A few Christmases ago, my pug ate an entire box of chocolates that was wrapped and left under the Christmas tree. He even ate some of the candy wrappers in his festive chocolate orgy! Needless to say he was incredibly ill for hours (and there was a lot of mopping the floor) but he slowly recovered. I’m sure he learned nothing from this experience, and would do it all over again given the chance – but we’ve learned not to leave anything that vaguely smells like snacks at ground level!
If there’s one thing that’ll make any dog owner panic, it’s catching your pup in the midst of consuming chocolate – and pug owners aren’t an exception to this. While chocolate is toxic to any dog, it’s especially troubling for smaller breeds, like pugs that don’t weigh as much.
So, what should I do if my pug eats chocolate? If you do catch your pug eating chocolate, keep reading for an in-depth look at how much chocolate can kill a pug and how to treat your pug at home after eating chocolate.
What Do I Do If My Pug Eats Chocolate?
Chocolate bars may taste delicious to both humans and dogs, but they’re also chock-full of theobromine, which is toxic to all dogs. Dogs, including pugs, cannot metabolize or break down theobromine when they ingest it, and if they eat enough of it, it can begin to affect their guts, kidneys, heart, and central nervous system.
It is called chocolate poisoning, and its effects can vary based on how much your pug has eaten. In mild cases, chocolate poisoning might result in vomiting and diarrhea, but in more severe cases where it’s left untreated, chocolate can actually kill your pug.
How Much Chocolate Can Kill a Pug?
The most significant indicator of how severe your pug’s case of chocolate poisoning depends on how much chocolatey-goodness they’ve consumed. Unfortunately, pugs’ small size does put them at a disadvantage – it takes less chocolate to kill a pug than it would a mastiff or a Cane Corso.
Keep in mind that the type of chocolate plays a role too. Cocoa powder and dark chocolate can kill your pugs in smaller amounts because they naturally contain more theobromine. However, if your pug consumes milk chocolate, it may take a more considerable amount for the dose to be fatal.
According to research, it can take as little as two ounces of dark chocolate to begin causing intestinal problems in pugs and around three ounces of milk chocolate. Fatalities can occur if your pug has consumed more than 0.5 ounces of chocolate per pound of body weight. So, if a 16-pound pug managed to eat eight ounces of dark chocolate or milk chocolate, their chocolate poisoning could become fatal if it’s left untreated.
What Are the Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning in Pugs?
While some people may be lucky enough to catch their pugs in the act of eating chocolate and begin acting quickly, not all owners may have that luxury. In some cases, you may not realize your pug has eaten anything until hours later when they begin experiencing chocolate poisoning. For this reason, it’s essential to know what the symptoms of chocolate poisoning, especially the early symptoms, look like in dogs.
- Increased thirst
- Restlessness or panting
- Racing heart rate
- Excessive urination
Some of the more severe symptoms of chocolate poisoning include:
- Muscle tremors
- Heart failure
Keep in mind that you may not see the signs of chocolate poisoning until several hours after your pug has ingested the chocolate – sometimes up to twelve hours after the initial consumption. Noticing the signs early and getting your pug to the vet can mean the difference between life and death for some dogs.
How Can I Treat My Pug At Home After Eating Chocolate?
My pug ate chocolate – what now? Even if you’re not sure your pet has ingested chocolate, but you suspect it, here’s what you can do to treat your pup at home.
Call Your Vet
After finding out your pug has eaten chocolate, the first thing you should always do is to contact your vet or local animal hospital. Your vet will likely ask for details about how much your pug weighs, what kind of chocolate they’ve eaten, and how much.
From there, they’ll recommend a course of treatment. If your vet thinks the dose of chocolate could be fatal or lead to organ failure, you’ll need to bring your pug in for immediate medical treatment. Depending on how long ago your pug ate the chocolate, some vets may induce vomiting and give your pug activated charcoal, which helps get the toxins out of their body.
If you do need to bring your pug to the clinic, try bringing the chocolate wrapper with you. This way, your vet can get a much more exact idea of how much chocolate your dog has eaten – but also whether it’s milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or baker’s chocolate.
Monitor Your Dog’s Symptoms
If your dog has only ingested a small amount of chocolate, your vet may just recommend that you monitor your pug’s symptoms for the next several hours and call back if he starts showing severe symptoms.
Even in smaller amounts, it’s not unusual for your pug to have an upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea. You may see some of the milder symptoms of chocolate poisoning, but if your pug appears distressed, you’ll want to speak with your vet again.
What Should I Do If I’m Not Completely Sure Whether My Pug Has Eaten Chocolate?
In some cases, you may not be entirely sure whether your pug has ingested the chocolate. Maybe you’ve found an empty chocolate wrapper, or there’s a missing chocolate bar, but you don’t know if your pug is the culprit.
When this happens, you’ll still want to monitor your pug closely. If your pug begins showing signs of chocolate poisoning, you’ll want to immediately contact your vet or bring your pug into the clinic.
Final Word – What Should I Do If My Pug Eats Chocolate?
Discovering that your pug has eaten chocolate can induce panic in any dog owner, but it’s not always a life and death situation. While more significant amounts of chocolate can be toxic to pugs, eating a single crumb of chocolate cake may not be much cause for concern. So, what should I do if my pug eats chocolate? Either way, the best thing to do is consult your local vet, as they’ll be able to give you appropriate medical advice on your next steps.