There are very few people in the world who don’t like chocolate.
That is – except for your dog. Your furry canine can never enjoy chocolate’s succulent sweetness, because it is toxic to dogs.
However, there is a way your pooch can enjoy chocolate aesthetics without all the canine-toxic chemicals that come with it: Just use carob — a dog-safe chocolate substitute — instead.
Quick Picks: Best Carob for Canines
- #1 Terrasoul Superfoods Organic Carob Powder [Best for Baking Your Own Treats]: This carob powder can be used to make your own chocolate-flavored treats for your canine — just use the carob powder in any recipe that calls for cocoa powder.
- #2 Puppy Cake Carob Cake Mix [Best Carob Cake Mix]: Baking a cake for your furry friend? This cake mix comes with everything you need to create a puppy-sized birthday cake.
- #3 Three Dog Bakery Classic Cremes Baked Dog Treats [Best Pre-Made Carob Cookies]: For those who don’t want to bake themselves, these premade cookies are a delicious option for any dog who loves sweets.
We’ll explain everything you need to know about carob below, and share a few great carob products and recipes, so your pooch can start enjoying a canine-safe version of chocolate.
What is Carob, and Is It Safe for Dogs?
Carob is a fruit that comes from the carob tree, hence the name. It is sweet and often considered a “healthy substitute” for chocolate. Its use in human diets dates back to ancient Greece.
Carob is usually bought as a powder or already made into desserts like cakes. However, you can also just eat the unprocessed carob pods by themselves (although that sounds kinda gross to us).
While the carob tree was initially grown in ancient Greece, it is cultivated throughout the world today.
It takes about six to seven years for a carob tree to begin producing pods. But once they mature, they’re quite prolific and get busy pumping out pods.
Carob is entirely safe for dogs because it does not contain caffeine or theobromine. It is also high in antioxidants and low in fat and sugar – so you may want to think about trying some yourself.
Carob can be substituted for chocolate in nearly any recipe at a one-to-one ratio. Carob chips are even available for recipes that call for chocolate chips. It works almost exactly like cacao and tastes similar too.
Why Do Owners Give Carob to Their Dogs?
Since dogs have never had chocolate before, they aren’t exactly missing out on its sweet, velvety texture.
And let’s be honest – dogs prefer stinky, wet, meaty smells over cacao. So why bother with carob at all?
Using carob as a dog-safe chocolate substitute is largely for the benefit of us humans. We love chocolate and chocolate-covered goodies, so we associate them as special treats.
Sometimes we want to give our dog a special treat – something that will make our dog as happy (or so we imagine) as chocolate makes us. And so, carob becomes the best choice!
If you’ve ever visited a high-end dog bakery, you know how alluring carob-covered dog treats can be. You may feel suddenly compelled to buy that chocolate-looking goodie for your darling fur baby.
Truthfully, your dog would probably be happier with a slice of bacon, but we want to spoil our dogs the way we spoil ourselves — with chocolate! Or, at the very least, something resembling it.
Carob and Carob-Containing Products for Your Dog
There are quite a few dog treats that contain carob. Some of these require some baking on your part, but others are premade.
1. Terrasoul Superfoods Organic Carob Powder
About: If you want to use carob in place of cocoa powder while baking for your buddy, Terrasoul Supper Foods Organic Carob Powder is a great option.
This product is certified organic and non-GMO, as well as being kosher and gluten-free. This powder will work to replace cocoa powder in any recipe.
- Inexpensive when compared to other, similar products
- Certified organic and non-GMO
- Large, 16-ounce container
- 100% money-back satisfaction guarantee for 30 days
This powder has been lightly toasted, so it has more of a chocolate flavor than most other options. Furthermore, it is organic, kosher, and vegan and has been 3rd party tested for purity and quality. Customers described the taste as a pleasant mix of coffee and chocolate.
This product does not taste exactly like chocolate, but it’s reportedly pretty close. Many people even reported making things like hot chocolate with it. However, it is not going to please everyone’s taste buds. Nevertheless, your canine will likely love it.
2. Hoosier Hill Farm Carob Drops
About: These Hoosier Hill Farm Carob Drops can be used as a substitute for chocolate chips in any recipe. They come in a resealable bag and have a similar taste to the cacao.
The farm these carob chips come from is in northeast Indiana, and they provide a freshness guaranteed.
- Used as a substitute for chocolate chips
- Comes in a resealable bag
- Carob tree farm located in Indiana
- Freshness guarantee
They can be used just like regular chocolate chips for any recipe. They are safe for pets and healthier for humans as well. They also come in a resealable bag, which is pretty convenient.
While they do taste somewhat similar to chocolate, they do taste a little different. These also have a bit more sugar in them than natural carob, and they are reportedly a bit waxy when you bite into them.
3. Puppy Cake Carob Cake Mix
About: The Puppy Cake Carob Cake Mix is specially designed for dogs. If you want to throw your puppy a birthday party, this is the canine cake mix to get. It comes with almost everything you need to make the cake, including the frosting.
Plus, you can use this mix to make dog cupcakes as well for a pup party!
- Can be baked or zapped in the microwave
- Comes with frosting
- Entirely safe for dogs, though it is somewhat high in sugar
- Other flavors available
This mix is entirely safe for your dog and comes with almost everything you need to make a cake, including the frosting. If you don’t want to worry about substituting carob into a regular cake recipe, this is a great option to try. Also, this cake can be frozen, which makes it easier to store for long-term canine snackin’.
The amount of cake mix you get with this product is smaller than usual. You are not going to be able to make a full-sized cake with it.
4. Three Dog Bakery Classic Cremes Baked Dog Treats
About: If you aren’t into baking, these premade Three Dog Bakery Classic Cremes Baked Dog Treats may be perfect for your pooch. Each box comes with 13 ounces of cookies made with carob and peanut butter.
All ingredients are natural and safe for dogs. The recipe even includes nutritional absorption aids.
- No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
- Made in the USA
- Great value
- Carob sandwich cookies with a natural peanut butter filling
Many owners reported that these cookies were so good that they ended up eating them themselves! These treats provide great value, and they are great for picky dogs or owners who’re looking to spoil their pets a bit.
The shipping and delivery of these cookies is sub-par, according to some customers. Some reported that they were shipped in an envelope, so they came crushed. Otherwise, they were a hit with most owners and dogs.
5. Three Dog Bakery Cookies
About: These Three Dog Bakery Cookies are made by the same company as the Classic Cremes discussed above.
However, these are not filled with cream and come in multiple flavors. These all-natural treats are suitable for any canine with a sweet-tooth.
- Assorted flavors, including oats & apple, peanut, and vanilla
- Includes only safe, healthy, all-natural ingredients
- Miniature wafers
- Contain no added salt, refined sugars, or artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
This bag comes with many different treat flavors, and they all appear to taste great to canines! Many customers reported that even their children loved the cookies. The treats are rather large too, so you’re getting good bang for your buck.
The treats might be somewhat too big for small dogs. However, you can always break them in half if necessary. These treats are not non-GMO and do contain wheat and canola oil, which some owners may want to avoid.
Why is Chocolate Dangerous for Dogs?
Chocolate is toxic to dogs because of two different chemicals it contains: theobromine and caffeine.
Theobromine — also known as xantheose — is a bitter alkaloid found in the cocoa plant, which is used to make chocolate. It can also be found in the tea plant and kola nut.
Many species can suffer negative reactions to theobromine if they eat too much of it, including humans.
However, dogs are quite a bit smaller than people (and more sensitive to theobromine), so it doesn’t take very much of the antagonistic alkaloid to make them sick.
Caffeine is also toxic to dogs and lots of other species in high dosages.
Once again, humans are also sensitive to caffeine, although the extent to which it affects people varies from individual to individual. But we are so large that it takes quite a bit of caffeine to cause any harm (but that harm can be serious in some instances).
Also, as with theobromine, dogs are more sensitive to the chemical than people are, so relatively small amounts can be dangerous.
Is Chocolate Always Dangerous for Dogs?
Chocolate should always be considered dangerous, but that doesn’t mean dogs will always get sick after eating some.
Whether or not your dog experiences adverse side effects varies based on a variety of things.
For example, the size of your dog matters a lot. A chihuahua is more likely to get sick from eating a given quantity of chocolate than a Bernese Mountain dogs is (although it remains dangerous for dogs of all sizes — it’s just more dangerous for small puppers).
Additional factors play a roll, like:
- the last time your dog ate
- the amount of chocolate your pooch ingested
- your dog’s individual sensitivity to chocolate
The type of chocolate consumed will also influence how sick your dog gets.
The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is to dogs.
Dark chocolate is far more toxic than white chocolate, for example. This is because dark and baking chocolates tend to have more theobromine than white or milk chocolates do — sometimes drastically so.
Unsweetened baker’s chocolate and dry cocoa powder are two of the most toxic forms of chocolate to dogs. Most serious reactions come from these forms of chocolate.
A small dog doesn’t have to eat much to run into serious problems.
In fact, it usually only takes about 1.3 grams of baker’s chocolate per kilogram of body weight for a dog to start experiencing toxic symptoms.
When a dog does eat enough chocolate to become sick, he will usually experience these symptoms:
After eating a potentially lethal quantity of chocolate, muscle tremors, seizures, and heart failure may develop. These are usually the cause of death for dogs that overdose on chocolate.
There are many different carob products available for dogs so that they can enjoy that delicious dog-safe chocolate taste without the health risk.
Has your pooch tried any of the snacks on this list? Have any other snacks you would recommend? Let us know in the comments below!