To maintain smooth, healthy skin, you could use cocoa butter-based products like lip balm, sunscreen, or Palmer’s cocoa butter lotion. Baking chocolate, or unsweetened chocolate, also contains cocoa butter.
Dogs should avoid eating any cocoa powder, but moderate amounts of cocoa butter probably won’t hurt them. If your dog ingests a large amount, it may experience stomach distress.
It is fine to use a tiny bit of pure cocoa butter or cocoa butter lotion to lubricate your dog’s nose or paws.
Can dogs eat cocoa butter?
Cocoa butter is toxic to dogs and should never be given to them.
If your dog eats even a small amount of cocoa butter, it will likely cause them to vomit and have mild diarrhea, while a large amount could be fatal.
What constitutes a large portion for your dog will vary with his or her size and weight.
Later in this article, when I delve much deeper into this topic, I provide much more precise amounts.
I should probably start by defining cocoa butter.
What is cocoa butter?
Cocoa butter is a type of fat obtained by pressing the ripe seeds of the Theobroma cocoa tree.
To make coffee, the beans are harvested, then put through a process of fermentation, drying, grinding, and pressing. The process of pressing yields cocoa butter, a fat commonly used in cooking.
The beans of the tropical cacao tree contain a compound called theobromine. It’s a stimulant found in cocoa, chocolate, coffee, and even some types of tea. It is poisonous to dogs.
Theobromine is found in highest concentrations in baking chocolate. Comparatively, dark chocolate has a greater than milk chocolate does.
White chocolate contains almost no theobromine, but the high fat content makes it unsafe to feed to dogs. Some dogs are more susceptible to theobromine’s adverse effects on the heart and nervous system than others. This can be potentially fatal in extreme cases.
What is it used to make?
The cocoa plant produces the fat known as cocoa butter. A byproduct of the plant is the cocoa bean, which is used to make chocolate. A solid at room temperature, cocoa butter softens when exposed to the body’s heat. Cacao butter and theobroma oil are other names for this substance.
Cacao butter is extracted by pressing the cacao mass, or cocoa bean’s fat. Once the liquid is obtained, it is boiled until it solidifies.
Cocoa butter’s antioxidant properties and high heat resistance make it useful in a wide variety of applications, including food and cosmetics.
It is frequently used to prevent oil separation in baked goods like cookies and brownies, and to enhance the texture, flavor, and mouthfeel of chocolate confections.
The use of cocoa butter in skin care products dates back centuries. Popcorn and chocolate bars, for instance, can benefit from its addition because of the creamy texture it imparts.
For its moisturizing properties, cocoa butter is sometimes added to other foods like peanut butter and baked goods, and it is commonly used in cosmetics like lotions and lip balms.
Is cocoa butter toxic to dogs?
Small or moderate amounts of cocoa butter are safe, but large amounts can be fatal. Approximately 140 milligrams of theobromine can be found in every kilogram of pure cocoa butter. Four pounds of pure cocoa butter would have to be consumed by a small dog before it became toxic.
However, since cocoa butter is a fat, dogs that eat too much of it will experience stomach distress for at least two days.
A 20-pound dog can die from eating just 2 ounces of baker’s chocolate, cocoa powder, or high-quality dark chocolate, while as little as 0.4 ounces will cause poisoning symptoms.
A dog weighing 20 pounds would be killed by eating 20 ounces of milk chocolate. Although there is no danger of poisoning from white chocolate, the high fat and sugar content can cause severe gastrointestinal distress that may necessitate veterinary attention.
How much theobromine is in cocoa butter?
Cocoa powder, dark chocolate, and white chocolate are all derived from cocoa beans, so they all contain theobromine. Cocoa liquor (cocoa solids) and cocoa butter contain varying amounts of theobromine, which is determined by the length of time the cocoa beans were fermented before being processed.
Approximately one percent of cocoa beans are theobromine. However, the theobromine content of cocoa butter can differ depending on the type of cocoa bean used and the method of processing.
For instance, the theobromine content of natural cocoa powder is higher than that of Dutch-processed cocoa powder. Cocoa butter typically contains between 26 mg/Kg and 140 mg/Kg of theobromine.
However, depending on the processing method, it can be found in cocoa butter at a lower concentration. In fact, the theobromine content of most commercially available cocoa butter brands is only 1%-2%.
How much cocoa butter would it take to kill a dog?
Toxicity levels of theobromine for dogs have been the subject of much discussion and study amongst veterinarians and scientists.
The exact amount of chocolate that is fatal is unknown, but research has shown that pup size, type, and amount consumed all play a role in severity levels of toxicity.
A report states that dogs experience mild toxic effects at 20 mg/kg and severe signs at 40-50 mg/kg. In most cases, 60 mg/kg causes seizures.
Is cocoa powder any safer than cocoa butter?
To the contrary, there is evidence that cocoa powder may be even more harmful than cocoa butter. It’s because your dog could get sick or die from eating even a small amount of cocoa powder, which has a higher concentration of theobromine than cocoa butter.
Among the many forms of chocolate, cocoa powder and cocoa butter are two of the most versatile. To make cocoa powder, cocoa beans are first ground into a fine powder, while cocoa butter is created by pressing the beans to extract their fat.
Caffeine and theobromine, which are found in abundance in cocoa powder and cocoa butter, are toxic to dogs.
Cocoa powder also has oxalates, which are known to be harmful to the kidneys. Due to these concerns, it’s best to keep your dog away from chocolate and cocoa-based treats.
Ingestion of cocoa powder or cocoa butter can be toxic to dogs, so keep an eye out for symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, excessive panting, tremors, and seizures. In the event that you notice any of these signs, it is imperative that you schedule an appointment with your veterinarian right away.
What should I do if my dog eats cocoa butter?
Cocoa butter (or cocoa butter lotion) is perfectly safe for your dog to eat if he or she licks it off your nose. If they take more, however, you must:
- You should consult a vet about whether or not it is necessary to induce vomiting. ” They will require the amount of cocoa butter your dog consumed.
- A dog should be monitored for at least 24 hours after ingesting cocoa butter or products containing cocoa butter. They may be experiencing stomach distress, such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
- Mild diarrhea and/or vomiting can be treated with a bland diet of white rice and skinless chicken breast until the dog’s symptoms subside.
- Your dog needs to be seen by the vet immediately if they are vomiting excessively or have bloody diarrhea.
- The same goes for your dog if he or she develops a high temperature, lacks energy, loses interest in food, shakes uncontrollably, or has a seizure.
- Call your vet or animal poison control if you are unsure of what to do after your pet has ingested something potentially harmful.
Symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs
Please contact your vet immediately if your dog has consumed any amount of chocolate, regardless of the type.
The severity of chocolate poisoning in a dog depends on many factors, including the dog’s sensitivity to theobromine, the amount of chocolate consumed, the type of chocolate consumed, and the dog’s body weight. There may be symptoms as soon as two hours after eating chocolate.
Toxic effects of chocolate include:
- Increased heart rate
- Restlessness or agitation
- Dryness of the mouth
- Urinary frequency and volume increase
- Spasms in the muscles
Is cocoa butter lotion safe for dogs?
When applied topically, cocoa butter lotion is completely safe for canines. Applying cocoa butter lotion to your dog’s paws and nose is fine, but since pets have a tendency to lick things off themselves and lotion contains additional ingredients that aren’t meant to be ingested, you might want to switch to using pure cocoa butter instead.
Instead, try using the lotion, but only a small amount at a time, and giving it plenty of time to soak in before leaving your dog unattended.
Coconut oil, olive oil, and shea butter are some other alternatives. Small amounts of any of these can be applied to your dog’s nose or paw pads. Although it comes from the nut of the African shea tree, shea butter has no culinary applications.
It’s included in some dog hair conditioners due to its hydrating qualities. After shampooing, apply a conditioning cream and let it sit on the coat and skin for a few minutes before rinsing.
Are there any dog-friendly substitutes for cocoa butter (moisturizers)?
If you’re looking for a substitute for cocoa butter that is safe for canines, you have several choices. Try a hypoallergenic lotion or moisturizer, or whip up a batch of your own that won’t bother your dog.
Start by combining a few tablespoons of coconut oil with a few tablespoons of olive oil to make your own moisturizer. Then, incorporate some lavender essential oil by adding a few drops and stirring. When necessary, rub this concoction into your dog’s skin.
While cocoa butter should not be used around canines, there are plenty of alternatives. Get the advice of your vet before using cocoa butter on your dog. They will know what is best for your dog and will be able to recommend a product.
Is shea butter any safer?
The nuts of the African shea tree yield a fatty substance called shea butter, which becomes solid when exposed to air. The “traces” left in pure shea butter during the pressing process that removes impurities from cocoa butter are not harmful.
Shea butter has a higher melting point than cocoa butter, so it won’t melt as you rub it into your skin.
It’s not known for sure whether or not shea butter is safe for dogs to eat, similar to the situation with cocoa butter.
While some report it to be completely risk-free, others warn of the potential for gastrointestinal distress.
If you want to err on the side of caution when feeding your dog something new, it’s best to check with your vet first.
Due to its high fat content, shea butter can make a dog sick to its stomach. Toxins in shea butter could also be dangerous for your dog. Because of these dangers, it’s best to keep your dog away from anything that contains shea butter.
Are there any dog-friendly substitutes for cocoa butter (baking)?
There are, in fact, some excellent alternatives to cocoa butter (in baking):
Unlike cocoa butter, peanut butter is fine for dogs to eat. Dogs should not consume xylitol, so always check the ingredients.
Dogs can safely consume carob, a chocolate-like substance. It can be substituted for cocoa butter in any baking application. Carob has three times as much calcium as cocoa powder but none of the caffeine.
Alternatives to cocoa butter that are safe for dogs to ingest include coconut oil. Make sure to use pure, unrefined, virgin coconut oil for your dog’s best results.
Cocoa butter (or any of the above substitutes) is a great addition to your dog’s diet, but as with any new food or supplement, you should introduce it slowly and gradually increase the amount as tolerated.
When introducing a new diet or supplement to your dog, it’s always a good idea to double check with your vet first.
The bottom line
The fat obtained from cocoa beans is called cocoa butter, and it is commonly used in products designed to treat dry skin. Chocolate is made from cocoa beans as well. Theobromine, a compound closely related to caffeine, is responsible for chocolate’s toxicity to canines.
Cocoa butter contains negligible amounts of theobromine and can be used to safely moisturize your dog’s skin or nose. It’s probably safe to let your dog lick the cocoa butter skin care product off its nose.
Extra licks of lotion or pure cocoa butter on your dog’s fur could cause an upset stomach. Any dog that ingests chocolate, in any form, is in urgent need of veterinary care.
Toxic symptoms may appear in as little as two hours. You should contact a pet poison control center or a veterinary hospital that is open 24/7 if your pet experiences an emergency when your regular vet is closed.