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What Animals Can Eat Chocolate?

Written by: Annemarie Dutton
Last updated on:
image of 2 rats

Chocolate is a popular treat, even among animals. However, not all animals can eat this candy. Not knowing what animals can eat chocolate could be fatal to them.

There are different chocolate variations, but most have the same basic ingredients. Chocolates have cocoa or cacao, sugar, butter, and milk. Some also contain emulsifiers, vegetable fats, vanilla, and food colorings.

Remember these ingredients before giving any animals chocolate. 

What animals can safely eat chocolate?

There are only a few animals who can eat chocolate without risking their health. 

  • Rats

Rats can safely eat chocolate. Chocolates can help boost their mood and give them flavonoids, which help them fight oxidative stress. 

Chocolates contain toxic ingredients such as caffeine and theobromine. Rats can tolerate these substances in moderate dosages.

  • Adult Rabbits

Adult rabbits can also eat a moderate amount of chocolate, preferably less than half an ounce. Do not feed baby rabbits or bunnies chocolate. Caffeine and theobromine can poison them instantly. 

  • Squirrel

Squirrels can eat chocolate, but in moderation. 

The recommended theobromine intake should not be more than 0.5 mg. Always consider their weight and size before feeding them.

What chocolate is safe for animals?

The color of chocolate does not matter.. Only the amount you feed to an animal does

The smaller the amount, the better. Give them a minimal portion that won’t hurt their health. 

Adult animals can process chocolates faster than baby animals. Their digestive system is mature enough to absorb the chocolates but, again, only in moderation. 

Carob can be a rewarding sweet treat for animals as an alternative for chocolate.

Carob is a plant that tastes like chocolate. It has no caffeine and theobromine and is nutritious. 

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What animals cannot each chocolate

image of dog and cat

There are more animals that cannot eat chocolate than ones that can. Many animals are lactose intolerant. Chocolates will hurt their digestive system.

If your pet belongs on this list, do not feed  them chocolate.

  • Dogs

Chocolates contain a high amount of sugar. Large portions of chocolate can cause vomiting and diarrhea in canines, causing pneumonia, dehydration, and even death.

Dogs with heart-related illnesses can have heart attacks even with a small amount of chocolate. 

  • Cats

Like dogs, cats are naturally lactose intolerant. But they will not eat chocolate because they do not have a sweet tooth.  

Their taste buds don’t sense sweetness. But if they do, cocoa can cause sudden death to cats because of its toxicity.

  • Chicken and birds

The digestive systems of chickens and birds are sensitive to chocolates, causing diarrhea and vomiting if eaten.

Likewise, chocolate can damage and cause death to the the nervous system of these animals.

  • Horse

Horses are sensitive to theobromine, a substance in cocoa. Large portions of chocolate can kill a horse. Even a small amount is not good. Like any mammals, horses are chocolate intolerant.

Most mammals cannot consume chocolates. Do not do it.

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Reasons Why Chocolate is Harmful to Animals

image of chocolate

The caffeine in cocoa contains a toxic substance called theobromine that harms animals. 

Humans metabolize the cocoa substances. Unfortunately, animals do not. Their digestive system cannot process too much caffeine and theobromine which causes heart attacks and upset stomachs.

Chocolate poisoning in animals

Chocolate poisoning is caused by excessive theobromine and caffeine. These toxic substances affect the nervous system of most animals. 

When the nervous system cannot withstand the poisonous effect, it shuts down, leading to cardiac arrest and death.

Even humans experience an increased heart rate due to high amounts of caffeine. The same is true for animals. 

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