There are all sorts of scare stories out there about the best and worst foods to feed our dogs.
One of the worst, and most confusing issues for dog owners is chocolate.
While we know that we have to keep our dogs away from milk and dark chocolate because of the risk of poisoning. However, there is some confusion over the safety of white chocolate for dogs.
There are plenty of people that will say “my dog ate white chocolate and was fine!”, just as with many other food types. There is a chance that this is true, but we can’t ignore any potential risks when our pet’s health is at stake.
So, can dogs eat white chocolate and if so, how much is considered as safe.
The main area of concern here is toxicity: is white chocolate toxic to dogs?
The main reason that we advice all dog owners to keep their pets away from chocolate is because of one very important, and highly dangerous substance. It is all about theobromine.
This chemical is a stimulant, not unlike caffeine, that is pretty strong in certain types of chocolate. While this chemical adds to the appeal of chocolate and similar products for humans, dogs cannot process it and will get sick. In high doses, it can even be fatal.
Does white chocolate have theobromine?[thrive_text_block color=”blue” headline=””]Yes, and this is why there are concerns over dogs eating white chocolate. However, the levels are significantly different to both dark and milk chocolate, which is why some continue to feed it to dogs. [/thrive_text_block]
Dark chocolate contains levels as high as 130-40mg per ounce, this is 44-58mg per ounce in milk chocolate and just 0.25mg per ounce in white.
This therefore raises the question of is white chocolate safe for dogs when we compare these figures. If the levels are so low, surely there is no issue with white chocolate and dogs.[thrive_text_block color=”note” headline=””]The good news here is that signs of toxicity tend to occur with ingestion around 20mg per pound and fatalities around 100mg per pound. This means that dogs would need to eat a ridiculous amount to get sick, unlike milk chocolate. [/thrive_text_block]
If they are highly unlikely to deal with theobromine toxicity then why not give them white chocolate?
It would therefore appear that the answer to the question of is white chocolate bad for dogs is a simple no. This is the wrong attitude to take for the simple reason that chocolate is unhealthy for other reasons.
When we ask questions over what happens if a dog eats white chocolate, we immediately think of toxicity and ask are dogs allergic to white chocolate.[thrive_text_block color=”red” headline=””]The problem is much more simple that. Chocolate is full of sugar, fat and all those other unhealthy things that we are meant to avoid. It is why we are only meant to eat it in moderation. [/thrive_text_block]
White chocolate could still cause internal issues and digestion problems because of these contents. At its worst, there is also the potential that dogs could develop serious issues like pancreatitis. There are much healthier, tastier treats out there that dogs will prefer.
How much can we safely feed to a dog?
Even if you do decide to avoid actively feeding white chocolate to dogs, there is still the chance that they may steal some from the floor or the counter, especially if children aren’t as clued-up about feeding treats to their pets.
So, how much white chocolate can dogs eat? Can dogs eat white chocolate chips for example. These small morsels aren’t going to do much harm and shouldn’t lead to any gastric issues or discomfort.
The problems come from larger blocks and bars. Again, it takes a long time for dogs to feel the effects of toxicity, but they could still eat enough to make them feel sick.
This is never really going to be that big of an issue with something like a Rottie or Labrador, but there are always greater concerns about the food tolerances of smaller dogs like Yorkies and Chihuahua. If you feel they have eaten too much and are concerned about their welfare, take them to see a vet.
What if my dog really loves white chocolate and I use it as a reward?
There will be some dog owners that are using white chocolate drops as a way of providing a sweet reward for training.
While the health risks here are clearly minimal, it is important to keep this consumption under control. Where possible, it is best not to let dogs get hooked on chocolate and unhealthy human food. There are other sweet treats, like certain pieces of fruit and berries, that are much better for them.
A great alternative solution is white chocolate for dogs in the dog-friendly form of chocolate. You may have seen dog chocolate drops and treats in pet stores. They are fake products with none of the toxicity risks of real chocolate. There are white chocolate drops in some product lines. This could be a great substitution for pups that like the real thing.[thrive_text_block color=”blue” headline=””]The issues over can my dog eat white chocolate are one of the best examples of the confusion and grey areas in healthy eating for dogs. It is difficult for owners to keep up with what they should and shouldn’t be feeding to their pets. That is why the Dog Food Secrets e-book is such a great resource. Here owners are encouraged to give up all unhealthy food sources and create a menu with natural recipes and dog-friendly nutrition. [/thrive_text_block]
So, to summarize, can dogs eat white chocolate?
The short answer here would be yes, but they really shouldn’t.
There is no need for dogs to eat white chocolate and no good can come from it. You may think you are offering them a treat, but human treats and dog treats aren’t always the same thing.
While it is technically true that dogs and white chocolate can mix to a degree, it really isn’t worth the risk of illness and discomfort.
Is white chocolate poisonous to dogs? No, but that doesn’t automatically make it safe either. Be smart about what you feed your dogs and leave the human treats for the humans.