How Soon Are There Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning in a Small Maltese?

Keep your Maltese safe by stowing away your chocolates.
i Ryan McVay/Lifesize/Getty Images

Chocolate, the best treat known to man, is a big no-no for man's best friend. If your small Maltese treats herself to a chocolate snack, don’t panic. Just act quickly, as this stuff is toxic to your four-legged friend. The sooner you help her the better.

Small vs. Normal-Sized Maltese

If your adult Maltese weighs less than 4 pounds, it is considered to be a small Maltese. The normal weight range for a Maltese is ideally 4 to 6 pounds. If you have one of these smaller pooches or if she is still a puppy, chocolate poisoning is even more of a concern because it takes such a small amount to affect her. However, the severity of symptoms doesn't depend on what type of Maltese, it's how much chocolate, what kind, and how much she weighs. This is not to exclude concern for all sizes and types of dogs eating chocolate, of course.

Types Of Chocolate

The three main types of chocolate that doggies get into are milk or dark chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate and baking chocolate. To know how much it takes of each type to get your small Maltese sick, you just need to know how much she weighs. Milk chocolate is the least toxic but is still dangerous. It only takes 0.7 ounce per pound of your doggie’s weight to start showing symptoms. Two ounces of milk chocolate per pound of doggie weight will produce more severe symptoms. If she eats 0.3 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate per canine pound, she will start to show symptoms of poisoning. One ounce per pound will show more advanced symptoms. The most concentrated of the kinds of chocolate is baking chocolate, thus making it the most dangerous. It takes only 0.1 ounce per dog pound to make your dog sick, Maltese or other.

When It Takes Effect

You may see symptoms shortly after your little friend has gobbled down some chocolate goodies, or as late as the next day. Keep an eye out for the possible symptoms listed below. The time it takes and the severity of symptoms depends on what type of chocolate and how much your little Maltese ingested. Since your little lady is a small breed, it takes only a little piece to have an effect on her.

How Long Does It Last

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning can last up to 72 hours -- until the theobromine (the chemical in chocolate that is causing the problem) leaves your dog's system. Again, it depends on how much and what kind the little one scarfed down.

Possible Symptoms

Pet MD lists the following symptoms of possible chocolate poisoning in dogs: vomiting, diarrhea, increased body temperature, increased reflex responses, muscle rigidity, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, low blood pressure and seizures. Symptoms of advanced poisoning include cardiac failure, weakness and coma. Dog Health Guide lists restlessness, irritability, and increased urination as chocolate poisoning symptoms.

What to Do

Call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 1-800-222-1222 as soon as you suspect chocolate poisoning. A representative will instruct you on your best plan of action. You can also call your veterinarian for advice on what to do to keep your little one safe and healthy.


Keep chocolate treats and other foods dogs shouldn’t have out of reach. Their keen sniffers are good at finding delicious-smelling goodies.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

the nest