My Dog Ate Fudge: Should I Worry? (Solved & Explained!)

Fudge is absolutely delicious, so it’s no wonder that you have to be on your guard when you are eating this delicious baked treat. Unfortunately, our dogs can be a bit sneaky, so what happens if your dog ate fudge?

If your dog has eaten fudge, you will want to get them into the vet right away. The chocolate in this baked delight contains caffeine, which is bad for your dog, and a chemical called Theobromine – which is toxic enough that it can be lethal. You’ll want to get your dog to the vet for treatment NOW.

In today’s article we’re going to tell you more about why fudge affects dogs this way, how much is considered toxic, and other important information that you need to know if your dog has eaten fudge. Let’s take a look at the facts about fudge and your dog!

Why is fudge bad for dogs?

While fudge is full of calories, carbs and sugar, the problematic ingredient is going to be the chocolate. Now, if it is white chocolate fudge, then your dog may just end up with a stomachache, possibly accompanied with diarrhea or vomiting, as this is the least toxic variety of chocolate.

That’s because white chocolate has little to no actual cocoa content, but is rather more of a ‘mock-chocolate’ made with vanilla flavoring, sugar, and cocoa butter. It has caffeine and Theobromine, but only in trace amounts, with the exception of varieties that specifically advertise the addition of real cocoa beans.

The more common varieties, however, contain milk chocolate or dark chocolate, and these are definitely bad news. The problem is that while we can digest Theobromine, dogs simply cannot do the same in an efficient matter, and even if the toxic chemical passes to the intestines, it becomes reabsorbed from there again with only slight dilution.

This means that the toxin stays in your dog’s body for a long time, generally reaching it’s peak concentration within 10 hours, and in severe cases it can cause seizures, heart failure, or even a coma as your dog’s body tries to fight the toxins. Vet assistance is a MUST if you suspect ingestion – this is dangerous stuff.

How much fudge is toxic to dogs?

The amount of toxicity will depend on the actual chocolate content in the fudge and as this will v ary from receipt to recipe, it’s best to simply tell you the dosage which is considered toxic based on the different chocolates. We’ll start with milk chocolate and dark chocolate since they are the most common brownie variety:

  • Milk chocolate – Milk chocolate is considered dangerously toxic in amounts of .5 ounces per pound of body weight of the dog.
  • Dark Chocolate – Dark chocolate is much more toxic, with only .3 ounces per pound of body weight of the dog being required for high levels of chocolate toxicity.
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips – Semi-sweet chocolate chips, often present in brownies, are also .3 ounce per pound of body weight – just like dark chocolate.
  • Baking chocolate – Baking chocolate is the most toxic on this list, with only .2 ounces per pound of body weight of the dog being considered dangerous amounts.

What are the symptoms of chocolate toxicity?

Now that you know the amounts which are toxic, it is also important to know the symptoms of chocolate toxicity. Mind you, if you know that your dog has eaten a brownie, visiting your vet is priority 1 and you should call them if you cannot visit. That said, here are the most common symptoms:

  • Increased thirst
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Restlessness
  • Frequent urination
  • Panting and increased heartrate
  • Muscle tics or spasms

If untreated, heart failure is possible in extreme cases, or your dog could even fall into a coma. While they are like furry little humans to us and can eat a lot of the same foods, your dog’s physiology simply isn’t equipped to properly digest Theobromine.

To better demonstrate the physiology contrast, aside from chocolate, did you know that grapes can kill a dog if they eat too many? A chemical called Tannic acid is to blame and it took us years to figure out that this was the cause. Grapes seemed so innocuous, but they  highlight how different your dog’s body truly is!

What will the vet do to help my dog?

Your vet has a number of methods at their disposal which they may use to help get the caffeine and Theobromine from chocolate out of your dog’s system. Typically, intravenous fluids will be administered and it’s not uncommon to use activate charcoal, so that it bonds to the toxins in your dogs body to help them safely pass.

Induced vomiting is also common, but you shouldn’t try this at home unless your vet gives you steps on the phone. Finally, heart and anticonvulsant medication is also used in extreme cases and treatment may take anywhere from 24 hours to as much as 3 days.

Remember – this is 24 hours to 3 days with the vet’s assistance – while at home symptoms may take 6 to 12 hours to start manifesting. The actual half-life of Theobromine in your dog’s system is about 17.5 hours, with the most concentrated state of it occurring in your dog’s body at around the 10 hour mark.

This is why it is so important to get your vet involved – – after initial ingestion, the stuff becomes concentrated, and that’s when it’s at it’s most dangerous.

In conclusion: Fudge is officially OFF the menu!

In this article we’ve explored why it’s vital to get the vet involved if your dog ate fudge. While these baked goods are harmless to us, differences in your dog’s physiology actually make these treats poison for pooches, and it’s not a mild effect in the slightest.

If you are unable to reach your vet right away, call the ASPCA Poison control line at 888-426-4435 and they can help. The number is toll-free and open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and calling on holidays will still get you someone on the other line that can help.

Now that you know the real scoop on fudge the verdict is in and it’s official – fudge is definitely off of the menu for dogs!