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Can Dogs Eat Cocoa Butter? Vet-Approved Facts & FAQ

Jessica Kim

By Jessica Kim

natural cocoa butter on a brown background

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Ashley Darby

Veterinarian, BVSc

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Cocoa butter is a versatile ingredient that’s often used in cooking and in cosmetic and skincare products. Because it’s so commonly used, there’s a chance that your dog will come across it at some point. While it’s well-known that chocolate is toxic to dogs, cocoa butter isn’t as dangerous. Your dog may not get sick if they lick up a small amount of it. However, it’s still not recommended to add it as a regular part of your dog’s diet.

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What Is Cocoa Butter?

Cocoa butter is a plant-based fat that’s derived from cacao beans that are harvested from the Theobroma cacao plant. Cacao beans are processed into cacao liquor. Then, the liquid gets pressed. This produces both cocoa powder and cocoa butter.

Cocoa butter can be generally categorized into deodorized and non-deodorized varieties. Non-deodorized cocoa butter is unrefined and often has a faint yellow hue. It has a stronger flavor and smell. Deodorized cocoa butter goes through an additional process to reduce the cacao scent. It has a more neutral flavor and is more often used in cosmetics than non-deodorized cocoa butter.

bowl with cocoa butter on light background
Photo Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

Is Cocoa Butter Toxic to Dogs?

Theobromine is the main chemical inside chocolate that makes chocolate toxic to dogs. Cocoa powder has high concentrations of theobromine, while cocoa butter has minimal traces of it. So, it’s not likely that your dog will get sick if they eat a little bit of cocoa butter. However, there’s always the chance that cocoa butter contains a small amount of theobromine. So, it’s best to keep it away from dogs.

Cocoa butter is also very fatty and not the healthiest food to feed your dog. Dogs that consume too much fat in one sitting can get an upset stomach, and eating excessive amounts of fat will eventually lead to weight gain and obesity.

While cocoa butter has skincare benefits, you can find other safe and natural skincare products to use on your dog, such as coconut oil. Many paw moisturizers and dog lotions also have formulas that are safe for dogs to lick. Keep in mind all dogs are different and skin products can sometimes cause skin irritation.

What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Cocoa Butter?

Your dog will most likely feel fine if they lick up a little bit of cocoa butter. You can monitor their condition and look for any signs of an upset stomach, like a loss of appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea.

If your dog eats a large amount of cocoa butter, it’s best to contact your veterinarian or an animal poison control hotline right away. The large amount of fat can make them feel sick or give them pancreatitis, and your veterinarian can give you treatment options in case your dog feels sick. Make sure to also wipe up any cocoa butter from your dog’s face and paws and keep them away from any stairs for a while because the cocoa butter’s oily texture can cause them to slip. You’ll need to give your dog a bath if they’re covered in cocoa butter.

labrador dog at the clinic being checked by a vet
Photo Credit: SeventyFour, Shutterstock

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Conclusion

Cocoa butter contains minimal traces of theobroma, so your dog might not get sick if they eat a little cocoa butter. However, since cocoa butter doesn’t really offer significant benefits to a dog’s diet or skin and coat health, it’s best to refrain from giving it to your dog. There are plenty of risk-free natural foods and products that can boost their skin health. So, there’s no need to go out of your way to get some cocoa butter for your dog.


Featured Image Credit: Olyina V, Shutterstock

Jessica Kim

Authored by

Jessica is a freelance writer who spends most of her day researching and writing while her fluffy Cavapoo, Nora, naps beside her. She loves and appreciates pets and animals because there’s so much to learn from them, and they do so much for people. As a dog mom, she understands the special connection that pet parents have with their pets. So, she loves sharing helpful information that people can use to better understand...Read more

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