As humans, we absolutely love chocolate, it is one of the most favored snacks for most people. From chocolate cookies to cakes and ice creams. Even though it is far from healthy and high in sugar, we love it, but do animals share our passion for this sweet treat?
Most people will know that animals such as dogs and cats cannot eat chocolate, it is dangerous and toxic to them. But what animals can eat chocolate, if any?
Well, here’s the deal, technically chocolate is not great for anyone, especially in large amounts, and while there are some animals that can eat chocolate, they can only eat it in small doses.
It is never a good idea for an animal to be eating chocolate in large amounts, even for us.
In truth, there are only a few animals who can actually eat chocolate without harming themselves. There is not a long list, and remember, that just because we say an animal can eat chocolate does not mean that you should be feeding it a Hershey’s bar.
It just means that they can have it, without presenting any immediate danger to their health.
It should NOT be a part of their diet on the regular.
Is Chocolate Poison To All Animals?
A vast majority of people who have pets will be anxious about whether their pets can eat chocolate. Most things we eat aren’t actually ideal for animals to be eaten.
We have to be conscious that a great deal of what we eat contains preservatives as well, so a lot of foods that contain some preservatives are not ideal.
However, chocolate is toxic to animals for a different reason. Cocoa, the plant that makes chocolate, has a high content of caffeine and theobromine, these are two drugs that can be metabolized very easily.
Animals cannot, this makes these drugs accumulate in the body of the animal which can result in illnesses such as muscle tremors, stomach pains, seizures, or even a heart attack. Although most animals will only get diarrhea or start vomiting, it is still a sign of toxicity.
We might not say that it is a poison because it is not directly poisonous in the way that we associate it, but it is toxic. So you should be picturing that skull and crossbones symbol when Fido looks at that Hershey’s bar.
How severe the reaction is will vary. It depends on the size of the animal and how much they have eaten. A small pet that has eaten half a chocolate bar would get a much more severe reaction than a Great Dane that has eaten the same amount.
What Kind Of Animals can Eat Chocolate?
So, this leaves us wondering which animals actually can ingest chocolate without needing a trip to see a veterinarian.
Well, some of these animals may actually surprise you, however, there is a catch, please remember that just because they can eat chocolate without getting sick does not mean they should, or that they will be fine no matter how much they have.
It is about moderation, like anything you eat. We should not eat too much chocolate ourselves, so animals definitely should not.
Can Rabbits Eat Chocolate?
Can a grown rabbit eat chocolate? Well, yes, but only a grown-up rabbit. This means that bunnies and baby habits should not be eating chocolate as it can harm them.
Also, before you decide to share your chocolate bar with your rabbit, consider their size. How much chocolate it is okay for a rabbit to ingest is determined entirely by their weight.
If your rabbit does have chocolate, then you should make sure it is ingested in a minimal amount.
Maybe one square in a bar, on a rare occasion as a treat is okay, but it would be unwise to introduce it as a part of their daily diet, or even weekly really. Everything in moderation.
Can Squirrels Eat Chocolate?
Squirrels are another animal that can eat chocolate. In fact, they love it, if you carry chocolate around in front of a squirrel there is even a chance that they may steal it. However, you should still be vigilant.
The chocolate that a squirrel eats should have no more than .5 of a milligram of theobromine. So, if you have dark chocolate, it is best to keep it away from your local squirrel population, as a small 36 grams of dark chocolate with 70% cocoa can actually result in the death of the squirrel.
So, much like rabbits, it is wise to consider their weight and size before you allow them to indulge in a chocolaty treat.
Can Deer Eat Chocolate?
Deer are another curiosity, they are herbivores and live on plant life, such as nuts, fruits, and corn.
However, in the winter they will often starve due to an unbalanced diet. This means they probably would be fine eating chocolate, however, once again you do need to be cautious of the theobromine content of the chocolate before a deer has some.
It could upset their stomachs, and if they are already starving hungry, the last thing they need is diarrhea on top of that. Wild animals or some wild animals may be able to have some chocolate, however, you should always check if they can first.
It is also wise to remember that some animals can be intolerant to chocolate, so you should be aware of this, and also be aware of everything that is in the chocolate as well.
Can Cows Eat Chocolate?
What if you are staying on a farm for a country weekend and a cow comes up to you, and you fancy sharing your chocolate bar with these friendly animals?
Well, chocolate toxicity is actually a rare issue in bovines. In some cases, some dairy farms will use chocolate as part of a cow’s ration.
Cattle also really enjoy chocolate as well, if you have some on you, they will happily run after you trying to get some. They love it.
Of course, moderation is also key, even in cows, but it is safe to share your bar of chocolate with a friendly cow.
Can Pigs Eat Chocolate?
As most of us know, pigs will eat pretty much anything in front of them (like me, lol). While chocolate does include theobromine, which is a compound alkaloid to caffeine, the concentrations in it are actually low enough to be safe enough for consumption by pigs.
In many ways, pigs are actually a lot like us, and so, they are generally okay to eat many things that we consume. Pigs are easily able to consume chocolate, and they will enjoy it too.
So, if you are a fan of these cute pink animals and want to share your Hershey’s kisses with one, go ahead, you may make a new friend!
Can Rats Eat Dark Chocolate?
Theoretically, rats can eat chocolate, a small amount is okay for rats. In some ways, chocolate can even be beneficial to rats and mice. Some scientific research even states that rats and mice are able to metabolize theobromine almost as well as we do.
However, the word ‘almost’ is key here. Theobromine can be harmful to a rat if they eat too much of it. So, we might suggest avoiding dark chocolate with your rats, there is more theobromine in dark chocolate, and therefore you may want to be cautious.
It can be harmful if they eat too much, so white chocolate and milk chocolate are best, and less in more.
What Animals Cannot Eat Chocolate?
So, what about the animals that cannot eat chocolate? Well, some of these may be surprising and some not so much. Again, we do reiterate that in the cases where an animal may be okay to consume some, this does not mean it is okay as a regular thing.
Can Snakes Eat Chocolate?
While technically a snake can have chocolate, as most reptiles are okay to have a small amount (a very small amount), we will advise against it. It is probably likely to cause diarrhea in reptiles if they eat too much.
Also, if it becomes too prominent in their diet, they can suffer from a nutritional imbalance. So, while snakes can eat chocolate, we are going to advise against it.
Reptiles are also very fussy with their diets, and they can have very specific diets depending on their breed. One snake may be totally fine, but another may be more intolerant. If you do give your snake chocolate, it should be little and infrequently.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Chocolate?
Do not feed chocolate to guinea pigs, under any circumstances. We would put chocolate for guinea pigs in the same category as chocolate and dogs or cats. Both caffeine and theobromine are capable of killing a guinea pig.
Either of these compounds can kill your guinea pig, so it is best to store all chocolate far away from your fluffy little friends and make sure they have no access to it. Ingesting it could be fatal for them.
Can Fish Eat Chocolate?
This may sound strange, but there was once a New York Post article about a fish that lived on KitKat. This is… bizarre. You should not feed your fish chocolate, and they should certainly not be living on it.
Fish should just have a diet of their recommended food, and confectionaries should be totally off the cards for them. Technically they could eat chocolate, it is just unwise for them to be eating it. Typically, most people use the rule, if a dog can’t eat it a fish can’t.
Their digestive systems are not made for this food, so we advise just sticking to normal fish food.
Can Birds Eat Chocolate?
Do your local crows keep eyeing you when you are eating your favorite candies? Are you thinking about sharing? Don’t. Chocolate has the potential to be fatal for their digestive systems.
Chocolate poisoning can even affect their systems very quickly and can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. Bird poop on your car is gross enough without it being chocolate-induced diarrhea.
Chocolate can also affect their central nervous system and even kill them.
But, they like cookies, right? Well, yes. Can birds eat chocolate chip cookies? They might like the idea of it, but it does still contain chocolate, so no! Also, do you really want to share your chocolate chip cookies? With a bird of all things?
Just keep your cookies to yourselves, and save the birdseed for the birds. It is just better that way.
Can Sea Lions Eat Chocolate?
Sea Lions in water parks will often perform tricks for treats, but are any of these treats chocolate?
What do you think is happening? The water park is taking a trip to Walmart and picking up an XL box of Hershey’s kisses for the Sea Lions? No, no, Sea Lions eat fish. This is usually what their treats are. Not chocolate.
And, besides, Sea Lions cannot eat chocolate, nor can Seals. These are wild aquatic mammals, and their digestive systems are not made to be digesting something like this. So, when you see a Seal or a Sea Lion, just keep the treats to their diets, and keep your chocolate to yourself.
Consider Cats & Dogs
Cats and Dogs are both incapable of having chocolate in their diets, they cannot digest the chocolate, and it is toxic to them. These are the best well-known animals who can die from a ‘chocolate overdose’.
If your cat, dog, or guinea pig eats chocolate, take them to the vet immediately.
We are so used to having chocolate in our lives, that we forget that it is not a normal food and that it is meant for us, and not our furry, scaly, or feathered friends. Even the animals that can ingest chocolate, should not be doing so regularly.
Maybe this is a reminder to us, that maybe we should cut down on this tasty treat too, you can have too much of a good thing. Even if it is this tasty.