As a pet parent, you want the best for your dog at all times. From picking out the perfect bed to carefully researching diet and exercise, it’s natural to want to spoil them — especially with treats! While we all know that dogs can’t have chocolate, you might be wondering if they can have carob, a popular substitute for chocolate, is safe for dogs to eat.
Carob is a popular substitute for chocolate when it comes to dog treats. Rich in vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, it’s a source of fiber and perfectly safe for dogs to eat. While dogs can eat carob, it’s best to practice moderation.
While that’s the simple answer, there’s a lot more to cover when it comes to feeding dogs carob. Here’s what you need to know about your dog indulging in a little carob from time to time.
What is Carob?
Now that we know dogs can eat carob, what exactly is it? A popular substitute for chocolate, carob comes from the fruit of the carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua). The fruit looks like a dark brown pea pod.
Carob is sweet and healthy. Its health benefits date back to ancient Greece, around 4,000 years ago. The Greeks were the first to grow carob trees and harvest the fruit. Today, it’s used to make dog treats, as well as human snacks like fudge and brownies.
Carob comes in many forms but is mostly sold and produced as a powder, chips, syrup, extract, and supplemental pills. It’s packed with fiber and antioxidants and rich in essential vitamins and minerals.
Why Carob is a Popular Substitute for Chocolate in Dog Treats
The reason chocolate is poisonous to dogs is that it’s naturally high in caffeine and theobromine.
Caffeine is a drug that stimulates the central nervous system. Theobromine is a molecule found in plants (most notably chocolate) that also stimulates the central nervous system.
Dogs cannot metabolize caffeine or theobromine the way humans can, meaning the consumption of stimulants, while rarely fatal, can cause consequential illness. This is why chocolate is considered toxic to dogs, since it naturally contains caffeine and theobromine.
So, where does carob come in? Since it’s free of caffeine and theobromine, it’s a popular substitute for chocolate, since it’s naturally sweet and mimics the flavor of chocolate. Many dog-specific bakeries, treat brands, and homemade treats use carob to make carob peanut butter cups and carob chip cookies.
Signs and Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning
Generally, the darker the chocolate, the higher the caffeine and theobromine content. Depending on the size of your dog, the type of chocolate consumed, and how much of it was consumed, illness can vary. A teacup Chihuahua and a Great Dane eating a whole dark chocolate bar are two very different things.
It’s important to note that the severity of symptoms also depends on the amount of chocolate ingested. Complications can happen as a result of chocolate ingestion. If you suspect or know that your dog has eaten chocolate, contact your veterinarian right away.
Symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs include but aren’t limited to:
- Drinking excessive amounts of water
- Excessive urination
- Racing heart rate
- Muscle tremors
- Heart failure
Some of these symptoms are rare and only occur in severe cases. However, not all cases of chocolate ingestion are the same.
Other Foods That Contain Caffeine and Theobromine
Now that we’ve established that chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, you might be wondering what other foods contain these two chemical compounds.
While there are plenty of foods and beverages that contain caffeine, theobromine is almost exclusive to cocoa and chocolate-based products. That being said, avoid feeding your dog the following substances, treats, and beverages:
- Dark chocolate
- Milk chocolate
- White chocolate
- Cocoa powder
- Caffeinated teas
- Energy drinks
- Some forms of ice cream
Caffeine can be found in a variety of drinks, treats, and foods. It’s much more common than theobromine. If you’re worried a specific food item has caffeine in it and you’re hesitant to feed it to your dog, consult your veterinarian.
Theobromine, while not as common as caffeine, is still found in certain drinks, foods, and treats. Theobromine can be found in the following products:
- Cocoa and chocolate-based beverages
- Chocolate-based foods
- Green coffee beans
- Certain teas
The Difference Between Carob and Chocolate
The main difference between carob and chocolate is that carob doesn’t contain caffeine or theobromine while chocolate does, as we’ve established. This is what makes it a great substitute for dog treats.
Chocolate and carob have many similarities but also notable differences. Here’s what distinguishes them.
We now know that carob originated back in sncient Greece. In order for carob to be edible, the pods from the carob tree must first be harvested. Next, the pods are either dried or roasted, then crushed into powder. This is where carob becomes edible, as a powder.
Carob has a similar flavor profile to chocolate, but it does have its own distinct taste. Carob tends to be sweeter, lighter, and isn’t as rich as chocolate. Since carob is naturally sweet, it doesn’t require excess sugar or sweeteners when baking, much like chocolate does.
Carob is naturally rich in antioxidants, nutrients, and essential vitamins. It’s also relatively low in fat and sugar. In fact, carob has twice the amount of calcium compared to chocolate, doesn’t cause migraines, and is caffeine and fat-free.
Additionally, carob is rich in the following:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B-2
- Vitamin B-3
- Vitamin B-6
- High in fiber
- High in pectin
- High in protein
If you’re looking to make carob treats for your pup, the nutrition facts for two tablespoons of carob (about 70 calories) are as follows:
- 5 g of fat
- 2 g of protein
- 8 g of carbohydrates
- 7 g of sugar
- 2 g of fiber
- 50 g of sodium
- 8 percent of the recommended daily calcium intake
Most people think of chocolate in the form of milkshakes, brownies, or cake, but in its natural state (specifically dark chocolate), it can be healthy for humans. Dogs should never be fed chocolate since it’s naturally rich in caffeine and theobromine, as we’ve established.
However, chocolate varies greatly from carob. Here’s how.
To begin, chocolate comes from the cacao fruit and becomes cocoa powder in a process similar to carob. It is also harvested, dried, and crushed into powder. Carob is naturally sweet, while chocolate is naturally bitter. Chocolate requires sweetening with sugar or other sweeteners to become the touchstone treat we know it as.
Chocolate is a powerful antioxidant and very nutritious for us humans. Specifically, a bar of dark chocolate that contains 70 to 85 percent cocoa provides the following benefits:
- 11 g of fiber
- Provides 66 percent of the DV for iron
- Provides 57 percent of the DV for magnesium
- Provides 196 percent of the DV for copper
- Provides 85 percent of the DV for manganese
However, although chocolate can be great and highly beneficial for us, avoid feeding it to your dog so they don’t experience chocolate poisoning.
What Carob Chips Are the Best Treats For Dogs
When introducing new foods to your dog’s diet, it’s best to wait and watch their initial reaction. Just because it’s safe for dogs to consume, that doesn’t mean they should consume it in excess. That’s why carob chips are a wonderful treat.
Carob chips are a great way to introduce carob to your dog’s diet and monitor their reactions. Additionally, since they’re small (like chocolate chips), they won’t consume them in excess. They’re great to top onto homemade dog-friendly peanut butter or oatmeal cookies as well.
Related: Can Dogs Eat Frosting?
Other Sweet Treats That Are Safe For Your Dog to Eat
Carob is a great chocolate substitute, but it’s better alongside other dog-safe sweet treats. If you’re looking to bake some sweet treats for your pup but don’t know where to start, here’s a list of sweet treats that are safe for your dog to eat:
- Peanut butter
- Sweet potatoes
- Pumpkin puree
- Homemade fruit ice pops (water with apples, blueberries, or other dog-safe fruits)
- Unsweetened yogurt
- Apple wedges
Frequently Asked Questions
Carob is the closest dog-safe alternative for dogs. Fruits like blueberries and bananas are also safe.
Unlike chocolate, which is bitter in its natural form, carob has a sweet flavor.
All chocolate should be avoided for dogs, but white chocolate is the least harmful.
Conclusion for “Can Dogs Eat Carob”
All in all, spoiling your dog from time to time with sweet treats can be a happy and healthy experience. As long as you don’t overdo it, and are super careful of chocolate additives, your pup can enjoy sweets in moderation. Happy baking!
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Learn more by watching “10 Human Foods Your Dog Can Eat – A Taste Test!” down below:
Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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