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What happens if my dog eats a chocolate donut?

We care deeply about our dogs, so we want to spoil them. Many of us do it by purchasing the very best fresh dog foods. Some do it by supplementing conventional dog food with great treats. Yet others pamper their dogs by feeding them whatever foods they eat, as if their dogs were people, too.

The trouble is that dogs are not people, and they cannot eat the same things that people do. Many foods that people eat are poisonous to dogs. These foods can make your dog sick and even kill her. For instance, let’s look at what could happen if your dog were to eat a chocolate donut.

What happens if my dog eats a chocolate donut?

Donuts are not good for us, and they are even worse for our dogs. Neither people nor dogs benefit from all the ingredients that compose donuts. They may be delicious but eating too many may cause dental issues, obesity, and diabetes in both humans and dogs, along with other illnesses that are common consequences of diabetes, like organ damage, heart disease, and joint disease. Too large a portion could even kill your dog. Let me explain.

Donuts contain ingredients that are unhealthy for your dog.

To be clear, a regular plain donut made with sugar shouldn’t hurt your dog if she accidentally eats just one, but again, too much of a good thing turns it into a bad thing — and sometimes, it’s hard to eat just one donut. Donuts are made of flour (wheat), yeast, sugar, salt, egg, milk, butter, water, and oil.

Raw wheat (flour) is dangerous to dogs, but after it’s fully cooked, it’s safe. About yeast, it’s fine for her to eat yeast products, like breads, once they are cooked, but never let her get ahold of yeast bread dough and eat it, as it would swell in her stomach, causing her a terrible tummy ache. Also, fermenting yeast dough creates alcohol, and this can give your dog alcohol poisoning.

Sugar, to reiterate, can cause your dog to have dental problems, obesity, diabetes, and other illnesses, which are common products of diabetes. Raw eggs (as well as raw meat) contain bacteria that can make your dog very ill. Some fish contain parasites that cause diseases with bad side effects.

Milk, butter, and oil can give your dog a stomachache, and they, in large doses, especially when mixed with sugar, can cause your dog to develop pancreatitis, an extremely painful and sometimes fatal disease, but when you really have an emergency on your hands is when your dog eats a donut that is made with ingredients that have the potential to be toxic to your dog.

Donuts also have the potential to contain ingredients that are toxic to your dog.

Chocolate and Caffeine (Coffee-Flavored Donuts and Pastries)

Chocolate is so dangerous for dogs because of the methylxanthines (theobromine and caffeine) it contains. Dogs don’t need caffeine for any reason, because alone, it is potentially fatal. However, theobromine is what’s truly dangerous. If your dog ingests too much theobromine relative to her body weight, it can become toxic.

Humans metabolize methylxanthines much more quickly than dogs. The rush humans get from a chocolate treat lasts roughly half an hour, but in a dog, half of the theobromine ingested is still present in the system after 17 hours. While unsweetened baking chocolate and cocoa powder have the most theobromine, the lighter chocolates like white and milk chocolates have the least.

The symptoms of methylxanthine toxicity are vomiting and diarrhea, and this is for even just tiny amounts. Amounts that are truly toxic can cause a rapid heart rate, tremors, hyperactivity, hypertension, seizures, respiratory failure, cardiac arrest, and possibly death.


While dogs can eat some nuts, like peanuts, without getting sick, nuts like macadamia nuts and walnuts should never be fed to your dog. Your dog can show side effects like shaking muscles, high temperature, vomiting, and weakness in her back legs.


Xylitol can be found in products like gum, candy, baked goods, diet foods, toothpaste, and yes, donuts. It performs like insulin in your dog’s body, lowering her glucose (blood sugar) below the normal level. This can be dangerous for dogs because low glucose starves the brain and depletes energy.

Xylitol toxicity can also cause liver failure. Some symptoms of xylitol toxicity are lack of coordination, lethargy, vomiting, and seizures. Xylitol can also be found in many “people” medicines, especially acetaminophen and ibuprofen, and these two medicines are potentially deadly to dogs.

Grapes and Raisins

Grapes and raisins are a potential cause of kidney failure in dogs. An early sign to look for is your dog vomiting repeatedly. Then, within 24 hours, she would become depressed and sluggish.


One of the reasons people become so addicted to sweets is the contrasting taste of sweet plus salty. You should also think about this when pondering on whether to feed your dog donuts because salt is toxic to dogs. It makes dogs extremely thirsty.

Then, they urinate a lot, leading to sodium poisoning, the symptoms of which are diarrhea, vomiting, high temperature, tremors, depression, seizures, and possibly death.

How much chocolate donut is too much for a dog?

While plain donuts not containing salt or xylitol are not toxic to a dog, chocolate donuts certainly possess the potential to be toxic, even deadly to her. There are three factors to take into consideration when deciding the chances that your dog is toxic. You must know how much your dog weighs, how much chocolate she ate, and what type of chocolate it was, and here’s why.

The same 75-lb dog may be poisoned by 1.5 oz of unsweetened Baker’s chocolate but only get sick with vomiting and diarrhea from 12 oz of milk chocolate. If you remember, the darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains, so it takes less of the same amount of a darker chocolate than it does of a lighter chocolate to cause a dog’s toxicity.

PetMD offers this toxicity meter to help you figure out how ill your dog may be.

What to do if my dog eats a chocolate donut?

If you have reason to think your dog may be toxic, contact help immediately. The earlier you treat, the easier it will be on your dog. Get prepared now so that you don’t have to run around like an idiot in an emergency.

Post the number to your family veterinarian on your refrigerator along with the number to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, maybe the number to the local emergency vet clinic, in case you can’t get ahold of your vet when you need him.

Don’t wait around to “see how she does.” Taking her for treatment early on could mean the difference between simply inducing vomiting and having to have her stomach pumped and then, give her fluids and medicines intravenously.

How can I prevent my dog from eating things she shouldn’t?

Dogs don’t have hands and opposing thumbs as humans do, so they use their mouths with their paws. This means they chew — a lot, on a lot of stuff. They love to eat, food that’s good for them, food that’s bad for them — almost any food, and often, they eat things they shouldn’t. What I mean is that they eat things besides food.

How can you prevent her from eating food that she shouldn’t?

Dogs like to eat stuff just as we do, only they have no inhibitions. They will eat and eat and eat until they get so sick that they can’t eat anymore, and this can be very dangerous when they get ahold of things that are toxic to dogs. Dogs have taste buds, too, and when something tastes good to them, they go all in.

The only way to keep dogs from eating foods that are bad for them is to keep these foods away from them. Do not feed your dog these foods. Do not keep these foods where your dog can get into them. Keep your garbage where she cannot get into it. Our dogs depend on us to keep them safe.

How can you prevent her from eating other things that she shouldn’t?

When dogs are always eating things besides food, that’s actually a disease that’s found in both children and dogs. It’s called Pica. Let’s look into the facts of Pica and figure out how to prevent your dog from eating things she shouldn’t.

What is Pica?

Pica, no matter the cause, is a health condition that’s characterized by ingesting non-food items such as plastic, cloth, metal, wood, paper, rocks, dirt, grass, garbage, or even feces. While it’s normally a psychological behavior problem, a compulsion, for dogs, but sometimes, it stems from underlying medical problems or issues like poor nutrition.

Why is Pica so dangerous?

Pica is terribly dangerous because dogs with Pica will eat almost anything — chewed pieces of kids’ toys, pieces of metal, and more. These types of things can wreak havoc inside her intestines, causing blockages or rips and tears that can be deadly.

What are the symptoms of Pica?

If you catch your dog eating non-food items, she has Pica, but it’s usually not that easy because dogs often eat these items in secret. Therefore, the first signs you see could be vomiting and diarrhea. You may also notice a lack of appetite and some lethargy. A positive indication will be when you see these non-food items in their feces.

What causes Pica?

Your dog may start out “stress eating” and end up with Pica. Pica can be the result of a nutritional imbalance or any one of a number of diseases such as diabetes, thyroid disease, and liver disease. Anemia or gastrointestinal parasites can also cause Pica. Medications that dogs take, like steroids, can cause Pica, too.

What is the treatment for Pica?

The treatment used for Pica depends upon the cause. 

Keep “detrimental” favorites out of reach.

You should keep non-food items that your dog has come to enjoy out of her reach, so she has no access to them.

Try a new type of dog food.

If your dog’s Pica was caused by a nutritional deficiency, you may need to try using fresh dog foods. There are some great brands out nowadays.

Provide exercise.

For causes like separation anxiety, you need to make sure you do plenty to work off your dog’s excess energy. 

Provide training.

With almost any cause, training can never really hurt and almost always helps.

Try medications.

Medications are on the market that help some dogs with Pica. Try dog-appeasing pheromones first. Then, if those don’t work, try Adaptil (clomipramine hydrochloride) or Reconcile (fluoxetine hydrochloride).