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Sweet, gooey, and deliciously rich, Nutella has been a staple in countless households. It’s used in toast, cakes, donuts, and even milkshakes.
Unlike cats, dogs can taste sweet things. They quite enjoy it, in fact! This brings us to today’s question: can dogs eat Nutella?
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), Nutella isn’t dog-friendly. Most of its ingredients—cocoa, hazelnut, milk, and sugar—are potentially toxic and harmful to dogs. Any food containing cocoa and chocolate is unsafe for dogs.
Hazelnuts, while not toxic, contain concentrated amounts of fat which can lead to obesity and pancreatic issues in dogs. Cocoa butter, lactose, and sugar in Nutella may lead to stomach upsets.
In small amounts, Nutella is safe for your dog to consume. If your hand or plate contains smudges of Nutella and your dog licked it clean, it shouldn’t be much of a concern. In large amounts, however, it can put your dog’s health at risk.
Chocolate contains theobromine, a stimulant found in the cacao plant. This stimulant causes vomiting, internal bleeding, agitation, seizures, and increased heart rate.
Even if Nutella wasn’t toxic, it doesn’t provide any nutritional value for your dog as it’s primarily made out of 58% sugar and 10% fat.
Knowing how much Nutella your dog ate determines the nature of your emergency. In general, any amount of cocoa is bad for dogs. This is why it should be avoided as much as possible. However, when it comes to chocolate, there’s a fine line between ‘unhealthy’ and ‘potentially deadly.’
Upon consuming about 20 mg of methylxanthines (caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine) per two pounds of body weight, mild symptoms of chocolate toxicity may occur. These symptoms aren’t fatal and may go away on their own after several hours.
It’s when a dog consumes 40 to 50 mg of methylxanthines that severe symptoms start to appear. Seizures and death may occur above 60 mg.
Ferrero doesn’t explicitly state the methylxanthine content in a Nutella jar. However, the ASPCA Poison Control Center concludes that Nutella most likely contains less cocoa than an average 1.55-ounce chocolate bar.
Therefore, it’s safe to conclude that one ounce of Nutella, which equates to about two tablespoons of the spread, is unlikely to cause major harm to an average 10-pound dog. With that said, any amount of Nutella can cause stomach upset.
Eating an excessive amount of Nutella can lead to chocolate poisoning in dogs. Symptoms usually appear within the first 24 hours of consumption. These symptoms include:
- Increased urination
- Increased heart rate
If your dog ate Nutella (or any kind of chocolate) without your explicit permission, regardless of how much, contact your local vet or animal poison control center as soon as possible.
They’ll either help you through treatment at home or ask you to take your pet to the emergency room for immediate care.
Since Nutella contains cocoa, it’s extremely toxic to dogs. Even small amounts can lead to potentially life-threatening health issues.
If your dog accidentally ate Nutella, your veterinarian may ask you to induce vomiting to remove the Nutella from your dog’s stomach or administer activated charcoal to prevent absorption.