White chocolate is highly unlikely to be toxic. But, dogs still should not eat it. With high levels of sugar and fats, white chocolate can still make your dog feel very sick. Instead, stick to dog-friendly chocolate alternatives like carob.
Is White Chocolate a “Dog-Safe” Chocolate?
Did your dog eat white chocolate and you’re scared they have chocolate poisoning? Have you ever wondered if white chocolate is a safer alternative than other types for your dog?
If your dog has been begging to taste your favorite chocolate bar, you should hold off.
While the white chocolate isn’t as dangerous for your dog as dark chocolate, it’s also not a good treat. Play it safe with chocolate alternatives.
Is White Chocolate toxic for Dogs?
It’s a well-known fact that common milk chocolate and baking chocolate are toxic for dogs. It’s one of the foods that dog owners are told to avoid at all costs.
But, there seems to be some confusion about white chocolate.
Unlike dark chocolate or milk chocolate, white chocolate is not toxic or poisonous. White chocolate will not lead to chocolate poisoning in dogs. Even so, it’s not safe to be feeding it to your dog.
Health Risks of Consuming White Chocolate for Dogs
If white chocolate rarely poses as fatal for dogs, why should you avoid it?
There are other health risks to consider with chocolate. This is due to the high levels of sugar, fat, and other unhealthy ingredients.
The combination of high sugar and high-fat content in white chocolate is a recipe for disaster.
It is estimated that 25-30% of the dogs in North America meet the qualifications to be labeled obese. Excess body weight is about more than just appearance.
Obesity increases your dog’s risk of:
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
To prevent weight gain, feed your dog a healthy, balanced diet. Chocolate of any form doesn’t fit into that.
Potentially life-threatening if left unaddressed, pancreatitis is often associated with high-fat diets.
The condition is characterized by inflammation of the pancreas.
Pancreatitis causes the digestive enzymes in this area of the body to activate early. In turn, they cause damage to the pancreas, surrounding tissues, and nearby organs.
This damage can cause significant pain for your dog. Organ damage can also lead to serious health complications.
A diet that contains too much sugar over time can interrupt the body’s insulin response.
The pancreas is overworked, trying to keep up with the excess sugar levels. Eventually, it will fail.
This causes the body to stop producing insulin properly. As your dog’s blood sugar climbs this can lead to further complications from diabetes.
The effects of diabetes can impact many different areas of your dog’s body.
Potential complications include blindness, kidney failure, liver problems, and ketoacidosis.
Urinary Tract Infections:
This is a complication associated with diabetes and high blood sugar levels.
In its early stages, a urinary tract infection will be uncomfortable for your dog. Your dog may strain or whimper when trying to urinate.
Additionally, you may notice accidents happening around the house with a trained dog.
Urinary tract infections are quite common. You can treat the infection with medications and the prognosis is good.
But, a UTI that has been left untreated can lead to further serious health complications.
Theobromine Poisoning Unlikely
Most chocolate is highly toxic due to the presence of a chemical called theobromine.
Like caffeine, theobromine is a stimulant. This means that it speeds up your heart rate and gives the body a boost of energy.
The difference is that the energy is longer lasting and more relaxed than caffeine.
Dogs are far more sensitive to these effects. Plus, the stimulant stays in their body far longer than it does with humans.
White chocolate does still contain theobromine. The difference is that the amount is much lower than other types of chocolate.
Theobromine levels in chocolate:
- Dark Chocolate: as high as 130-40 mg per ounce
- Milk Chocolate: 44-58 mg per ounce
- White Chocolate: 0.25 mg per ounce
The fact that the theobromine levels in white chocolate are so low is why it is considered non-toxic. To ingest enough of the stimulant to be dangerous, your dog would have to eat a massive amount of the chocolate.
Signs of Theobromine Poisoning
Every dog is different, and so too are their tolerance levels. While white chocolate is non-toxic for most dogs in smaller doses, this isn’t always true.
If you suspect that your dog may have eaten chocolate, you should watch closely for signs of trouble.
The most common signs of theobromine poisoning include:
- Increased thirst
- Excessive urination
- Elevated or abnormal heart rate
- Heart failure
If you notice any of these signs, contact your veterinarian or the local emergency clinic. This can be fatal and immediate care is necessary.
Will a Small Amount of White Chocolate Hurt My Dog?
Most dogs will survive a small amount of white chocolate without any major problems.
This isn’t to say they won’t be ill. The excess fat and sugar may still upset your dog’s digestive system.
But, there is no guarantee that your dog won’t experience more serious problems.
For this reason, it is important to take precautions and keep white chocolate out of reach.
What Happens When A Dog Eats White Chocolate?
Regardless of how much white chocolate candy your dog ate, there is a good chance they will feel ill.
With high sugar and fat levels, it can cause nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea in an otherwise healthy dog.
Theobromine toxicity is unlikely, but that doesn’t mean that there is no risk. Some dogs will show signs of poisoning with lower levels of the stimulant than others.
If the fat content in the chocolate causes pancreatitis, you may start to see symptoms. This includes loss of appetite, a painful abdomen, vomiting, nausea, panting, and restlessness.
There is a chance that your dog will only experience mild nausea, but it’s not a chance you want to take!
What Should I Do if my Dog Ate White Chocolate?
If your dog manages to get ahold of white chocolate, be cautious. Keep a close eye on your dog and watch for signs of trouble. This includes both symptoms of digestive problems and the signs of theobromine poisoning.
Some people might think they need to induce vomiting and call their local animal hospital immediately. Before you do anything call your veterinarian to discuss the situation. Again White chocolate is not toxic to dogs.
Try to provide as much information as possible. This includes how much white chocolate they ate and any signs of illness.
Your vet will be able to tell you about any potential problems that your dog may face based on medical history.
Healthy Alternatives to White Chocolate for Dogs
Here’s some healthy alternative sweet treats pet owners can give to their furry friends.
A popular alternative for chocolate, carob looks like the sweet treat. It is made from roasted carob tree pods, free from theobromine.
Looking surprisingly like chocolate, carob is often used as a chocolate icing alternative.
It can also be used as a substitution when baking. For example, chocolate chips can be swapped out for carob chips.
There is a slight difference in taste. Carob is often described as sweeter and less bitter.
Another alternative, yogurt can be used to make icing that resembles white chocolate.
When spread on your decorative dog cookies, yogurt icing will harden. This allows you to create more elaborate decorations.
Not only does yogurt look and taste great for your dog, it’s also healthy.
Yogurt is a source of calcium, protein, and probiotics. It can help boost your dog’s immune system and ease an upset stomach.
If the alternative you’re looking for is a sweet treat, apple is a great option. Plus, it offers some great health benefits.
Apples contain high levels of vitamins A and C, potassium, and fiber. This can boost your dog’s immune system, aid in digestion, and help your dog lose weight.
This is a snack that you can add to your dog’s food as a healthy topper or shared as a snack between you.
Final Thoughts: Can dogs eat white chocolate?
Returning to the original question, can dogs eat white chocolate? The short answer is no.
While white chocolate isn’t toxic like other types, it’s also not a healthy snack.
If you are looking to share a sweet treat with your dog, reach instead for a healthy alternative.