My dog ate brownies – what should I do? If your dog has eaten brownies, you should contact your veterinarian. Don’t wait for symptoms to show – it’s best to move fast. Chocolate is toxic to dogs, particularly dark chocolate, which is most common in brownie recipes. Your vet will want to know about any symptoms, when your dog ate the brownies, and how many they ate. Brownies contain multiple ingredients that can harm dogs, so it’s important to act fast if you see your dog eating some.
What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Brownies?
If you know your dog has eaten brownies, you need to act fast, even if they are not showing symptoms of toxicity. First, remove any other brownies from your dog’s reach. Including any parts that they have started to eat and then left alone. The more they eat, the higher the risk of chocolate toxicity.
The next step is to call your veterinarian. If they are closed, contact your nearest emergency veterinarian. If possible, you will need to tell them how many brownies your dog has eaten, how long ago they ate them, and any other toxic ingredients that were in the recipe. You should also tell them how much chocolate the brownies contained and what type, if you know this too.
They will also want to know the breed, age, and size of your dog. All of this information will help them calculate your dog’s risk of toxicosis, and whether or not you can expect to see clinical signs.
Follow the advice your veterinarian gives you, as it will be tailored to your situation. If they only tell you to watch your dog over the next 24 hours, make sure you contact them immediately if you notice new symptoms. In some cases, they may require you to bring your dog in for emergency treatment.
Should I Make My Dog Throw Up?
You should not make your dog throw up unless your veterinarian has explicitly told you to. In some situations, it can be more dangerous to try and make your dog vomit. For instance, if too much time has passed since they ate brownies, or if they have a history of seizures.
Also, if your dog has only eaten a very small amount, making them throw up could do more harm than good. Your veterinarian is the best person for advice in this situation. If you’re unsure, ask them. They will be able to walk you through the safest way to make your dog vomit if it is necessary.
My Dog Ate Brownies – Will He Be OK?
If you act fast to contact the vet and get your dog help after they eat a brownie, they should be ok. In some cases, dogs might experience an upset stomach and diarrhea. But, in other cases, eating brownies can be fatal for dogs.
Brownies usually contain a number of problematic ingredients. Chocolate is highly toxic to dogs. But, some brownies may also include ingredients like xylitol and macadamia nuts, which are also toxic. A brownie that includes dark chocolate and other toxic ingredients will cause more harm than one with low levels of chocolate and no other problematic ingredients.
There are a lot of factors that will influence how sick your dog gets after eating brownies. This includes the amount they eat, the size of your dog, and how long you wait to contact the vet and provide treatment. Let’s take a closer look at the problematic ingredients in brownies, and what makes them so toxic.
Chocolate and Dogs
One of the most toxic ingredients in a brownie is chocolate. Most brownie recipes include melted dark chocolate. But, some will also include chunks of chocolate. The more chocolate a brownie contains, the more dangerous it is for your dog.
Chocolate contains high levels of sugar and milk, which certainly aren’t good for our dogs in large quantities. But, it is mainly problematic because of an ingredient called theobromine. Theobromine widens blood vessels. Dogs break down this chemical much slower than humans. So, it stays in their bodies for much longer than it would in ours.
Theobromine can interfere with your dog’s heart rate and nervous system. It can take as little as 20 mg of theobromine per kg of body weight for clinical signs to show in dogs. But, in larger doses, theobromine can be fatal. A 2021 study found that 50% of dogs died after consuming 100 – 200 mg theobromine per kg.
Theobromine levels are highest in dark chocolate. So, a very small amount of dark chocolate can cause signs of toxicosis. Brownies with dark chocolate in are the most dangerous for your dog. But, brownies with any type of chocolate in can cause problems.
Other Dangerous Ingredients in Brownies
Chocolate isn’t the only thing to be concerned about in brownies. Xylitol is a sweetener found in many commercial products. You may find it in store-bought brownies. But, xylitol can lead to liver failure in dogs, and in some cases can lead to death.
Brownies can also include added ingredients like macadamia nuts. Solid ingredients like this can be a choking hazard, but nuts are also problematic for our dogs. Macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs, so you should not let your dog near brownies with these in the recipe.
When Should I Call the Veterinarian?
If you know or suspect that your dog has eaten brownies, you should call the veterinarian straight away. If your normal veterinarian is not available, call your nearest emergency vet.
Time is of the essence in cases of toxicity in dogs. Signs of toxicity can show after only 60 minutes, but they might take up to 12 hours to show. So, just because your dog seems ok at the moment doesn’t mean they aren’t going to get sick. The sooner you can get your dog help, the better their chances are. And, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
If your dog hasn’t managed to eat much brownie, your vet may not need to see them. But, you should still call, particularly if your dog has eaten a lot, if the brownies contain lots of toxic ingredients, or if you notice signs of sickness. In milder cases, they will likely ask you to monitor your dog, and call back if you notice any changes.
Signs of Chocolate Toxicity
Symptoms of toxicosis in dogs can take anywhere between 1 and 12 hours to show. So, even if your veterinarian doesn’t think they need to see your dog, you should keep a close eye on them over the following 12 hours. If any of the following symptoms develop, call your veterinarian back, as they may decide they need to see your dog in person:
- Muscle stiffness
- Panting/heavy breathing
Even if your dog doesn’t show these symptoms after eating brownies, you should call your veterinarian. Let them know how much your dog has eaten and any other potentially harmful ingredients. And, keep a close eye on your dog’s behavior over the next 12 hours.
How Many Brownies Can My Dog Eat?
You should never let your dog eat brownies. Brownies usually contain melted dark chocolate, and this is the most toxic type of chocolate because it has the highest theobromine levels. Fatal levels of theobromine will vary depending on your dog’s breed and size. A fatal dose is much smaller for miniature breeds, but it can take a surprisingly small amount to harm large dogs, too.
You might see brownies in the store that don’t contain dark chocolate. But, many brownie recipes will substitute these ingredients for others that can be equally harmful to our pets, such as xylitol.
In all, it’s best to avoid brownies altogether. You should never feed them to your dog, and always keep them out of reach.
How to Stop Your Dog Eating Brownies in the Future
Brownies contain toxic ingredients for our dogs, so it’s important to keep them stored out of reach. Keep your brownies in an airtight container that your dog won’t be able to get into if it accidentally falls within reach. But, also place this high up, rather than just on the counter.
This way, your dog won’t be able to reach it to bring it down to the floor. Leaving brownies uncovered and within your dog’s reach is not going to end well. Many dogs are curious and food motivated. Just because something is potentially toxic doesn’t mean they’ll avoid eating it. So, you must work hard to restrict their access to dangerous foods like brownies.
My Dog Ate Brownies – A Summary
If your dog has eaten brownies, you should speak to your veterinarian as soon as possible. They’ll be able to advise you on the best course of action depending on how much your dog has eaten. But, time is of the essence, so act quickly if you notice your dog has eaten this chocolatey snack.
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References and Resources
- Weingart, C. (et al), ‘Chocolate Ingestion in Dogs: 156 Events (2015 – 2019)’, Journal of Small Animal Practice (2021)
- Bates, N. ‘Chocolate Toxicity’, Companion Animal (2015)
- Cortinovis, C. & Caloni, F. ‘Household Food Items Toxic to Dogs and Cats’, Frontiers in Veterinary Science (2016)
- Murphy, L. & Coleman, A. ‘Xylitol Toxicosis in Dogs’, Veterinary Clinics: Small Animal Practice (2012)
- Soto-Ramirez, L. (et al), ‘Intoxication by Theobromine in Dogs: A Review’, Redvet (2018)
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