When you hear about chocolate, what do you think? It’s mouth-watering, right? But have you wondered if it is the same feeling for animals as well, or is it just humans?
As far as I know, people say don’t let your pet eat chocolate; otherwise, it will harm them, but is that true for all?
So to answer all your queries, I have compiled a list of animals that can eat chocolate and those that don’t. So here is the list of six common animals that eat chocolate.
Why Do Animals Eat Chocolate? (Nutritional Benefits)
Chocolate is considered toxic to animals and should never be provided to them. But there are some scenarios where consuming animals does not immediately cause harm to them.
However, it does not provide them with any nutrients. Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, which have stimulatory effects on the nervous system even if taken in small quantities.
Overall, we may conclude that chocolate is not an appropriate or healthy meal for animals.
6 Animals That Can Eat Chocolates
The first we have on our list is rats. Yes, you heard it right. This creature also eats chocolate.
Rats are opportunistic feeders and can consume a variety of foods, including chocolate. These organisms are capable of digesting theobromine just like humans but in small amounts.
Overeating can lead to gastrointestinal distress like vomiting and diarrhea, a high heart rate, restlessness, tremors, seizures, organ damage, and even death.
Rabbits also like to eat chocolate, but again in minute quantities. According to studies, only adult rabbits can consume it.
Overconsumption of it can lead to various health problems. They are not well equipped for chocolate digestion, and its components majorly affect their central nervous system.
Their toxicity leads to various problems, like restlessness, seizures, increased heart rate, digestive blockages, bloating, abdominal pain, dental problems, and a lot more.
Squirrels are known for their acrobatic antics and love for foraging. These mischievous animals have the habit of putting everything in their mouths. Sometimes they even consume chocolate, despite the fact that they don’t have a mechanism to metabolize it.
Chocolates are high in calories and sugar, which can have a negative impact on their agility.
They also have higher chances of dental problems, gastrointestinal distress, an increased heart rate, and nutritional imbalance.
Deer are the hunter’s first choice. Deer mostly feed on fruits, nuts, and vegetables. They do have a sweet tooth and orchard grass, chicory, and red clover are among the favorites enjoyed among them.
Hunters sometimes allure them by giving them chocolates. They do have some capability to metabolize the theobromine, but not as humans do.
Excessive chocolates lead to the accumulation of this toxic product, which causes a lot of problems, even fatal ones.
The next we have on our list is cows. Yes, you heard it absolutely right. Cows also come on this list.
Cows can efficiently eat it without as many complications as humans do. Studies show that feeding cows chocolate helps boost their milk production and high-quality Wagyu beef production.
They can, however, ingest chocolate up to a certain age. They are not fed chocolate directly; instead, they are mixed with genuine cow feed.
Pigs have a voracious appetite. They don’t care what they eat or how much they eat.
The same holds true with chocolate. Although they have no difficulties in the gastrointestinal tract, high sugar levels create complications such as tooth decay. As a result, they may consume the same quantity as humans.
Major Drawbacks of Eating Chocolate for Animals
Chocolate contains cocoa, which is composed of theobromine and caffeine. Theobromine is an alkaloid compound that doesn’t get metabolized in the bodies of animals and leads to various problems, like chocolate poisoning in dogs, cats, and other animals.
The concentration of theobromine also affects the intensity of toxication in the animals. The effect of chocolate on animals depends on various factors, like the type of chocolate, the amount of it, the animal’s size, and their metabolic rate.
Here are some of the major negative effects of chocolate on animals:
- Gastrointestinal issues: Overconsumption of chocolates can lead to gastrointestinal distress like vomiting, bloating, diarrhea, dehydration and discomfort.
- Effect on the nervous system: Theobromine highly stimulates the CNS (central nervous system) and leads to several complications like restlessness, tremors, and, in severe cases, seizures.
- Behavioral Changes: In addition to these diseases or disorders, behavior changes are also seen in these animals, like restlessness, anxiety, aggression, etc.
- Cardiovascular issues: It also stimulates the heart and nervous system, which can lead to increased heart rate, arrhythmias, and even seizures in some cases.
There are a lot more issues or drawbacks to discuss about this chocolate toxicity. Preventing access to chocolate and obtaining urgent veterinarian treatment if consumption happens are critical for your pets’ health.
Animals That Can’t Eat Chocolate
Dogs can’t eat chocolate, not to a low extent. Dog lovers think that we can let them eat anything, whatever they are eating. but now it’s time to be concerned about it.
Chocolate toxicity is so common in dogs; the level of toxicity depends upon the type of chocolate they eat, how much they eat, and how big the dog is.
They are not able to metabolize theobromine, and its accumulation leads to many complications like seizures, tremors, irregular heart rate, heart arrhythmia, internal bleeding, vomiting, or even death.
Cats are more discriminating eaters than dogs, and because of their inability to smell and sweetness, they are not fond of chocolates. but if they eat it unintentionally, then it will create some problems for them.
Cats are so sensitive to chocolate and chocolate products that they consume more than dogs.
If your cat is showing symptoms like restlessness, vomiting, diarrhea, increased breathing rate, increased heart rate, heightened temperatures, seizures, and muscle rigidity, then you must contact a veterinarian immediately.
Have you ever observed a raccoon’s diet very closely? If not, then let me tell you that these furry buddies like to eat chocolates and any sugary items because they love sweet items.
They are so sensitive to chocolate that if they eat it in the same amount as a human, it may lead to death.
The digestive system is unable to digest it, making animals suffer a lot, like vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive urination. and excessive of theobromine can lead to death, for sure.
When we talk about poultry, we are mostly talking about chickens. So chickens don’t have control over what they are eating, just like other birds.
Chocolates are potentially very dangerous to chickens due to their small digestive systems and chocolate intolerance.
According to research studies, these birds are highly sensitive to chocolate components like theobromine and caffeine. so even a minute amount of it leads to severe health problems in them; worse, it can lead to death. Diarrhea, increased thirst, and restlessness are the early symptoms of chocolate poisoning.
So far, we have seen that chocolates are not a good diet for animals. Horses are also on this list. Horses and chocolate are the combo that didn’t go well. Its minute amount leads to some severe complications that can even lead to death.
Research on racehorses concluded that if the racehorses are given chocolate just before the race, they can perform better than others who are not given it.
It is seen that chocolates increase the energy of these horses and make them more tuned for racing. Theobromine is seen to cause major illnesses in these animals.
Is there any antidote for chocolate toxicity?
No, there are not any well-known antidotes for chocolate toxicity or poisoning in animals. but it can be treated up to a certain extent if they have eaten a very small amount.
Depending on symptoms, various treatments for chocolate poisoning are taken, like induced vomiting, activated charcoal, intravenous fluids, heart medications, anti-convulsants, and antacids.
And if your pet consumed the chocolate intentionally, then you must visit a doctor immediately.
Various precautions for chocolate poisoning
Here are some precautions you can follow to keep your pet safe from chocolate poisoning.
- Never feed your pet chocolate intentionally, and also tell your family members to do so.
- Keep chocolate out of the reach of your pets.
- During festivals, be more cautious, as they involve a lot of chocolate treats.
- Keep the emergency veterinarian number handy.
- If they ingested it, contact your veterinarian right away for help, as it can be dangerous as well.
- Also, monitor the outdoor activity of your pet to see their consumption details.
Chocolate is not considered good for animals. It led to various problems, as we saw in the article.
As you can see, several animals are so sensitive to chocolate that it can even be fatal if they eat it in the wrong way. Pet owners have to be very specific about the eating habits of their pets, as it severely hinders their health.
I hope you find this article interesting.
Being a zoology student I’m always been fascinated toward animals especially insects. I love to do research and learn about different animals. As a writer I want to share my thoughts about nature through my articles. Apart from this you can find me exploring the new places and voice notes.