Can Dogs Eat Cocoa Butter?

Cocoa butter is a popular ingredient in commercial moisturizers, homemade moisturizers and in many cake baking recipes.

But how safe is it for dogs? 

The answer may surprise you! Not only can cocoa butter be harmful to your dog’s health, but it can also even be deadly! 

If you have cocoa butter around the house, please read this article carefully to determine if it’s safe to give to your dog.

First the short and sweet answer. 

Can dogs eat cocoa butter?

Under no circumstances should cocoa butter be seen as safe for your dog to eat.

If your dog eats a small amount of this butter it is likely to give them a touch of diarrhea and maybe a bit of vomiting whereas if your dog eats a large portion of cocoa butter it may kill them. 

What counts as a large portion will depend on the size and weight of your dog.

And I give much more precise amounts later on in this article when I explore this issue in much greater depth. 

And to start with, let me explain what cocoa butter is.

What is Cocoa Butter?

Cocoa butter is a natural fat extracted from the seeds of the cacao plant (Theobroma cacao). It’s a pale yellow solid which melts at body temperature and has a rich, slightly nutty taste. 

Cocoa butter is a white or light yellow, semi-solid fat similar to vegetable shortening. 

It has a pleasant cocoa aroma but is not sweet like chocolate. 

It melts at about body temperature (96 degrees F), so it feels smooth on your skin- one of the reasons that it is such a popular ingredient in moisturizers. 

I don’t think anyone here is feeding their dog cocoa butter because, let’s face it, that would be a bit mad.

But some dogs will just eat anything.

And there are a lot of you out there who have dogs who might try to destroy and eat a pot of cocoa butter moisturiser when they have been left alone.

Or who will steal a tub of cocoa butter buttons from the kitchen worktop as soon as your back is turned.

And so, how safe is cocoa butter for your dog when it has been eaten accidentally?

There are some concerns about the use of cocoa butter on pets. It’s unclear whether cocoa butter is dangerous to dogs or cats, but it has been known to cause allergic reactions in humans and other animals when ingested in large quantities over time. Therefore, you should always use caution when giving any new food supplement to your pet that your veterinarian hasn’t approved.

What is it used to make? 

Cocoa butter is a fat that comes from the cocoa plant. The plant also produces cocoa beans, which are used to make chocolate. Cocoa butter is solid at room temperature and melts at body temperature. It’s also known as theobroma oil and cacao butter. Cocoa butter is made by pressing the fatty part of the cocoa bean, which is called cacao mass. The resulting liquid is then boiled until it becomes solid.

Cocoa butter is used in many food and cosmetic products because it contains antioxidants and has a long shelf life even at high temperatures. It is often added to chocolate confections to improve texture, flavor, and mouthfeel; it also helps prevent oil separation during the storage of baked goods such as cookies or brownies. Cocoa butter has been used to make skin lotions, soaps, and cosmetics for centuries. It’s also sometimes added to foods like popcorn and chocolate bars to give them a rich, creamy texture. You may find small amounts of cocoa butter in other foods, such as peanut butter or baked goods, as well as lotions or lip balms for their moisturizing properties.

Why is it poisonous to dogs?

In general, dogs can’t eat cocoa butter. It contains a toxic substance called theobromine to dogs and humans. Theobromine is found in all types of chocolate, so it’s best to keep your dog away from any food containing cocoa or chocolate.

The poison control centre at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) reported that cocoa butter is toxic to dogs. Their website states, “Cocoa bean shells contain theobromine, which can be harmful to dogs.” Cocoa bean shells are often used in chocolate-making because they contain the flavonoid antioxidants that give cocoa its dark color.

The ASPCA says it’s important for pet owners to keep cocoa butter away from their pets because it can cause vomiting and diarrhea if ingested by dogs. When consumed in large quantities, cocoa butter can be fatal for dogs. The ASPCA recommends contacting your vet or local animal poison control center immediately if you suspect your dog has eaten a large amount of cocoa butter or chocolate products containing cocoa butter.

How much theobromine is in cocoa butter?

Theobromine is found in all forms of cocoa beans, including cocoa powder, dark chocolate, and white chocolate. The amount of theobromine depends on how long the cocoa beans have been fermented before processing them into cocoa liquor (cocoa solids) or cocoa butter.

The average cocoa bean contains about 1% theobromine. However, the amount of theobromine in cocoa butter can vary depending on the type of cocoa bean and how it’s processed. For example, Dutch-processed cocoa powder has lower levels of theobromine than natural cocoa powder. Theobromine can generally be found in dosages ranging from 26 mg/Kg to 140 mg/Kg in Cocoa butter.  It can, however, be found in less concentration in cocoa butter depending upon the way it is processed. In fact, most commercial brands of cocoa butter only contain about 1% to 2% theobromine.

How much cocoa butter would it take to kill a dog?

Theobromine levels that are toxic for dogs have been the subject of extensive research and debate among veterinarians and researchers. Research has shown that pup size, type, and amount of chocolate consumed all play a role in severity levels of toxicity, but the exact amount of chocolate that is fatal remains unclear. It is stated in a report that general toxic effects occur in dogs at doses of 20 mg/kg, with more severe signs occurring at 40-50 mg/kg. Seizures occur at 60 mg/kg in most cases.

It would take a very large amount of cocoa butter to kill a dog. The LD50 (lethal dose that kills 50% of the population) for theobromine in dogs is around 100 to 200 mg/kg. This means that it would take between 10 and 20 grams of cocoa butter per kilogram of body weight to kill a dog. For a 20 kg (44 lb) dog, this would be the equivalent of eating between 200 and 400 grams (7 to 14 ounces) of cocoa butter.

Is cocoa powder any safer than cocoa butter?

No, cocoa powder is not any safer than cocoa butter; it may even be more dangerous. This is because cocoa powder contains a higher concentration of theobromine than cocoa butter, so ingesting even a small amount could be potentially harmful or even fatal to your dog.

Cocoa powder and cocoa butter are two chocolate forms commonly used in cooking and baking. Cocoa powder is made by grinding cocoa beans into a fine powder, while cocoa butter is made by extracting the fat from the cocoa beans.

Cocoa powder and cocoa butter both contain high levels of caffeine and theobromine, which can be toxic to dogs. In addition, cocoa powder contains oxalates, which can cause kidney damage. For these reasons, avoiding giving your dog any products containing cocoa powder or cocoa butter is best.

If your dog does ingest products containing cocoa powder or cocoa butter, watch for signs of toxicity such as vomiting, diarrhea, panting, tremors, and seizures. If you observe any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.

What are the symptoms of cocoa butter (chocolate) poisoning?

The main ingredient in cocoa butter is theobromine, a compound that’s toxic to dogs. Theobromine is a stimulant that can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs and may also lead to heart problems. Symptoms of Cocoa Butter (Chocolate) Poisoning include:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Lethargy (tiredness) and depression
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Hyperactivity or restlessness
  • Seizures
  • Muscle tremors or weakness

If you think your dog has ingested cocoa butter or any other product containing theobromine, contact your veterinarian or emergency animal hospital immediately. The sooner you get treatment for your dog, the better the chances of a full recovery.

What should I do if my dog eats cocoa butter?

If your dog has eaten cocoa butter, you should first call your veterinarian or emergency animal hospital. They will be able to advise you on what to do next and may even recommend bringing your dog in for treatment.

In the meantime, try to keep your dog calm and quiet. Avoid giving them any food or water as this may cause them to vomit. You should also watch for any signs of toxicity, such as vomiting, diarrhea, panting, tremors, or seizures. If you observe any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Cocoa butter is dangerous for dogs and should be avoided at all costs. If your dog does ingest it, seek professional medical help right away. With prompt treatment, most dogs will make a full recovery.

Are there any dog-friendly substitutes for cocoa butter (moisturizers)?

There are several options available if you’re looking for a dog-friendly alternative to cocoa butter. You can try using a hypoallergenic moisturizer or lotion or make your dog-safe moisturizer at home.

To make your own moisturizer, start by mixing equal parts of coconut oil and olive oil. Then, add a few drops of lavender essential oil and mix well. Apply this mixture to your dog’s skin as needed.

Cocoa butter is not safe for dogs, but many other products can be used in its place. If you’re concerned about using cocoa butter on your dog, talk to your veterinarian about other options. They will be able to recommend a product that is safe and effective for your pup.

Is shea butter any safer?

Shea butter is made from the nuts of the African shea tree, which produces a fatty substance that hardens when exposed to air. While cocoa butter is pressed to remove impurities, shea butter “traces” are left in the pure fat. Unlike cocoa butter, which has a low melting point, shea butter remains solid at room temperature and melts as it’s rubbed on your skin.

As with cocoa butter, there is no definitive answer on whether or not shea butter is safe for dogs to consume. Some sources claim it is perfectly safe, while others caution that it could cause stomach upset or other digestive issues. As with anything else, it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian before giving your dog any new food or treat, just to be on the safe side.

Shea butter contains high-fat levels and can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs. In addition, shea butter may contain toxins that can harm your dog. For these reasons, avoiding giving your dog any products containing shea butter is best.

Are there any dog-friendly substitutes for cocoa butter (baking)?

Yes, there are some great substitutes for cocoa butter (baking) that you can use instead:

Peanut Butter: Peanut butter is a popular alternative to cocoa butter that is safe for dogs to eat. Just make sure to check the label to ensure that it does not contain xylitol, as this can be toxic to dogs. 

Carob: Carob is a chocolate-like substance that is safe for dogs to eat. It can be used as an alternative to cocoa butter in baking recipes. There is no caffeine in carob, and it contains three times more calcium than cocoa powder.

Coconut Oil:  Coconut oil is another popular alternative to cocoa butter that is safe for dogs to consume. Just make sure that the coconut oil you use is virgin and unrefined, as this will be the highest quality and most beneficial for your dog.

Just like with any new food or supplement, start slowly introducing cocoa butter (or any of the substitutes above) to your dog’s diet and gradually increase as tolerated. And always check with your veterinarian if you have any concerns about giving your dog a new food or supplement.

Conclusion

As you can tell, there is no definitive answer to whether or not dogs can eat cocoa butter. Each of these products has its unique composition, and it is best to consult the manufacturer directly to see if this product is appropriate for your dog’s diet. If you discover that your pet has ingested cocoa butter against your will, contact a veterinarian for further advice. The best way to determine if a dog can eat cocoa butter is to take into consideration the different characteristics of cocoa butter itself. As long as you are aware of the nutritional values it has and the possibility of allergic reactions, you will be able to conclude whether or not your dog can eat it.