No, dogs cannot have Nutella as it is a sweet spread made with sugar, milk, cocoa, palm oil, soy, skimmed milk, vanillin (vanilla extract), and hazelnut. These ingredients are not great additions to a dog’s meal plan, potentially dangerous to your pet. In simple terms, any food item that contains cocoa (chocolate) should not be consumed by your dog.
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What is Nutella?
Nutella is a cocoa-hazelnut spread that is sweetened, manufactured by Ferrero, an Italian company, and was introduced first in 1964. The main ingredients are 13% of hazelnut, cocoa solids, skimmed milk, sugar, and palm oil. Other components include whey powder, lecithin, soy proteins, and vanilla.
History has it that Pietro Ferrero, the founder of Ferrero, owned a bakery in Alba, an Italian town known for producing hazelnuts. Nutella was made after World War II when a cocoa shortage in Italy required pastry makers to get creative. Though Nutella is marketed as hazelnut cream, it is a lesser-known fact that it has very few hazelnuts with a lot of sugar and palm oil.
Nutritional Values of Nutella per 100g : Calories: 539 kcal
Is Nutella Safe for Dogs to Eat?
Nutella is not safe for your dog’s consumption. It is the kind of food item with high calories and almost no nutritional value to benefit your dog. Did you know that about one tablespoon of Nutella is about 100 calories in itself? Feeding Nutella to your dog regularly can lead to various health issues like diabetes, pancreatitis, gastrointestinal problems, obesity, and heart diseases.
Why is Nutella Bad for Dogs?
There are two primary reasons why Nutella should not be fed to your pet dog, they are:
Contains Cocoa (Chocolate): One of the ingredients present in Nutella spread is cocoa. Even a tiny amount of cocoa is terrible, given that cocoa is toxic to dogs. If you look at the ingredients list of Nutella, you will notice that cocoa is way down on the list. This means that the concentration of cocoa is much less than sugar, palm oil, hazelnuts, and other ingredients. Even though the theobromine content is minimal, it is harmful to your dog and results in chocolate poisoning.
Common Signs of chocolate poisoning include:
- Extremely rapid heart rate
- Frequent urination
Contains Excess Sugar and Fat: Nutella includes a lot of sugar and fat content – 21 grams of sugar with 12 grams of fat. Dogs find it challenging to digest vast amounts of sugar and fat. Consuming such vast quantities of sugar and fat usually leads to an upset stomach. However, excessive sugar and fat consumption can lead to pancreatitis in dogs, which can be fatal. Watch out for common signs of pancreatitis within the first 24-48 hours.
Symptoms of pancreatitis include:
- Stomach pain
- Prolonged vomiting
- Prolonged diarrhea
- Lack of appetite
Also, note that Nutella currently doesn’t contain any sugar substitutes like Xylitol, so there is no chance of Xylitol poisoning.
How Much Nutella to Feed Your Dogs?
Since the harmful effects outweigh the nutritional value of Nutella, it is best not to feed Nutella to your furry friends.
What If My Dog Ate Nutella?
The first step if your dog accidentally consumes Nutella is to check the label for ingredients once. Although we know the common ingredients that make Nutella, we should look out for any difference in formula. Additional ingredients like xylitol, macadamia nuts, and cocoa can be toxic to dogs. So if you spot these ingredients, you would need to take your pet to the vet as soon as possible. Symptoms to look out for Nutella poisoning include:
- Stomach pain
- A rapid increase in heart Beat
- Lack of appetite
Other harmful effects of feeding Nutella to your pet include:
Gastroenteritis: The fat content which is indigestible by your pet pups can cause inflammation of internal organs. Some symptoms of gastroenteritis include:
- Abdominal Pain
Treatments for Gastroenteritis are administering your dogs antibiotics, gastro protectants, antiemetics, IV fluids to balance the levels of electrolytes, and antidiarrheal drugs.
Pancreatitis: The primary function of the pancreas is to regulate blood glucose and metabolic processes managing food digestion and hormones like insulin. There are two types of pancreatitis,
Acute Pancreatitis: The signs of acute pancreatitis are
- Upper Abdominal pain(pain may also radiate to your back)
- Feeling tender when touching the abdomen
- Rapid pulse
- Nausea and vomiting
Chronic Pancreatitis: Chronic pancreatitis symptoms may include,
- Abdominal pain that worsens after eating
- Upper Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Smelly, oily stools (steatorrhea)
Diabetes Mellitus: Diabetes Mellitus can also result from chronic pancreatitis as the insulin-producing cells are damaged.
Other health issues include:
- Increased heart rate
- Internal bleeding
Treatment and Solutions
A small quantity of Nutella has very little chance of leading to any life-threatening issues. Anyhow, it is best to contact the veterinarian or animal poison control center for expert advice.
You may also induce vomiting to avoid worsening the situation. For this, give your dog activated charcoal or an equal mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide. But, again, remember to give your dog enough water to eliminate the toxins out of his body.
Suppose your dog consumed only a small amount of Nutella. In that case, your veterinarian will suggest you take care of him from home. But, be prepared to transport your dog to a local clinic for treatment if your dog swallows a significant amount.
Alternatives to Nutella For Your Dog
Healthy alternatives that you can feed your pet include:
- Soy milk
- Unsalted Peanut Butter (as an occasional treat)
- Oatmeal (without any other ingredients except a bit of honey)
No, it is not a great idea to feed your dog Nutella. It has no nutrients to support your dog’s system. As a result, it can cause adverse effects on their overall health. But if your dog accidentally picked up a blob of Nutella dropped on the floor, check the label once and watch out for any signs of illness. Consult the vet immediately.