Looking for a chocolate substitute that is appropriate for dogs? Most of us are aware that chocolate is not safe for our dogs, but when Valentine’s Day or other festivity involving chocolate like Easter or Halloween is around the corner, countless veterinarian offices get loads of phone calls about dogs who have eaten chocolate. Sometimes, no matter how hard dog owners try, dogs somehow manage to get into that box of chocolates left unattended on the counter or steal that chocolate bar left in a purse. In some other unfortunate incidents, dog owners simply aren’t aware of the dangers chocolate may pose to their dogs. They may assume it’s fine if their dog gobbles up some chocolate, only to find out later their dog is sick. Many dog owners admit to regret the fact that they cannot share chocolate with their dogs, but recently many doggy bakeries have been using a chocolate substitute so dog owners can share their love with their pooches. So today’s trivia question is:
What ingredient is often used as a chocolate substitute for dogs?
A Peanut butter
B Liver pate’
The answer is:
If you answered A, peanut butter, your dog may sure like peanut butter, but it’s really not vaguely much similar to chocolate is it? To look like chocolate, it would need a makeover of some type to turn brown and chocolaty. While many people use peanut butter as an ingredient when they bake their dog treats, consider that not all peanut butter is safe for dogs. In our article “is peanut butter bad for dogs?” we provide some details about some types of peanut butter to avoid. If you answered B, liver pate’, sure its color is getting closer to chocolate-like, but it’s still not there. While your dog will likely lick his chops and wolf it down given the opportunity, let’s face it, the flavor of liver pate’ is a far cry from chocolate. Even if you could afford giving your dog liver pate’ consider that it may have some added ingredients that might not really be healthy for dogs. If you answered C, applesauce, consider that many dog owners use applesauce to make dog treats, but comparing it to chocolate is sort of like comparing apples and oranges.
So the correct answer is D, carob!
Safe Chocolate Substitute for Dogs
Carob has been used as a chocolate substitute for humans for some time already, so it’s not surprising if it’s now being also used in dog treats. The carob tree, Ceratonia siliqua, produces special pods which are naturally sweet and somewhat resemble the taste of chocolate but without the harmful theobromine. The ASPCA Poison Control website lists carob as non-toxic to dogs, non-toxic to cats and non-toxic to horses. As a plus, carob is packed with bonus nutrients like vitamins and minerals.
While your refined palate may notice a difference between the flavor of carob and chocolate, most dogs will love carob treats which is why more and more dog bakeries are adding carob powder and carob chips in their cookies. If you ever felt sorry that your dog couldn’t enjoy a warm, freshly baked chocolate chip cookie with you, you may be happy to bake your dog a batch of yummy “carob chip cookies” instead! Christina Gerling, technician at Eagle Animal Hospital in Chester Spring PA, suggests incorporating carob chips into homemade dog biscuits or melting the chips so the carob can be drizzled on the top of your pet’s favorite safe treats or even over banana slices. And if you are not too eager to bake, you can likely find some great dog cookies dipped in carob or some tasty carob sandwich cookies such as those made by Three Dog Bakery. Is your pup’s birthday coming up? You can even buy a “pup-tastic” carob-based birthday cake at your local dog bakery.
ASPCA Poison Control: Carob
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