If you are a fan of the iconic Italian spreadable paste made from sugar, cocoa, milk and hazelnuts you might be wondering if you can give a spoon or two to your canine. Because let’s face it, every morning when you are spreading Nutella over your bread/pancakes/waffles he will be right there begging you to just have a little taste of it. But can dogs eat Nutella? Or is it as toxic as any other form of chocolate?
Can dogs eat Nutella?
To answer this question in the shortest way possible — No, dogs cannot eat Nutella. And the main reason why is because of the high levels of cocoa found in it.
While the actual amount of cocoa in a jar of Nutella isn’t disclosed, it would be pretty easy to guess that it has to be quite high. As it is found at the beginning of the ingredient list. Either way, even if the amount isn’t too high — even a low amount of cocoa can harm your dog’s health. Especially if given on a regular basis.
The two ingredients that make cocoa so problematic are theobromine and caffeine. Together they are called methylxanthines, and in most cocoa products the concentration of theobromine is higher than the one of caffeine. However, both of them have a pretty similar effect on the body of our dogs. While caffeine may be your secret weapon to waking up in the morning and boost your energy levels, the way these chemicals work on our dogs is much more concerning.
One ounce of Nutella should contain less than 64
mg of theobromine, however even that concentration can be risky for dogs. Especially of you own a very small or even miniature dog breed.
While a spoon of Nutella wouldn’t immediately kill your dog, there are still some unpleasant symptoms that he could experience. These include:
- Extremely rapid heart rate
Another issue with Nutella
Now if we would even completely forget about the theobromine situation (which you definitely shouldn’t, even if the concentrations are low) Nutella still wouldn’t be a good snack choice for your dog.
The other two main ingredients that Nutella is made of are sugar and fat. And trust us, there is a lot of both of them found in Nutella. Nutella contains 10.4 % of saturated fat and 58% of processed sugar by weight.
Needless to say, because of that Nutella is also very rich in calories. A two-tablespoon serving of Nutella contains 200 calories. A diet so rich in calories can only lead to weight gain, which can eventually make your dog obese. Obesity is one of the main risk factors of many common canine diseases such as heart failure or diabetes.
Additionally, all of the fat that is found in Nutella isn’t healthy either. Dogs don’t have it too easy to digest fat of any kind. So an excessive amount of it found in their diet could lead to conditions such as pancreatitis.
The risk of pancreatitis increases as the amount of sugar or fat increases. While one spoon of Nutella won’t cause immediate pancreatitis in your dog, over time he may still develop it. Especially if you usually feed him foods that are greasy or rich in unsaturated fat.
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It’s always good to recognize the signs of pancreatitis in dogs right away. Symptoms that may hint to this serious disease include:
- Abdominal pain
- Excessive vomiting
- Explosive diarrhea
- Lack of appetite
My dog ate some Nutella while I wasn’t looking! What should I do?
If your dog ate just a small amount of Nutella chances are that he won’t develop any symptoms at all.
However, you should still keep an eye on him and see if he will start acting differently in any way.
If you notice any symptoms like lethargy, stomach issues or vomiting, contact your vet right away. Chances are that you will have to take your dog the emergency do that he could be treated further.
Either way, the best thing you can do is to keep the Nutella away and out of your dog’s reach. And the next time that you are eating Nutella, give your dog a small amount of organic peanut butter to make up for it.
Food, diet and nutrition are such important topics for every dog owner. That’s why we have so many articles on it. Here are just some of them: