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What happens if a dog eats fudge?

Dogs should never eat fudge or any kind of chocolate.  There are different kinds of fudge, but most fudge is made of chocolate, which is toxic, or poisonous for dogs. It will make them sick and it can be fatal in some cases.

There are some other kinds of fudge that may not contain chocolate, but those are also heavy in sugar and fat, and that is not good for your dog either. The type or strength of the chocolate, and the size of the dog, make a big difference to how harmful it can be for your dog. While it is true a small amount won’t kill your dog, it will make them sick. 

Can dogs eat fudge?

Chocolate has caffeine and theobromine, both of which are very bad. Dogs have trouble digesting both of those chemicals, and they affect dogs a lot more than they do humans. Different kinds of chocolate are used in fudge. Dark chocolate has more theobromine and caffeine, so it is much worse than milk chocolate, for example. 

Dogs can’t metabolize caffeine and theobromine. In essence, dogs re-absorb the chemicals in their system. This means the effects repeat themselves. An ounce of theobromine will become like two ounces as it goes through their digestive system. 

Humans can drink a little caffeine and it is basically a good thing. For dogs, the caffeine is much stronger and affects them a lot more.

Imagine, instead of drinking one cup of coffee, you had 10-15. That is how caffeine affects dogs. It is much stronger for them. Theobromine is worse than caffeine for dogs and does many of the same things.  When dogs eat chocolate, they get two kinds of poison that actually increase in their body after they ingest it.

Fudge is also heavily laden with sugar and fatty materials which are also bad for your dog. They also have trouble digesting sugar and fat, and it can contribute to them getting overweight.

It can cause long-term health issues as well. Sugar is bad for your dog’s teeth, and with dogs, teeth cannot be replaced. Some breeds of dogs have more difficulty with sugar and fat than other breeds, but it is not good for any of them.  

Dogs will eat fudge if given the chance because it smells good and tastes good. Even so, it is toxic for them, and there is nothing about fudge that is good for your dog in any way.

What happens if a dog eats fudge?

The best possible outcome from a dog eating fudge is that they will get an upset stomach. In some cases, the chocolate in fudge can be fatal if not treated in time.

It may take several hours for symptoms to appear, and when they do, they may last for days. A lot depends on how much was eaten and the size of the dog. Obviously, a 15-pound dog would be much more affected by an ounce of fudge than an 80-pound dog would be.

When a dog has chocolate, it will get an upset stomach at first. They will likely vomit or get diarrhea, or both. Their heart will beat a lot faster and it could cause heart failure in extreme cases.

The most common symptoms:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • panting
  • restlessness
  • racing heart rate
  • excessive panting
  • excessive thirst
  • excessive coughing

In extreme cases, more serious symptoms:

  • seizures
  • heart failure
  • muscle tremors
  • pneumonia

Even a small amount will cause stomach problems. If it was just a small amount, your dog might just throw up, and that is all that would happen. So even giving your dog a little is not good for your dog. It will cause a stomach ache at a minimum. If this happens a lot, there can be long-term health effects, and it will ultimately shorten the life of your dog.

If they ate a lot of fudge, or if it was particularly strong chocolate, more serious health issues would surface. The theobromine is reabsorbed through the bladder, which gives them a double dose of the poison. The poison increases in strength after it is ingested, and this makes fast treatment even more important. It also stays in the bloodstream for a long time, so symptoms can linger for several days. 

What to do if my dog eats fudge?

If you discover your dog has eaten fudge or any kind of chocolate, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Most veterinarians have after-hours phone numbers to call.

There is also a pet poison hotline where you can get advice. The veterinarian will ask you some questions and help determine whether treatment is needed.  You may need to take your dog to the veterinarian immediately.

If you have a large dog and only a little is eaten, no treatment may be needed. They will still likely get sick though and will vomit. If it was a lot, the sooner you start treatment the better. Terms like “a little,” or “a lot” is relative and a bit subjective.

This is why you need to talk to your veterinarian. Tell your vet the size and weight of your dog, and the type and amount of chocolate eaten.

You may need to take your dog to the vet, or to an emergency animal clinic. Vomiting may be induced to help remove the poisonous material.

Doctors may start using intravenous fluids to help flush out the poison. The dog may also be given activated charcoal that will help absorb the poison. If it is not a serious case, you may be advised to take the dog for a lot of short walks to encourage urination.

When you call your veterinarian, give them all the details as far as the amount was eaten and information about your dog. A veterinarian can usually determine from that information what treatment is needed.

Even if the vet does not advise you to bring the dog in, you will need to keep a close eye on the dog for several hours. Watch their behavior closely to see if serious symptoms are starting to develop. Your vet may tell you to bring the dog in if the dog gets any worse. Your vet will tell you what to look for to determine if the animal is getting worse. You may need to let your dog out more often for several hours as they are likely to get some diarrhea or have the need to vomit.  

In most cases, eating fudge is not fatal. This is partly due to the repeated warnings not to give your dog chocolate. Most people know not to let them have chocolate intentionally. It is up to dog owners to be responsible and keep it out of the reach of the dog. 

But no matter how careful you are, your dog may find a way to get his mouth on some fudge. At least don’t let them have it intentionally.  Dogs don’t know what is toxic. If given the chance, they will probably eat fudge on their own.

How much fudge is too much for dogs?

Most veterinarians would say that any amount of fudge is too much for a dog to eat. There is nothing good for a dog in fudge, and there is a lot that can be harmful to your pet. 

In general, 20mg of theobromine for every two pounds of dog, can cause some kind of sickness. When they get 40-50 mg of theobromine, per two pounds of dog, severe symptoms will start to appear. A 20-pound dog will get sick when he has 400mg of theobromine.  If your dog has 800mg, serious symptoms will happen, and more than that can be fatal. Caffeine is similar but not as drastic.

Here is how much theobromine chocolates have.

  • 1 cup unsweetened dry cocoa powder – 2266mg
  • 1 cup baking chocolate (often used in fudge) – 1712mg
  • One ounce baking chocolate (often used in fudge) 450 mg
  • One bar of dark chocolate – 800mg
  • 1.5 ounces chocolate pudding – 190mg

Your dog may see you eating fudge, and act as if he wants some too. Dogs often try to get us to give them a little of what we are eating. Keep in mind though, that fudge is poison to your dog. You are not being good to your dogs if you give them any at all. You can keep some other kind of treat handy and give it to them. They will likely not really know the difference. 

There is a substance called Karob that looks like chocolate but has no chocolate in it. Some producers of gourmet dog treats use Karob in their products. It’s OK to give your dog these types of treats. Just make sure you don’t mix them up with real chocolate.

Can dogs eat chocolate fudge?

The answer to this question is an emphatic “no.”  Dogs are capable of eating fudge, so they “can” in that sense, but it is very bad for them and they should never ingest this food.  It is not that it is just “not good” for your dog. Fudge is “not good” for people either, but eating some will not hurt a person so long as too much is not eaten.

It is actually harmful to dogs and could kill them or make their lives shorter. Some treats are good for your dog, and some are not. Fudge is definitely one that is not. Chocolate is toxic. The sugar and fat are not toxic but can contribute to health issues later on in the dog’s life.

Studies have shown that repeated use of even small amounts of theobromine that does not cause much sickness is still bad for your dog. Repeated exposure to even small amounts of theobromine can weaken heart muscles over a long period of time. That could cause your dog to have heart failure when she is older.

This is why dogs should never eat fudge. It can be poisonous, and will make your dog sick in the short term, and can cause heart problems that will shorten your dog’s life in the long term.

Can dogs eat caramel fudge?

Caramel fudge may still contain chocolate, so all the warnings about chocolate for your dog still apply. Some do not have chocolate, but still have caffeine, sugar, and fat, which are not healthy for your pet. It is not as bad as chocolate fudge but is still not good for them, and most veterinarians would advise against it.

Can dogs eat white fudge?

White fudge very likely does not have chocolate, but it is still bad for your dog. You should not let your dog have white fudge. The fatty content can cause an upset stomach. Eating fatty materials over a long period of time can also cause pancreatitis in dogs, and that can also be fatal in some cases. Veterinarians advise against giving any kind of sweets to dogs.