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Can dogs have Nutella? No! Although this hazelnut chocolate spread is a favorite of humans, Nutella is not safe for dogs.
If your dog ate Nutella, you should chat with a vet to determine what steps to take. The vet will want to know your dog’s weight and an estimate of how much Nutella they ate to assess the danger.
Keep reading for poison control hotlines and to learn more about which elements of Nutella are poisonous to dogs.
In this guide:
- My dog ate Nutella! What should I do?
- Why is Nutella dangerous for dogs?
- What is a safe substitute for Nutella?
- Can dogs eat hazelnut spread?
- Can dogs eat Nutella breadsticks?
My dog ate Nutella! What should I do?
You shouldn’t panic, but you should immediately seek help from a veterinarian or Pet Poison Hotline—especially if your dog ate a whole jar of Nutella. You can reach the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. Most likely, your dog will need to be seen by a veterinarian. The sooner your dog is treated, the better the prognosis.
You may be told to treat your dog with activated charcoal. This helps prevent the absorption of theobromine into their body. Dr. Richard H. Pitcairn, DVM, suggests:
- Mix 5 heaping teaspoons of granular activated charcoal in 1 cup of water.
- Depending on the dog’s size, give ¼ to 1 cup by spoonfuls in the dog’s cheek pouch.
- Stop treatment if this causes struggle or if symptoms worsen.
- Don’t panic; keep your dog as warm and calm as possible. Stress has a negative effect.
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Why is Nutella dangerous for dogs?
Flip the Nutella jar over and take a look at the ingredient list. The primary ingredients found in this decadent treat are sugar, palm oil, hazelnuts, skim milk, and cocoa.
Cocoa, or chocolate, is a big no-no for dogs. While Nutella doesn’t have a high cocoa content, there is no safe amount that you should give your dog.
Cocoa contains two chemicals that are toxic to dogs: theobromine and caffeine. Your dog doesn’t need to eat much cocoa to show signs of poisoning. The VCA states that a 50-lb. dog would only need to ingest 1 oz. of baker’s chocolate or 9 oz. of chocolate milk for it to become a health crisis. If your dog is smaller, it can tolerate even less.
Chocolate acts as a diuretic, heart stimulant, blood vessel dilator, and smooth muscle relaxant. Dogs just don’t metabolize it well. As a result, dogs will show symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, panting or restlessness, excessive thirst and urination, a rapid heart rate, hyperactivity, coma, and possible death, according to Dr. Pitcairn.
I am reminded of when a friend’s small 14-lb. pup devoured a stash of Christmas goodies—dark-chocolate-covered peanuts. My friend came home to a ghastly scene of splats of diarrhea covering her furniture and floor. It’s a wonder she ever forgave me for instructing her to put the gift under her Christmas tree!
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Dogs aren’t designed to process a lot of sugar, and Nutella is loaded with it. Two tablespoons (37g) of Nutella contain 21 grams of sugar—more than 4 sugar cubes. Too much sugar content can lead to dental disease, diabetes, and obesity, according to Dr. Pitcairn. In addition, sugar is inflammatory, which means it can make certain health conditions worse, like a fan to a flame.
The bottom line, your dog’s health isn’t going to improve on processed sugar, so avoid it altogether.
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High fat content
Nutella’s second ingredient is palm oil. When dogs consume foods with a high fat content (which is what palm oil is), it overworks the pancreas to produce lipase, an enzyme that digests fat. If a diet high in fat continues, the dog could end up with acute pancreatitis, a potentially life-threatening issue, according to the AKC.
A high-fat snack could have smellier effects, too. If your dog has trouble digesting high-fat foods, it may ferment in the colon.
The result of fermentation? Sudden, smelly gas, possible acid reflux, vomiting undigested food, bloating, gurgling abdomen, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain. They may have an upset stomach and diarrhea, or their poop may have an excessively foul odor, contain undigested food, and appear light tan and greasy.
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Hazelnuts & skim milk
Hazelnuts and skim milk are two more ingredients in Nutella. While neither one of these are toxic to the majority of dogs, they are best kept to a minimum.
What is a safe substitute for Nutella?
If you want to give your dog a similar spreadable treat, try peanut butter! Make sure it’s xylitol-free and sugar-free. The best brands are unsalted and will simply contain peanuts.
Dogs love peanut butter, and as long as it is given in moderation, it should be a safe treat for your pup. To keep your dog engaged, try putting peanut butter in a kong or a licking mat and freezing it. This will make it last longer and will mentally stimulate your pup, so it’s a great treat to give them before leaving them at home for a couple of hours. Just make sure they have plenty of water in their bowl.
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Can dogs eat hazelnut spread?
No. The majority of hazelnut spreads on the market are virtually identical to Nutella. They likely contain cocoa, which is toxic to dogs. And even if you find a hazelnut spread that doesn’t contain cocoa, it may still contain other unhealthy ingredients, such as sugar, xylitol, or palm oil. See the section above for a safe alternative to hazelnut spread.
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Can dogs eat Nutella breadsticks?
You know that Nutella is bad for dogs. But you may be wondering if dogs can eat the breadsticks that come in the Nutella & Go packs.
Obviously, you shouldn’t feed your dog the breadsticks if they’re dipped in Nutella. If the breadstick is plain, it’s not toxic to dogs. But you still shouldn’t feed your dog too many. They’re still made with palm oil, which is high in fat. A safer treat would be one made for dogs, such as a single-ingredient sweet potato strip.
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