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If a Yorkshire Terrier Eats Chocolate


Most owners know that dogs cannot eat chocolate; actually that really needs to be re-worded… dogs should not eat chocolate however they certainly are capable of eating it… and that is why we have put together this article for you. 

Chocolate is considered a very toxic food for canines however hundreds of dogs each year are rushed to the vet and some die of the fatal effects of this food meant only for human consumption. It's far too easy for a Yorkie to ingest chocolate than many owners believe and it is after the fact that a person steps back and realizes how this tiny toy dog can get into just about anything. Here's just a few of the real instances in which a Yorkie got a hold of a chocolate bar or pieces:
pieces of baking chocolate
  • A 6 lb. Yorkie named Chelsie rummaged through her owner's pocketbook as her owner was busy putting groceries away. She ate 1/2 a Snickers bar before her owner saw and ran over to stop her.  
  • An owner making homemade chocolate chip cookies didn't notice that a few chocolate drops fell to the floor. Toby, her 5 month old Yorkshire Terrier that was thought to be sleeping in the next room gobbled them up, just as she looked down. 
  • Tim and Jennie from Illinois let us know that while having Tim's 85 year old mother over for lunch, the elderly woman snuck a chunk of chocolate marbled cake to their Yorkie.  
And the list goes on. Unless you keep absolutely no chocolate in your house and never bring your Yorkie anywhere where it could be available, there is always a chance that your puppy or dog could accidently eat it…and for this reason it's really important to know what to do if a Yorkshire Terrier eats chocolate. 

This section will discuss:
  • What it is about chocolate that makes it so toxic to canines
  • How the type and amount will make a big difference in how sick a Yorkshire Terrier will get
  • Amounts that are considered fatal
  • A list of different candies and foods, based on how toxic they are
  • Signs and symptoms of chocolate poisoning
  • Detailed steps on exactly what to do if your Yorkie ingests any amount of chocolate 
tiny Yorkie dog
Eliza Kay Brockster, 4 years old
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth
Why Chocolate is So Toxic to Dogs

This wonderful food that so many of us are addicted to contains a component called theobromine. It is actually flavorless and colorless. Aside from being in chocolate, it is also found in tea and in the guarana berry. Canines cannot metabolize this as humans can and therefore it builds up in the body as a toxin. 

The other element is caffeine; this is also toxic to canines and chocolate will have varying amounts of this as well.

Toy sized breeds are much more prone to become seriously ill as toxins are quickly absorbed in the body. Different types of chocolate contain varying amounts and this is why a Yorkshire Terrier may get very sick eating one type (and it can even be fatal) but may not get very ill with a small amount of another.
List of Types of Chocolate and the Toxicity Levels for a Yorkshire Terrier

What you do if your Yorkshire Terrier eats chocolate will depend on what type was ingested and how much your dog actually ate. This is because some varieties have much more theobromine than others. We will look at some of the most common sources that are often found in the homes (and pocketbooks or even gym bags) of many people - even those who try to stay away from sweet snacks. Here you will see these foods in order of toxicity levels according to how much theobromine is present:

High Levels/ Very Dangerous

Coco powder, 1 cup = 1769 mg
Baking chocolate, unsweetened, squares, 1 cup = 1712 mg
Liquid un-sweetened baking chocolate, 1 cup - 677 mg

Moderate Levels / Dangerous

Peanut M&Ms, 1 cup = 184 mg
Chocolate ice cream, 1 cup = 175 mg
Chocolate pudding, 4 oz. = 76 mg
Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar, 1 full bar = 64 mg
Hershey's Semi-Sweet Baking Bar, 1 tablespoon = 55 mg
Kit Kat bar, 1 full bar = 48.7 mg
Brownie, a 2 inch square = 44 mg

Lower Levels / Slightly Dangerous

Milky Way Bar, 1 regular sized bar = 37.1 mg
Snickers Bar = 35 mg
Hershey's Kisses, 4 pieces = 33 mg
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, 2 full regular sized = 32.4 mg
Chocolate chip cooked, 1 cookie = 20.3 mg
Chocolate doughnut = 12.6 mg

Not Poisonous

White chocolate - real white chocolate does not have caffeine or theobromine; though a dog will often a get a 'sugar high' from this sort of candy and should not be eating it. 

How Much Chocolate is Toxic to a Yorkshire Terrier

It is a good idea to keep in mind the levels of theobromine that is present in the various foods listed above, since this plays a huge role in regard to how much of an emergency it is if your Yorkie does eat chocolate.  

200 mg or more: This amount may be fatal.  

60 to 200 mg: A Yorkshire Terrier will usually have serious complications including uncontrolled muscle twitches and other neurological abnormalities. 

40 to 60 mg: Signs of poisoning may occur.
20 to 40 mg: May cause problems, particularly for toy breeds like the Yorkshire Terrier.
Under 20 mg: Will usually result in loose stools, stomach upset, etc.  

Going by the weight of a dog and looking at the type and amount the following guidelines are expected:

Milk chocolate: 

A 5 lb. (2.27 kg) Yorkie will usually have a mild reaction after eating .75 oz. (21.26 grams) and a moderate to severe reaction after eating 1.5 oz. (42.53 gm).  

A 10 lb. (4.5 kg) Yorkie will usually have a mild reaction after eating 1.5 oz. (42.53 gm) and a moderate to severe reaction after eating 3 oz. (8.51 gm).  

Semi-sweet chocolate:

A 5 lb. (2.27 kg) Yorkie will usually have a mild reaction after eating .3 oz. (8.51 grams) and a moderate to severe reaction after eating .6 oz. (17.01 gm).

A 10 lb. (4.5 kg) Yorkie will usually have a mild reaction after eating .6. (17.01 gm) and a moderate to severe reaction after eating 1.2 oz. (34.02 gm).  

Baking chocolate:

A 5 lb. (2.27 kg) Yorkie will usually have a mild reaction after eating .1 oz. (2.84 grams) and a moderate to severe reaction after eating .2 oz. (5.67 gm).  

A 10 lb. (4.5 kg) Yorkie will usually have a mild reaction after eating .2 oz. (5.67 gm) and a moderate to severe reaction after eating .4 oz. (11.34 gm).  

Signs and Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning 

It is important to note that not all dogs will react the same way if they eat chocolate. A Yorkshire Terrier may have one or all of the following signs:
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased thirst
  • Excessive drooling
  • Heavy panting
  • Hyperactivity
  • Agitation
  • Racing and/or skipping heartbeat
  • Loss of bladder function
  • Muscle rigidity
With high doses, the above and also:
  • Muscle tremors, shaking
  • Seizures
  • Heart failure
  • Respiratory failure
  • Coma
  • Death (with heavy ingestion of a food high in theobromine such as baking chocolate, a small dog like the Yorkshire Terrier may have sudden death and all dogs regardless of what they ate may have fatal complications if they are not properly treated)
How Long it Takes for Chocolate to Make a Yorkie Sick

When a dog eats chocolate, as time goes by his symptoms may progress. What begins as just mild vomiting can domino into heavy panting and an hour after that the dog can suffer from seizures.  

It is important to bring your Yorkie to the vet as soon as possible, because in many cases it can take up to 2 hours for the body to experience the poisonous effects of chocolate and this gives you time to have your dog treated before his health deteriorates.

The caffeine from the chocolate reaches its peak within 1 hour and the theobromine which is digested much slower can still be present in the body at 50% strength up to 17 hours later.  

In general, a dog will begin to show signs 1 to 2 hours after eating chocolate. 
little black and tan Yorkie puppy
Photo courtesy of Karen Bryant
What to Do if Your Yorkshire Terrier Ingests Chocolate

If your Yorkie took a small nibble from a chocolate chip cookie or lapped up a tiny fallen piece of a brownie, this is usually nothing to be concerned about. However, if he ate a 1/2 of a chocolate bar or something to that effect, you will want to take action right away. When in doubt or even if you are not even sure if your Yorkie did indeed eat any chocolate, always react as if he did… it could save his life. 

1) Try to assess what has been eaten and how much. In looking at the chart above, you will want to call the vet if you suspect that your Yorkshire Terrier ingested enough to warrant even a mild reaction. You will also want to take action if any part of a candy wrapper was eaten as this can cause internal blockage.

It is always better to be safe than sorry. Since it can take up to 2 hours (and more in some cases) for a dog to start to get sick, you can already be at the vet's by then and treatment can begin before serious complications occur.
2) Your vet may instruct you to induce vomiting. The normal method for this is to give the puppy or dog a small dose of hydrogen peroxide. All owners should have this on hand as there are many other things that can be ingested that may call out for this. The normal dose is 1 ml per pound of body weight and this is typically given via a syringe (the type that is used to give medication to babies); this works best when directed at the inside of the cheek so that the dog does not choke on it. 

3) If you decide to not go to the vet or if you are advised to just keep an eye on your Yorkie, he should not be left alone for the next 4 hours. This is really important, even if it means calling out of work. It's simply not worth the risk. Look for any of the above symptoms of poisoning and immediately bring your Yorkie to the vet or closest animal hospital at the first signs of any issue. 

4) Expect for your Yorkshire Terrier to have some diarrhea the next day; this is the case with most instances of eating just a bit of chocolate with a minor reaction. You may want to keep your dog confined to his playpen (lined with pee pads) and/or keep him close to the door for quick exits. 
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The Treatment for Chocolate Poisoning

Once you have brought your Yorkie to the vet or animal hospital, things will move quickly. If it is suspected that the chocolate is still in the stomach, the vet may either induce vomiting or may give the dog activated charcoal which works well in absorbing the theobromine. This may need to be given at regular intervals for 24 hours; in most cases the dog will be kept the clinic overnight to receive these doses and to be monitored. 

In addition, an IV may need to be given to both dilute the toxin and to treat any dehydration that may have occurred due to vomiting.
If a dog's heart rate is high, medications such as a beta-blocker may be administered. 

Depending on the severity of a dog's health status, he may be able to go home within a few hours or may need to stay several days until his condition is stabilized. 


Just about all of us have chocolate somewhere in the house… or you may even grab a candy bar for the road, place it in your pocketbook and innocently place that near your Yorkie's car seat… it only takes a moment of an owner looking away for a Yorkie to snatch a piece and gobble it up. Never take this lightly; guidelines for toxicity levels are general references and each dog will react differently. 

When in doubt, bring your Yorkie to the veterinarian's office or veterinary hospital. 

According to the latest report from the Pet Poison Helpline, calls regarding ingestion of chocolate are the #1 calls that they receive. Out of all breeds identified in those calls for help, the Yorkshire Terrier placed high at #5. 
Yorkie on porch
Abby, 2 and 1/2 years old
Photo courtesy of Darla Cook
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