My Dog Ate M&Ms: What  You Need to Know for a Safe Recovery

Getting a bag of M&M’s as a snack is a situation most of us know very well. But sometimes the bag will spill and our dog will manage to get one of these delicious snacks. And you might be thinking “my dog ate M&Ms, will it be fine?”.

If your dog ate M&M’s, take immediate action. M&M’s contain chocolate, which is toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even seizures. Contact your vet promptly to ensure your dog’s well-being. There are a few other immediate steps you need to take first.

What specific ingredients in M&Ms can be harmful to dogs?

M&Ms are colorful, bite-sized chocolate candies with crunchy shells, enjoyed by people around the world. Their popularity lies in the variety of flavors and vibrant colors they offer, making them a favorite treat for many.

These snacks contain sugar and fat, which are problematic for dogs on their own. However, the main ingredient, causing M&M toxicity in dogs, is chocolate. This is one of the foods dogs should never eat as it contains the ingredients of theobromine and caffeine. The problem lies in the fact that dogs can not metabolize these ingredients as they pile up in the body and start causing serious problems.

Dr. Fiona Finlay, regarding the toxicity and effect of this ingredient, explains that:

Theobromine primarily affects the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and respiratory system, as well as having a diuretic effect. The first signs of poisoning in dogs include vomiting, haematemesis, and polydipsia. Other signs may include hyperexcitability, hyperirritability, tachycardia, excessive panting, ataxia, and muscle twitching. Effects may progress to cardiac arrhythmias, seizures, and death.

Is all chocolate toxic to dogs?

When it comes to dog chocolate toxicity, dark chocolate contains the highest amount of theobromine, which makes it the worst one to give dogs. Then, it is followed by milk chocolate which has less of the toxic compound. White chocolate has the least amount of this intoxicant, although it is still not safe for dogs and should be avoided. Thus, dark chocolate poses the greatest toxicity risk for pets, but even small amounts of any chocolate type can be dangerous.

What are the symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs?

Once your dog swallowed M&Ms, it will start experiencing symptoms in the next 6-12 hours after consumption. The most typical symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea. However, the dog may also become restless, lethargic, or start shaking suddenly. In the worst-case scenario, seizures will occur. If a big enough dose is consumed, and you don’t do anything to help it, the dog might die.

What should a pet owner do if their dog ingests M&Ms?

The best thing after seeing your dog eating some of these tasty treats is to stay calm and collected. You shouldn’t panic and scare the dog even more. Instead, try to figure out how much the dog ate and look at the ingredient list. This information will be vital later.

At the same time, take the treats away from the dog’s reach to prevent it from eating even more. Some dogs don’t know when to stop eating and will continue without knowing the consequences. The less the dog eats, the weaker the symptoms will be.

You have to tell your veterinarian that your dog ate M&Ms and has symptoms. They can determine the appropriate course of action based on the dog’s weight, the type and amount of chocolate ingested, and the time elapsed since ingestion. Sometimes, your vet will tell you to bring the dog to their office for monitoring and treatment. Thus, your dog might need to be hospitalized for a few days.

What are some tips for keeping M&Ms away from dogs?

The best way to prevent your dog from getting its paws on some of these snacks is to keep them out of sight. Make sure you keep your bags of treats stored securely in closed containers or cabinets. Using dog-safe locks will help you if your dog likes snooping around in the cupboards. Avoid leaving chocolate unattended on countertops or low tables where dogs can access them.

When you have guests over, or when you are having some treats yourself, make sure to keep an eye on the dog. Also, tell your family and friends that giving these snacks will cause serious problems. This is especially important to tell your children, or any other children you have as guests. They might try to share their snacks with the dog without knowing the harm they can cause.

What are some dog-friendly human foods alternatives to chocolate treats?

Because M&Ms are toxic to dogs, you need to find the next best thing to give them. A healthy substitute for chocolate would be fruit. You can cut up a banana and give it to your pup. Just make sure you peel it first because dogs can’t eat banana peels. Frozen blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries can be a perfect treat during the hot summer days. A well-cut apple, pear, or pineapple can be another great treat for dogs.

The closest thing to chocolate you can give your dog is called carob. “Contrary to cacao in chocolate, carob does not contain theobromine, which can be toxic for dogs.”, says a study done by Dr. Anton C. Beynen. Usually, special dog-safe treats are made with this ingredient. But it also has to be given in moderation as it counts as a treat. In can work perfectly for positive reinforcement during training.

Can one M&M kill a dog?

Even though the risks of dogs eating M&Ms seem scary, eating only one is not going to kill your dog. Slight symptoms like diarrhea or a bit of a belly ache may occur, but they won’t be very serious. The more serious symptoms occur once a dog eats a whole bag of the stuff. You can still call up your vet for advice just in case.

That said, you still shouldn’t relax and give your dog an M&M once in a while. This will only teach it that the snack is fine and it will want to have it again. If your dog won’t listen to you when you tell it to not eat these snacks, you should spend more time on obedience training. You can also contact a professional dog trainer to help you with your pup.

M&M's in a closed jar

My dog ate M&Ms – What should you do?

These tasty little snacks can be perfect for humans. The chocolate goodness and delicious crispy shell are great for anyone. But unfortunately, dogs should not eat the snacks. In fact, they can easily be poisoned if they do so.

The fact that M&M’s contain chocolate, makes them highly toxic to dogs. They can cause problems starting from stomach upset, up to seizures and collapse. In high enough doses, this delicious treat can be a nightmare and kill your dog.

If your dog mistakenly eats some, you will need to react fast and talk to a vet for help. Dogs may need to be treated and examined properly to prevent further complications. You should also spend some time thinking about how you can prevent this from happening in the future.


How many M&M’s are toxic to dogs?

One or two M&M’s won’t harm a dog, but a bag of these snacks will. The average amount that will surely cause chocolate poisoning is 0.5 ounces. It all depends on the size and breed of the dog.

Will peanut M&Ms hurt a dog?

If your dog ate M&Ms with peanuts in them, it will still experience symptoms. Peanuts are usually fine for dogs, but they can be bad for dogs that have peanut allergies. Also, salted peanuts may contain too much sodium, which can harm dogs.

What if your dog accidentally ate candy?

If you see your dog ingesting candy, you should take it to the vet as soon as possible. You can also call the Pet Poison Helpline to ask for any advice. If your dog ate the candy wrapper, it may also cause additional problems.

More dog health resources

Here are a few other resources talking about dog health.

You can find a lot more information on how to keep your dog healthy on our site Dogisa!

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