If you have a medium to large-sized dog, eating a single Hershey Kiss probably won’t have much of an effect. It may give them an upset stomach.
It could make a small dog sicker because it would be bigger for them. Even so, chocolate is poison for dogs and they should never eat chocolate in any form.
Even watered-down milk chocolate can have long-term negative health effects on your pet, and shorten his life.
What happens if my dog eats a Hershey kiss?
Depending on how many they eat, and the size of the dog, a Hershey Kiss is likely to give your dog stomach problems.
These candies are made of milk chocolate, and that is not as bad as dark chocolate would be. In some cases, chocolate can be fatal to dogs, but it is not likely they will die from eating milk chocolate. Still, it will make them sick and it is very bad for them.
Chocolate has a chemical called theobromine, as well as caffeine. Dogs have a hard time digesting or metabolizing either of these substances. The caffeine is not good, but theobromine is much worse and the more toxic of the two substances. Because it is hard to digest, it ends up being doubled once inside the dog’s system.
At the very minimum, a Hershey Kiss will give your dog a stomach ache. Milk chocolate can make them vomit it back up, or give them diarrhea. It will make their heartbeat much faster. Caffeine has the effect of speeding up the heart in humans, and that is taken to the extreme in dogs.
A single one may not be enough to make your dog really sick, and it may not have any noticeable effect on a big dog. Still, it does have an effect. Studies have also shown that repeated exposure to theobromine can weaken the heart muscles over a long period of time. That can cause heart failure when they get older.
In reality, chocolate is not “good for” humans either, but it is not harmful. You could even argue that a little chocolate is good for your mental health. Some snacks are not necessarily good for you, but they are not really harmful either. It is the same with dogs.
Some snacks may not be all that nutritious, but they cause no harm. Crackers or small pieces of bread would fit into this category. Some snacks, however, are actually harmful and can eventually kill your pet. Chocolate is one of those harmful snacks.
Why can’t dogs eat chocolate?
Dogs can’t, or at least should not, eat chocolate because it is poison to them. Animals and humans react differently to various substances. While caffeine can give us humans a little boost, it is shocking to the dog’s system. Theobromine has little, if any, effect on humans, but that is multiplied greatly when the substance is inside your dog.
While a human’s heart may beat a couple more times a minute from chocolate, the heart rate may be doubled, or even more in a dog. Theobromine is also re-absorbed into the bladder and goes through the system again. Dogs get the effect of having twice as much of the chemical as a result.
Chocolate will cause stomach problems immediately and there are other long-term bad effects.
Theobromine and caffeine are bad enough, but there is also the problem of fat and sugar. The fat and sugar are what make chocolate taste good, but both of those things are bad for dogs for different reasons. The fat is also hard to digest and can contribute to your dog getting overweight. Some breeds have more trouble with fat than other dogs.
Sugar is bad for your dog’s teeth as well, and there is no way to repair or replace teeth in dogs. If they wear out, your dog will simply not be able to eat. Long-term exposure to fat can also cause pancreatitis as well as kidney problems.
The bottom line is, chocolate is toxic, or poison, for your dog. It is up to us humans to make sure our pets don’t get into things they should not. Chocolate would smell good to a dog and would taste good just as it does to us. A dog cannot read the label and does not know it is poison.
Of course, you should not give your dog chocolate in any form, not even mild milk chocolate. It is not doing them any favors. Extra care is needed, however, to make sure your pet does not get any chocolate by accident. Don’t leave it in sight or in easy reach. During the holidays don’t leave boxes containing chocolate under the tree or where they could be reached by your dog.
What to do if my dog eats a Hershey kiss?
You should never intentionally give your dog a Hershey kiss. If they get one in some way, or if they have eaten several, contact a veterinarian or dog poison hotline as soon as possible. Tell them the breed and size of your dog, and how much and what kind of chocolate was eaten. With that, a veterinarian can give you some directions as far as what to do.
If your dog ate only one Hershey Kiss, your vet may tell you to watch the dog for symptoms. You may need to walk the dog more to encourage urination, which will help flush the poison out of the dog’s system. Also, watch for vomiting and diarrhea, which often happen when dogs eat chocolate. If the dog had only one or two, there will be smaller repercussions.
If it ate a lot though, 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.
If your dog ate a whole bag of Hershey Kisses, your dog may need more extensive treatment. Milk chocolate is the least harmful chocolate, but it can add up and eventually be just as dangerous as dark chocolate.
How much Hershey chocolate is too much for a dog?
All veterinarians would say that any chocolate at all is too much for dogs. They should never eat it because it is toxic to them. While a single Hershey Kiss may not have any noticeable effect on a big dog, it is still very bad for them and still causes problems. Over the long term, chocolate can cause a lot of serious health issues and will shorten the life of your dog.
Hershey kisses do not have a lot of theobromine, so one is not likely to hurt your pet. Several of them could cause serious harm, and even a small amount over time will have bad health consequences for your dog.
In general, 10mgs of theobromine per pound of dog will cause symptoms to start. Twice that much will cause severe symptoms.
- A 10-pound dog would have serious symptoms if it ate four ounces of milk chocolate, 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate, or half an ounce of baking chocolate.
- A 25-pound dog will get serious symptoms after eating 10 ounces of milk chocolate, 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate, or 1.2 ounces of baking chocolate.
- A 50-pound dog would need to eat 20 ounces of milk chocolate, seven ounces of dark chocolate or 2.3 ounces of baking chocolate to have serious symptoms.
A handful (1.4 ounces) of Hershey kisses has about 65 mg of theobromine. That would not be fatal for any dog. It could be enough to make a small dog sick and upset the stomach of a middle-sized dog. Most milk chocolate-type candy bars fall into this area of danger for a dog. A Reeces Peanut Butter Cup, for instance, has 50mg of theobromine.
Keep in mind that the theobromine is essentially doubled once inside your dog because of how it is absorbed by the bladder. This means the 65 mg in 1.4 ounces of Hershey kisses is like 2.8 ounces after it is eaten. Theobromine also stays in the bloodstream for a long time for dogs. If they had a little every day or two, that would add up to where they would have a lot of the chemical in their body over several days.
While milk chocolate is the least harmful to your pet, it is still harmful. There are studies that have shown long term consumption of even small amounts of theobromine can cause serious heart problems. Milk chocolate usually has less than 100 mg of theobromine.
The highest levels of toxicity in chocolate
- 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
What are the symptoms of chocolate poisoning in a dog?
The most common symptom of chocolate poisoning is vomiting or loose stools. Dogs have very strong stomachs and can eat about anything, but when something does upset their stomach, this is the normal outcome. If that is all that happens to your dog, you are lucky. The more dangerous symptoms are an increased heart rate, which in extreme cases can cause heart failure.
The occasional vomit by a dog is not something to worry about, but if it seems like it is a lot of vomit, you should be concerned. If it is repeated, that indicates there is a problem. If you see this, or diarrhea that seems excessive, you should call your veterinarian to see if treatment is needed. If you see these and other symptoms, look around for evidence that they have found some chocolate. An empty wrapper, for instance, is a great indicator of what has happened.
The most common symptoms:
- Increase in body temperature
- panting or rapid breathing
- Increase reflex or twitching
- racing heart rate
- low blood pressure
- excessive panting
- excessive thirst
- excessive coughing
In extreme cases, more serious symptoms:
- heart failure
- muscle tremors
Symptoms can be caused by many things. One thing to look for is any departure from normal. If they are doing something they do not normally do, such as lying around a lot more than usual, it is a good idea to check things out. If you know the dog has consumed some chocolate, watch for symptoms. If it is milk chocolate, you might be better off just waiting for symptoms, depending on how much has been eaten. if it was a stronger level of chocolate, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.