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Can Dogs Eat White Chocolate? – Is It Safe for Dogs?

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By Nicole Cosgrove

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The simple answer to this question is NO. Dogs should not eat any kind of chocolate at all. Many dogs have a sweet tooth and they like chocolate. But chocolate of any kind is really bad for them, and they must not eat it.

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Why Should Dogs Not Eat Chocolate?

The most serious reason why dogs should not eat chocolate is because chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine, which is from the cacao bean – the main ingredient in chocolate. Harmless to humans, it is poisonous and even fatal to dogs.

Different types of chocolate have different amounts of cacao in them. The darker the chocolate, the more cacao it contains, and therefore higher levels of theobromine. Dark and cooking chocolate have the highest concentration, followed by milk chocolate and then finally white chocolate.

White chocolate contains the least amount of cacao, and therefore lower levels of Theobromine. In fact, many people don’t consider white chocolate to really be chocolate at all. 

So Is White Alright for Dogs Then?

No. Despite lower levels, theobromine is still in white chocolate. And some gourmet white chocolates contain higher levels of cacao than cheaper white chocolate.

So if you think white chocolate is safe for dogs because it has less theobromine in it, you are unfortunately wrong.

Image by Enotovyj from Pixabay

Is Theobromine the Only Health Risk to Dogs in White Chocolate?

Theobromine is not the only health risk to your dog when it comes to white chocolate. There are many other reasons why you should not give your dog white chocolate. These include:

  • High concentrations of sugar, which is bad for dogs, and given enough of it can cause obesity, diabetes, and pancreatitis
  • Risk of the white chocolate containing raisins or macadamia nuts, which are very toxic to dogs
  • Eating the wrappers, which can cause an obstruction in the digestive tract. This can be fatal, and often involves surgery to remove the obstruction
  • The possibility that your dog has an allergy to any preservatives used, and going into anaphylactic shock

Can My Dog Eat Sugar-Free White Chocolate?

Absolutely not! Sugar substitutes like Xylitol are absolutely deadly! Dogs can die within a few hours of eating Xylitol. You should never give your dog any sugar-free sweet products, not only white chocolate, but also peanut butter, jelly and so on. Always check the ingredients on sugar-free products, and if they contain Xylitol keep them well away from your dogs.

Can My Dog Eat Baked Products Containing White Chocolate?

Once again, no. Cookies and cakes containing white chocolate still have not only the chocolate in them, but also high amounts of sugar and fat, and possibly dangerous artificial sweeteners. No human treats containing white or any other chocolate should be given to dogs.

Image Credit: 272447 from Pixabay

How Much White Chocolate Will Make My Dog Sick?

This depends on quite a few factors. The most obvious one being the size and weight of your dog. A big dog, such as a Great Dane, could consume quite a bit of white chocolate before becoming ill. A very small dog, such as a Yorkie, would only have to eat a small amount before possibly becoming sick.

But regardless of size and weight, if your dog has underlying health problems like heart conditions, even a little white chocolate eaten could make your dog seriously ill.

If your dog only eats a small amount of chocolate relative to its size, weight and health, the results may only be a bit of an upset tummy and diarrhea.

However, if a large amount is consumed, your dog can get very sick.

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What Are the Symptoms of “Chocolate Poisoning”?

The most serious symptoms are:

  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Diarrhea
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased reflex responses
  • Muscle rigidity
And advanced signs are cardiac failure, weakness, coma, and death. These symptoms may not happen straight away, and can occur up to 8 or even 12 hours after eating the chocolate. If you suspect your dog has eaten white or any other chocolate you should take the above symptoms very seriously.

What Should I Do If My Dog Has Eaten White Chocolate, or If I Suspect That He Has?

If your dog has eaten white or any other chocolate in quantities that are dangerous relative to the size and health of your dog, or has eaten chocolate wrappers, you must take your dog to the vet immediately. Especially if you start to see any of the symptoms mentioned above.

If the chocolate has been eaten within two hours, your vet will usually induce vomiting to get as much out as possible. The vet may also administer activated charcoal to block further absorption of theobromine into your dog’s system. If the problem becomes more serious, your vet will administer appropriate treatment.

Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

What Can I Give My Dog as a Sweet Treat?

There are lots of commercial sweet treat products available for dogs. Products advertised as “chocolate” for dogs usually contains carob, a close cousin of cacao, but without the Theobromine. These treats are available in several varieties, including white chocolate.

There are also lots of great recipes on the internet for safe dog treats that you can make yourself.

It is best to only give your dog treats that are sweet on rare occasions. If you give them too often, your dog could develop a taste for sweet things, and try to eat anything sweet.

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The Last Word on Dogs and White Chocolate

So as you can see, white chocolate poses a great deal health risks to your dog. Take care with your dog and keep him safe from dangerous foods, including white chocolate. And remember that sometimes a scratch behind the ears and a “good boy!” is just as rewarding as a food treat.

Featured Image: caja from Pixabay

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