Rating the Internet's Many My-Dog-Ate-Chocolate Calculators

The internet as comforter and ever-present help in times of trouble.

by Ben Richmond
Jun 27 2015, 2:00pm

Both chocolate and dogs are popular and found in many homes, which is odd, since if one meets the other, it could prove to be the end of each. Keeping the two apart requires constant, if low level, vigilance, because your dog has literally nothing better to do other than wait for you to slip up. And when you do, and the forbidden bean is tasted, the internet will welcome you with open arms. The internet has been waiting for this inevitability and has many different calculators that are designed for the very specific calculation of when to induce vomiting.

I had the thrill of exploring the Internet of Should-I-Make-My-Dog-Puke? the other day, after waking up to find that my dog had eaten a whole chocolate bar. It was really dark stuff too, like 70 percent cacao. Like the worst for dogs. My dog's the worst, followed closely by we, the owners. Nearly the worst. But she didn't deserve to die for this and—spoiler alert—she didn't.

Image: Ben Richmond

She enthusiastically woke us up for breakfast, and didn't seem ill or anything, although after we found the wrapper, she did do that "guilty dog" look that she does when she's gotten into the trash. But still, it was nearly the whole 2.5 ounces, which warranted some Googling, at least. As far as "potentially life-threatening crises" go this was as mellow as it gets.

Given how common the "my dog ate chocolate" problem is, it's perhaps no surprise that, in addition to all of the articles explaining why chocolate kills dogs, there are several different ways of calculating whether you should make your dog throw up everything, which seems to be the extent of available treatment for this medical crisis.

The best Should-My-Dog-Puke-Calculator is on It's the most official looking, and can swap between Imperial and Metric measurements, in the event that your dog eats European chocolate and you want to save her anyway.

The most attractive SMDPC is on Pet MD. It manages to integrate a dog-head-and-cross-bones, while still seeming light-hearted. is not a very intuitive or attractive domain name, and its calculator gets special mention for being both the ugliest and most optimistic calculator. Also, I have no idea why those share buttons are there. Testing one just now was a real low point in my personal brand.

Despite all the options, none of them could calculate the darker-than-dark chocolate that my dog ate. The calculators were all confident that if it was dark chocolate, my dog would be fine, and if it were baking chocolate, my dog would moderate-to-severely not fine and we should call a vet.

So we erred on the side of calling a vet, who directed us to the Pet Poison Control Helpline, which charged us money for advice on how to best make our dog throw up, which as it turns out is way easier than Louis CK thought it was.

I dashed off to work, but got the play by play: the dog downs hydrogen peroxide mixed with food and does not one but two 10 minute walks quite cheerfully, until finally, on our apartment building stoop, she foamily and thoroughly rejoins the world of the living. By the time I got home, she was either mildly hyperactive, or simply really happy to see me. Truly, no lessons were learned.

This is the internet at its most boring and best, a reference-library replacement. I was chatting with my friend who had become a New Dad last summer or so, and he said the terror of being a parent was really mitigated by being able to Google everything. Maybe in both cases the internet is more like a replacement for calling your mom in a panic.

I'm not saying dogs or dog ownership is anything like having a kid, only that it's really comforting to know that problems that fall under your purview are neither unique nor necessarily fatal. It's not that, in a panic, we're helpless without Google. It's that, in moments to critically evaluate what to do, it pays to get another opinion. Eventually you work your way up to talking to a real live person, who can then tell you when it's time for your dog to purge.