You’ve probably heard that chocolate is toxic to dogs. It’s true that chocolate is toxic to dogs, and can cause serious health problems or even death. However, the effects on your dog will depend on the type of chocolate consumed, how much they ate, and the size of your dog.
What happens if a dog eats a chocolate cupcake?
Unfortunately, a chocolate cupcake poses a serious risk to your dog. They are usually made with cocoa powder or bakers’ chocolate. These have the highest concentration of theobromine, which makes it very dangerous for your pooch.
Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine. Theobromine is the chemical in chocolate that gives you a mood boost when you eat it. It has health and mood benefits for humans, but the same isn’t true for dogs. Dogs can’t break down the chemical the way humans do, which can cause toxic effects.
Types of Chocolate
How dangerous a particular type of chocolate is varies based on the theobromine content. Cocoa powder, baker’s chocolate, and dark chocolate have the highest concentrations, with 130-450 mg of theobromine per ounce.
Milk chocolate poses less of a risk, with 44-58 mg theobromine per ounce. White chocolate poses little risk, with less than 1 mg of theobromine per ounce.
How Much is Too Much?
It’s best for your dog to have no chocolate at all. You should never feed your dog any type of chocolate or baked goods containing chocolate. However, small amounts of chocolate usually aren’t harmful.
A medium sized dog that weighs 50 pounds would need to ingest 1 ounce of dark or baker’s chocolate to develop chocolate poisoning. It would require 9 oz of milk chocolate to cause a problem. A regular Hershey’s bar is approximately 1.5 ounces.
However, small dogs range from 2-22 pounds. An small dog weighing 10 pounds would only need to ingest 0.2 ounces of dark chocolate.
How Much Chocolate is in a Chocolate Cupcake?
The amount of chocolate in a cupcake varies greatly from one recipe to the next. One recipe calls for 5 ounces of bitter baking chocolate, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, and 4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate. At these high amounts, one cupcake contains enough chocolate to be dangerous for a medium sized dog. A large dog would require careful monitoring, and a small dog would likely need immediate veterinary care.
Are cupcakes dangerous for dogs?
Cupcakes aren’t inherently dangerous for your dog, as long as they don’t contain ingredients that are toxic to your dog. However, they are not good for them. The high sugar content can cause problems if your dog eats them regularly. Just like humans, dogs need a balanced diet with limited empty calories.
However, there are some ingredients, other than chocolate, that can make cupcakes dangerous for your dog.
Citrus flavored cupcakes, including lemon and orange, can pose a danger for your dog. Large amounts of citric acid can cause stomach irritation and nervous system depression.
A lemon cupcake isn’t likely to pose a serious danger to your dog, because of the small amount of citric acid it contains. However, it can cause mild stomach upset.
Grapes and Raisins
Raisins might seem like a way to slip a little health into your frosted treat. However, they are dangerous for dogs. Scientists don’t know why grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs, but they can cause kidney failure. Pet owners are advised never to feed them to their dog.
Macadamia nuts pose a danger to your pet. They can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, and tremors. Other types of nuts aren’t toxic to your dog. However, they contain a high fat content that can cause stomach upset.
Milk is a common cupcake ingredient. It isn’t toxic to your dog. However, they have less of the lactase enzyme, the enzyme that breaks down dairy. This is similar to lactose intolerance in humans. It won’t cause serious harm, but it can cause digestive upset.
Xylitol is a sugar substitute. It’s most commonly found in sugar-free gum. However, it is sometimes used in baking as well. It’s very dangerous for dogs.
It causes an insulin release. Insulin is used by the body to regulate glucose levels. Too much insulin causes hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.
Xylitol can cause vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. Severe symptoms include seizures. It can cause elevated liver enzymes and liver failure.
What to do if my dog eats a chocolate cupcake?
If your dog ate a chocolate cupcake, it’s important not to panic. Depending on the size of your dog and the amount of chocolate, it could be a medical emergency. However, many dogs are fine after consuming chocolate.
The first thing you’ll want to do is remove any remaining chocolate cupcakes so your dog can’t ingest more. The smell and taste can be very tempting for your dog, so avoid leaving them within reach or tossing them in a trash can where your dog can get to them.
Estimate the Amount of Chocolate Consumed
Next, take stock of how much chocolate your dog ate. You’ll need to consider how many cupcakes your dog ate, and how much chocolate they contained. If they are homemade cupcakes, check the recipe to determine how much chocolate is in each cupcake. To do this, you’ll divide the amount of chocolate by 12 for one dozen cupcakes.
If they are store bought or made from a cake mix, you won’t know how much chocolate they contain. If you made the cupcakes yourself, you may be too anxious to determine exactly how much chocolate is in each cupcake. That’s ok. Just determine the number of cupcakes your dog ate.
You are going to be stressed and worried. It seems easy to remember details like the amount of cupcakes your dog ate and the time they ate them. However, as you monitor your dog for symptoms or bring them in for treatment, these details can be forgotten.
You’ll need to write the details down. This includes the time your dog ate the cupcake, how many cupcakes your dog consumed, the amount of chocolate if known, and the type of chocolate they contained if known.
If you choose to monitor your dog, you’ll know when symptoms should appear and when they are in the clear. If you bring your dog to the vet, you’ll be able to provide them with the information they need for the best treatment.
Call Vet or Pet Poison Helpline
Now that you have all the information you can gather about the incident, it’s best to call your vet for advice on how to proceed. You can also call the pet poison helpline at 855-213-6680. Expect them to ask you questions, and have your documented information within reach.
They can tell you whether you need to bring your dog in for treatment or monitor them at home.
If you have a larger dog or they only consumed a small amount of cupcake, you may choose to monitor your dog at home without seeking veterinary advice.
Monitoring Your Pet at Home
To monitor your pet at home, you’ll simply keep a watchful eye for symptoms of chocolate poisoning. Vomiting, diarrhea, and increased thirst are the most common symptoms. Your dog may also act restless or nervous. If you notice any of these signs, seek immediate veterinary care.
Your vet may advise you to induce vomiting. It’s also something you can choose to do on your own, if you are concerned about the amount of chocolate your dog ingested.
The sooner your dog vomits, the better the outcome will be. If the chocolate comes back up quickly, little will be absorbed into the system.
Do not induce vomiting if your dog is showing symptoms of poisoning, has health issues, or is already sick. In these cases, you’ll need to seek veterinary care.
To induce vomiting, you’ll need a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. Administer 1 to 2 teaspoons for every 10 pounds of body weight. If your dog is under 10 pounds, 1-2 teaspoons is adequate. A 50 pound dog would need 5-10 teaspoons.
You’ll need to squirt the solution onto the back of your dog’s tongue. You can do this with a medicine dropper, syringe without a needle, or a turkey baster. You may need someone else to hold your dog still while you administer the solution.
It should induce vomiting within 5-10 minutes. If it doesn’t, you can perform the process again. The solution should not be administered more than two times.
After you induce vomiting, monitor your dog for signs of poisoning. Vomiting should slow or stop quickly from the hydrogen peroxide. If it continues, or your dog has other symptoms, seek veterinary care.
If your dog ate a large amount of chocolate cupcake or they are a small breed, it’s best to seek veterinary care immediately. If your dog has heart problems or other serious health conditions, they also need treatment. You should also bring your dog in for treatment if it’s recommended by your vet.
If your dog shows signs of chocolate poisoning, don’t attempt treatment at home. Bring them to the vet. If it’s been less than two hours since your dog ate the cupcake, your vet will likely induce vomiting. They may also give activated charcoal, which helps remove toxins from the body.
If it’s been longer than two hours, treatment will focus on supportive care. They may be given an IV and medication to control symptoms until they subside.
What are the signs of poisoning from chocolate?
The signs of chocolate poisoning will vary depending on the type of chocolate eaten and the amount. The most common signs of poisoning from chocolate include vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, excessive urination, and racing heart rate.
Many owners also notice behavioral changes including panting or restlessness. In severe cases, chocolate poisoning can be life threatening. Severe symptoms include muscle tremors, seizures, and heart failure.
Older dogs and dogs with heart conditions are at a higher risk of dying from chocolate poisoning. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning usually begin to show within 6-12 hours.