Is Nutella Bad for Dogs?

Nutella has become a staple in almost every household and is enjoyed by kids and adults alike. But if you’re a pet owner, you know that humans aren’t the only ones who can’t seem to resist this delicious spread.

Just like humans, dogs are also tempted to taste this hazelnut spread that can be paired with a wide variety of foods and snacks. But just because your dog has a penchant for all things chocolate doesn’t mean you should give in to his desires and his puppy dog eyes.

This brings us to our question, is Nutella bad for dogs?

A simple answer to this question would be yes; it is.  Even though feeding everything in moderation to your dog is ideal, there are some foods, like cocoa, that should simply be avoided because they can put your pet’s health at risk.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at a few primary ingredients that are used to make Nutella, learn about chocolate toxicity in dogs, some symptoms you need to watch out for, and how you can keep your dog from eating Nutella.

What’s in the Nutella Spread?

Nutella is a sweetened hazelnut and cocoa spread that’s made with sugar, milk, cocoa, and hazelnut. All of these ingredients can be harmful to your dog, especially if they’re consumed in a larger quantity. If you care about your dog’s health, you should avoid feeding him any food that contains chocolate.

Even though Nutella is marketed as a delicious chocolate paste, you may be surprised to learn that the primary ingredients that are used to prepare it are sugar and palm oil. Let’s take a look at these ingredients in detail to determine whether they’re safe for your dogs or not.

Watch this video about Nutella spread.

Cocoa

Chocolate is one of the most popular foods that are known to cause food poisoning in dogs, but you should note that it isn’t the cocoa content that you should be concerned about when your dog accidentally eats some Nutella. That’s because it only contains about 7.4% of cocoa powder, which isn’t enough to poison a dog.

You should be more worried about the high sugar content as excessive intake of sugar can make your dog extremely sick.

Hazelnut

Nutella is made with silken hazelnut paste. This paste is prepared from hazelnuts that were mildly roasted and finely ground. Fortunately, hazelnuts are one of the few nuts that aren’t toxic to dogs.

Palm Oil

Palm oil is a common ingredient that’s added to many human foods, and it’s a vegetable oil that’s widely consumed all over the globe. It’s also sometimes added to dog treats as filler. Even though palm oil isn’t necessarily poisonous for dogs, it can have a laxative effect on them and, in some cases, even cause dehydration and diarrhea.

When your dog consumes a high-fat food, such as palm oil, there’s a chance that he may start showing signs of chronic pancreatitis, so it’s safer to avoid feeding them foods like Nutella that are high in fat content.

Skimmed Milk Powder

Even though skimmed milk powder doesn’t contain any cream or fat, that doesn’t make it a non-dairy product. It has about 11 grams of lactose, so if your dog is lactose intolerant, like most dogs, then you should avoid offering Nutella to him as a treat. 

Some canines are also known to be allergic to the protein content in milk. If your dog ingests Nutella in your absence, you should especially watch out for symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting.

Vanillin

Another ingredient that’s used to make Nutella is synthetic vanillin. This is done to get the same aroma as natural vanilla. Natural vanilla extract isn’t safe for dogs due to its alcohol content. Alcohol-free vanilla extracts are usually prepared from vegetable glycerin, so vanillin is one ingredient in Nutella that you don’t need to worry about.

Lecithin

A small quantity of lecithin is also added to Nutella to enhance the smoothness of the spread. It’s extracted from non-genetically modified beans, and it’s mostly safe for dogs because of the high protein content. It’s also used in dog foods and dog supplements for that particular reason. Still, it’s advisable to feed everything in moderation to your dog.

Sugar

High sugar intake is extremely harmful to both you and your furry friend. Nutella contains about 21 grams of sugar that makes it an extremely unsafe food item for dogs. Dogs are known to have difficulty in digesting huge amounts of sugar, and this can lead to an upset stomach. 

An unusually high consumption of sugar can also result in pancreatitis. You should know that the risk of pancreatitis in dogs correlates with the amount of sugar or fat they’ve ingested. The symptoms of this condition appear within 24 to 48 hours and can worsen with time.

Following are some indicators of pancreatitis that you need to be wary of:

  • Dehydration
  • Lack of appetite
  • Stomach ache
  • Prolonged Diarrhea
  • Prolonged vomiting

What About Chocolate Toxicity by Nutella In Dogs?

All chocolates aren’t the same because some varieties may have more theobromine than the others. Theobromine is a compound that’s found in cocoa that makes chocolate bad for dogs.

Excessive intake of chocolate can cause theobromine poisoning in your dog that’s characterized by extreme hyperactivity. It can also result in the following symptoms:

  • Internal bleeding
  • Seizure
  • Heart Attack
  • Muscle tremors

Dark chocolate and chocolate used for baking purposes can cause more harm to dogs because they have more theobromine than white and milk chocolate. The size of your dog is also a deciding factor in how much chocolate is safe for them to consume. Most vets are against feeding chocolates to puppies because younger dogs are known to have a more sensitive stomach as compared to older dogs.

About two tablespoons or an ounce of cocoa powder can result in moderate to severe toxicity in a dog that weighs around 30 pounds. If your dog has ingested chocolate, but he’s not showing any symptoms, it’s still advisable to seek veterinary attention.

Watch the video below on chocolate toxicity in dogs.

What Are Symptoms of Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs?

If your furry friend has managed to scarf down a piece of your Nutella toast, there’s no need to panic. Often, eating just a little bit of Nutella may not do much harm to your dog. If you’re still concerned, you should wait around 6 to 12 hours as it can take that long for the symptoms of chocolate poisoning to appear, and they may last up to three days. 

If your dog has consumed a large amount of the spread, here are some symptoms that you need to watch out for:

  • Restlessness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive urination
  • Muscle tremors
  • Seizures
  • Abnormal or elevated heart rate
  • Collapse and death

It’s important to note that older dogs that have heart conditions are more likely to experience sudden death as a result of chocolate poisoning.

What to Do If Your Dog Eats Nutella and Shows Signs of Poisoning?

It’s unlikely that eating a little quantity of Nutella will result in life-threatening illnesses, but it’s wise to get in touch with your vet or an animal poison control center and seek their advice on what you need to do next.

If your dog has only ingested a small amount, your vet may walk you through a treatment that you can safely try at home, and you may not have to take your dog to the clinic. However, if you’re unsure of the amount of Nutella that’s been ingested, you may need to take your dog in for a treatment to make sure their health isn’t at risk.

The vet may ask you to monitor your dog closely for the next few hours to look for the symptoms and call them back if the condition doesn’t get any better. They may also ask you to bring your dog in for an examination so they can check for any signs of pancreatitis.

For larger ingestion, they may try one of the following treatments:

  • If it’s been less than 2 hours since your dog consumed the chocolate, the vet may induce vomiting.
  • They can also give your dog several doses of activated charcoal. This will help get rid of the toxins from the body and prevent them from being absorbed into the bloodstream.
  • In severe cases, the vet may provide supplemental treatment, like IV fluids or medications, to help relieve the effects of poisoning.
  • If your dog is suffering from seizures, you may be asked to leave him at the clinic overnight so he can be monitored closely.

How to Keep Your Dog from Eating Nutella?

Feeding small amounts of milk chocolate may not be harmful to larger dogs, but it’s still not recommended to offer chocolate as a treat to your dogs. Here are some steps you can take to make sure your dog isn’t sneaking eating Nutella behind your back:

Keep Nutella Safely Out of Reach

The most obvious thing you can do is make sure your jar of Nutella is kept in a place where your dogs can’t reach them. Don’t forget about other chocolate items, such as cocoa powder or hot chocolate mix. Store them all on a high shelf or in a closet pantry.

You need to be especially careful during the holidays as well. Don’t leave any candy bags or homemade chocolate treats lying around where your dogs can easily get to them. If you’re craving some chocolate, you should make sure your dog isn’t in the same room as you, so they won’t be tempted to taste it.

Teach Your Dog to ‘Leave It’

You should teach your dog to respond to you when you command him to ‘leave it.’ It’s an incredibly easy command to teach that’s known to be quite effective in keeping dogs from eating an item that has fallen on the ground. The next time you notice your dog reaching for a piece of chocolate, feel free to use this command to make sure they stay away from it.

Crate-Train Your Dog

Your dog can still manage to eat things that are harmful to his body when you’re not around to supervise him. For times like these, you need to consider crate training him. Find a large enough crate for your dog and make sure it’s a comfortable and safe place for him. Place some of his favorite toys, a safety blanket, and some treats to make him feel more at home in the crate.

What Are Chocolate Substitute for Dogs?

You may be wondering if there’s any dog-safe chocolate you can feed your little pup, and you’ll be happy to know that there are many alternatives you can try instead. Carob chips happen to be one of them, and they’re perfectly safe for your dog. People who are allergic to chocolate can use these as well.

Carob is a plant that’s known to taste a lot like chocolate, but it’s a little bit on the sweeter side. It’s packed full of nutrients like magnesium, calcium, and B vitamins. It’s also a great source of protein and fiber. What makes it different from chocolate is that it doesn’t contain theobromine, caffeine, formamide, and phenylethylamine that are toxic to dogs.

You can get a little creative and make carob flavored treats at home. You can also try making carob dip or icing to make the treats look all the more tempting.

What Other Human Foods That Are Dangerous for Dogs?

Let’s take a look at some other human food that can be risky for your dog:

Caffeine

You should avoid giving anything that contains caffeine to your dogs as it contains chemicals known as methylxanthines that are incredibly toxic to dogs.

Cinnamon

Even though cinnamon isn’t toxic to dogs, ingesting a large amount can result in diarrhea, vomiting, and liver disease, so it’s safer to avoid it. 

Nuts

Nuts can be quite harmful to dogs and cause them to choke. Macadamia nuts are poisonous for them, and they’re known to cause lethargy, muscle weakness, and hyperthermia in dogs.

Coconut Products

Coconut water is high in potassium, so you should avoid feeding it to your dog. It can upset their stomach and cause diarrhea.

Avocados

Avocados may seem harmless to you, but they contain a substance known as persin that can be dangerous for your dog and lead to vomiting and diarrhea.

Raisins and Grapes

Raisins, grapes, currants, and sultanas are highly poisonous for dogs. Even a small quantity can result in kidney failure and, in extreme cases, death. You should always avoid feeding fruit cake or malt loaf that may contain these foods.

Cherries

Cherry pits have cyanide in them that’s quite poisonous. They’re also a choking hazard for dogs and can block their intestines if they swallow them.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits like lemons and oranges contain citric acid. Eating small amounts of peeled fruit doesn’t pose any health risk for some dogs, but it can still upset their stomach. When citric acid is consumed in large quantities, it can result in nervous system depression.

Onions, Chives, and Garlic

Onions, chives, and garlic are known to contain organosulfides that are extremely toxic to dogs and can cause stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. They can result in anemia in dogs.

Salty Foods

Feeding your dog foods that are high in sodium content can make them extraordinarily thirsty and lead to excessive urination. It can also lead to sodium ion poisoning if the quantity isn’t controlled.

Raw Eggs

Raw eggs can cause biotin deficiency in dogs that can significantly affect the health of their skin.

Under cooked or Raw Meat

Dog foods that have raw meat in them can also be poisonous to dogs. They may contain Salmonella and Escherichia coli that are two types of bacteria that can lead to food poisoning in both humans and dogs.

Watch the following video on harmful foods for dogs.

Final Thoughts on Is Nutella Bad for Dogs

You must keep your pet’s health as a priority and avoid feeding him Nutella or any other foods that contain chocolate and cocoa beans. No matter how little the amount is, these substances will only cause harm to your dog.

If your dog starts showing symptoms of chocolate poisoning, you should immediately get in touch with your local vet and tell him about the quantity he’s consumed. If his condition worsens, you need to take him in for treatment right away.

Just because Nutella is bad for dogs doesn’t mean you shouldn’t offer treats to your dogs every once in a while. There are a wide variety of foods that are equally delicious and make for great snacks for dogs, like oatmeal, raw and unsalted peanut butter, apples, and even pieces of chicken.

You need to feed everything to your dog in moderation and make sure he has a healthy diet that has all the nutrients his body needs to function optimally.