Carob: the dog-friendly alternative to chocolate

Reviewed by our experts. More info
Louise Hawkins

Say hello to the superfood ingredient, carob powder!

Carob has a similar taste to chocolate but isn’t toxic for dogs, it even has multiple health benefits — ideal (and tasty) for your pup!

Introducing the carob superfood solution

If your dog hears the rustle of a wrapper from two rooms away, you can give in to those big puppy dog eyes with a dog-safe carob treat. 

With multiple health benefits and natural sweetness, carob powder is a great low-glycemic index ingredient for home-cooked dog treats.

What is carob?

The carob tree produces long brown pods containing edible pulp that can be eaten raw or roasted and ground into carob powder as an alternative to cocoa. 

Native to the Mediterranean and the Middle East, evergreen carob trees are grown worldwide to meet the increasing demand for this popular chocolate substitute.

The health benefits of carob powder

Carob powder is a powerful superfood, packed with nutritional benefits for your best friend. 

Polyphenol antioxidants reduce inflammation, oxidative stress and boost the good bacteria in your dog’s gut, and have the potential to reduce the risk of cancer

Carob has a rich concentration of fibre to support your dog’s digestive system and gut microbiome

Carob powder also provides essential minerals for optimal health:

  • Calcium for sturdy bones and cartilage

  • Magnesium for cell function and energy

  • Potassium for strong muscles and functional kidneys, heart, and digestive system.

Unlike chocolate, carob powder is a GRAS (generally regarded as safe) ingredient for dogs approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

How to choose the right carob treat

Carob is sweet, but sugar and other ingredients, like palm oil, are often added to carob treats. Look for carob powder (aka carob flour) in its pure and organic form.

Always double-check the products don’t contain xylitol, which is highly toxic for dogs and can be fatal. 

Carob is a safe food for your pup, because of its sweetness it should only be enjoyed as an occasional special treat.

Why is chocolate toxic for dogs?

The cocoa in chocolate contains two substances called methylxanthines: theobromine and caffeine, both are poisonous to dogs. There are between 3-10 times the amount of theobromine than caffeine in chocolate, making it the most toxic of the two. 

Dark chocolate contains the highest proportion of methylxanthines, followed by milk chocolate. White chocolate tends to use cocoa butter, not cocoa solids but still should be avoided. 

Theobromine acts like super-charged caffeine — it’s a diuretic but it also impacts your dog’s central nervous system, digestive system and cardiovascular system. 

Chocolate also contains:

  • Oxalic acid, an antinutrient that binds to minerals and can contribute to kidney stones

  • Phenylethylamine, a compound that may lead to side effects like an increased heart rate and agitation

  • Tyramine, a migraine-inducing amino acid (yes, dogs can get headaches too)

What are the signs of chocolate poisoning in dogs?

Yes, chocolate poisoning is a real thing! You might feel a bit sick after too many choccies at Christmas and Easter, but even a small amount of chocolate can make your dog very ill. 

Common signs of chocolate poisoning include:

  • Increased heart rate (tachycardia)

  • Rapid breathing and panting

  • Hyperactivity

  • Over-heating

  • Diarrhoea

  • Vomiting

  • Impaired muscle control and coordination

  • Rigidity, tremors or seizures

If you know your dog has eaten chocolate or you notice any of these signs, see your vet immediately. There’s no known antidote for chocolate poisoning, but instead, your vet may induce vomiting to lessen the toxicity. 

Pupper Supps: our new and improved recipe!

Our pupper pack spoke and we listened! 

We’ve included fairtrade-certified carob powder in a selection of our Pupper Supps recipes for a tastier bite and even more health benefits. You’ll find it in our Dental, Digestion and Calm Supps. 

“Carob powder is fantastic because not only is it super tasty and a joy to give to your dog it also has functional benefits for your dog! It provides minerals and polyphenol antioxidants which help cultivate healthy bacteria in your dog’s belly to manufacture a host of health-promoting substances.”

Dr Matthew Muir, Lyka Co-founder and Integrative Veterinarian

What Supp?

Pupper Supps are wholefood supplements for targeted and preventive health. Each daily dose is vet-formulated with Board-Certified Veterinary Nutritionists to provide a nutritional boost (with tasty carob powder) for Dental, Digestion or Calm benefits. 

This article was reviewed by Lyka's veterinary and nutrition experts

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