immediately for an emergency appointment if you think that your dog may have eaten something harmful.How long does it take for a dog to react to toxic food? ›
Symptoms typically develop within 12-24 hours after ingestion of the contaminated food source. In severe cases, food poisoning can cause death. The most common symptoms of food poisoning in dogs include: Vomiting.How long after eating something bad will a dog react? ›
It's worth noting, the average amount of time that it takes for symptoms of poisoning to show up is three to four days. Although occasionally symptoms show up right away, some types of poison can take months to cause any damage.How does a dog act when they are poisoned? ›
Clinical signs of poisoning in a dog may include: Gastrointestinal signs: vomiting, diarrhea, extreme salivation, loss of appetite, and nausea or dry heaving. Internal bleeding: indicated by pale gums, a racing heart, coughing up or vomiting blood, weakness or lethargy, or a dog's falling over or collapsing.Can a dog recover from poisoning on its own? ›
Typically, mild cases of poisoning have high recovery rates. In severe poisoning cases or cases where treatment was delayed the chance of recovery is extremely low. When pets do recover from severe poisoning there can also be long-term damage to their overall health.How long does it take for a toxin to get out of a dog's system? ›
Depending on the type of poisoning, dogs may take weeks or months to recuperate, and some dogs may have permanent organ damage after recovery.Can dogs recover from food poisoning on their own? ›
Chances are good that your dog can recover easily on his own once the food poisoning is purged from their system, but if they repeatedly vomit or don't show signs of recovery after 24 hours, you should bring your dog in to see your veterinarian.What to do if your dog eats something they shouldn t? ›
Ibuprofen, Naproxen, or other anti-inflammatories can cause these symptoms:
- GI ulcers.
- Kidney failure.
The human body digests food in around six to eight hours. In this time, food passes from the stomach to the small intestine. But dogs digest food at a slower rate, taking around eight to ten hours, on average.How do you flush chocolate out of a dog's system? ›
If your dog ate chocolate within an hour, get him to vomit. Use 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. Mix it 1:1 with water. Use 1 teaspoon per 5 pounds of the dog's body weight.
If your dog eats enough chocolate, it can become really sick and even die. Chocolate poisoning in dogs and pets is not that uncommon. In 2020, the Animal Poison Control Center's helpline reported handling 76 cases of “chocolate exposure” every day. Chocolate ranked fourth among the APCC's latest list of top pet toxins.