Is Carob a Dog-Friendly Substitute for Chocolate?
Researching for our Dog Licks Dog-Friendly Recipes, we looked for a Dog-Friendly Substitute for Chocolate. We found Carob and we were very impressed with the benefits for dogs and humans.
Chocolate is delicious and great for decorating cupcakes or cookies but it can be dangerous for dogs. We discovered this when Kilo the Pug stole and ate a whole tray of dark chocolate brownies and had to get treated at the vet in his first month with us (we did not realise how high he could jump and just how greedy he is). He was fine after expelling the brownies and he still loves the smell of chocolate. See some tips we have learned from our experiences with Kilo for keeping your dog safe.
According to the ASPCA and other sources, carob is safe for humans, dogs, cats, and even horses. It may even give them some health benefits.
What Is Carob?
Carob is a chocolate substitute that can be ground into powder, melted or made into chips, just like chocolate. Carob has a similar rich dark brown colour and naturally sweet flavour.
Grown in the Mediterranean, carob comes from the pod of a flowering carob tree in the pea family called the Fabaceae. Chocolate is made from the seeds of the cacao tree.
Unlike commercial chocolate, carob does not contain stimulants like caffeine, phenylethylamine or fromamide, making it a great potential substitute for humans too.
Is Carob Safe For Dogs?
Yes – carob is reportedly safe. It does not contain theobromine, a compound found in chocolate, which is poisonous for dogs. If your dog ingests chocolate, call your vet or the ASPCA Hotline immediately.
Dogs metabolize theobromine much slower than humans. This may allow toxic levels of theobromine to build up in a dog’s body and can cause many health problems.
*Dark chocolate and baking chocolate have the highest levels of theobromine followed by milk chocolate and white chocolate.
Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs May Include:
- upset stomach
In severe cases, symptoms could include:
- muscle tremors
- internal bleeding
- irregular heart beat
- heart attack
Health Benefits of Carob
Turns out carob seems pretty healthy for both humans and pets.
Unlike commercial chocolate, carob does not contain stimulants like caffeine, phenylethylamine or fromamide (I’d never even heard of the last 2). It is sweeter than cocoa so usually requires less sugar in recipes.
It is sweeter than cocoa so usually requires less sugar than most chocolate recipes (that means less calories). I found it tastes like sweetened dark chocolate and will test adding milk for myself in some future recipes I think as I love milk chocolate.
- Lots of vitamins, including A, B, B1, B2, B3, B6, D and E
- 3 times as much calcium as cocoa
- Several other healthy minerals
Dog-Friendly Recipes With Carob
Make your dogs homemade treats more fun with a carob dip, drizzle or icing or flavour. We’ve tried icing made from the powder on a couple of our Dog Licks treats and loved the way they turned out.
It is very easy to prepare, simply add water to the powder as I did or melt 1 ½ cups of carob chips in a double boiler with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil.
Given the taste and the benefits, I was surprised that Carob is not more popular or readily available. I had to go to 4 stores and finally found the powder at Whole Foods.
Spoil your pup with a sweet “Chocolate” treat using Dog-Friendly Carob! Comment below if you know about Carob.
Please note, we are not vets or nutritionists or experts. Dogs should always enjoy treats in moderation. Always consult your vet or trusted resource before trying new foods, or if your dog eats chocolate.