Carob for Dogs: Is It a Good Idea?

Carob for Dogs: Is It a Good Idea?

Posted by Volhard Dog Nutrition on Nov 28th 2022

The temptation of sharing human food with our furry friends — especially when they put on the irresistible puppy eye look — is sometimes hard to ignore. You might be walking around the house with a chocolate bar in your hand, only for your dog to sniff the opportunity for a treat and ask for some, too. We know that chocolate toxicity is a real thing among the canine population — the chemical composition of cocoa beans includes compounds a dog's body cannot metabolize effectively. So, is there a chocolate substitute dogs may eat without any health hazards? Look no further than carob!

What is Carob for Dogs?

Carob is the fruit of an evergreen plant called the carob tree, which flourishes in the warm regions of the Mediterranean Sea and the Middle East. Its uniquely sweet taste makes it a favorite among caffeine-sensitive chocolate enthusiasts looking for a substitute. Its high concentration of fiber and antioxidants — paired with low sodium and fat levels — explains why global carob production is projected to grow consistently for the upcoming decade. So, if we can enjoy its nutritional and health benefits, why shouldn't we include it in our dogs' diet as a tasty treat?

Is Carob Safe for Dogs?

The appeal of carob over chocolate rests in their essential difference: carob is a non-toxic, perfectly safe ingredient to feed to our dogs, whereas chocolate is not. Chocolate contains numerous compounds — e.g., caffeine, theobromine (i.e., an alkaloid found in the cocoa plant), oxalic acid, formamide, and phenylethylamine — the canine body cannot metabolize quickly enough. Some of these compounds are harmful to humans, too, when ingested in large amounts; fortunately, the human body needs quite a bit of caffeine before experiencing adverse symptoms. Since the body cannot metabolize them, caffeine and theobromine eventually trigger chocolate toxicity in our canine companions, with symptoms such as:

  • Increased heart rate;
  • Irregular heartbeat;
  • Muscle tremors;
  • Agitation and restlessness;
  • Lethargy;
  • Vomiting;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Internal bleeding (in extreme cases);
  • Loss of coordination and consciousness (in extreme cases);
  • Heart attack (in extreme cases).

Research shows that all types of chocolate (e.g., dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, etc.) contain enough theobromine and caffeine to harm a dog, which is why you can take absolutely no risks when it comes to making sure your dog does not ingest chocolate in any form. Veterinary care is imperative if your dog shows signs of chocolate toxicity.

The right dosage of carob can be quite beneficial for dogs.

Carob Packs Quite a Few Healthy Nutrients!

The naturally sweet flavor is not the only reason why your pooch will fall for delicious carob treats. The variety of healthy nutrients found in this food, such as fiber, protein, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, and vitamins (e.g., A, B, and D), are reasons enough for your dog to indulge in carob supplementation!

But the absence of theobromine and caffeine does not justify flooding your dog's food bowl with carob treats. Each dog responds to carob differently — one dog's positive response to carob could mean an unfortunate outcome for others. Carob toxicity occurs when consumed in excessive amounts, with telltale symptoms such as:

  • Gastrointestinal (GI) disruptions;
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (e.g., from consuming carob beans).

Slowly introduce carob to your dog and observe their initial reaction. If they fancy carob without exhibiting symptoms of toxicity, add a bit more to their next meal. But if their digestive system rejects it, it's best to abandon the endeavor altogether.

Look Only for Natural Carob!

Although naturally healthy for both humans and dogs, the carob we find on our store shelves — whether it's carob powder, carob chips, or other carob beans — is not always the healthiest choice. Although it presents a naturally sweet flavor, commercially sold carob is often spiked with sugar for an even sweeter taste and other unhealthy ingredients, such as kernel oil. Be sure to purchase only carob-based foods with the label NAS (i.e., no added sugar). Although it might lose some of its sweetness, NAS carob is by far the healthiest choice for our canine companions — and pet parents know that their dogs deserve the best!

Keep a close eye on your dog's carob intake.

Adding Carob Chips to Yummy Dog Treats!

Unsure how to harness carob's nutritional superpowers? Not a surprise, considering that carob products come in many shapes and forms: carob powder, carob chips, carob beans, etc. But there's an ideal way to include carob in your dog's diet that will get their tail wagging in no time: dog treats!

A Quick and Easy Recipe for Scrumptious Carob Treats!


  • 1 cup of white rice flour;
  • 1 cup of oat flour;
  • 1/2 cup of carob chips;
  • 1 egg;
  • 2 tablespoons of warm butter;
  • 2 teaspoons of chia seeds;
  • 1/4 cup of water.

How to prepare:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  3. Stir and mix the chia seeds, carob chips, and flour.
  4. Whisk the egg and the butter in a separate bowl.
  5. Create some space between the dry ingredients and pour in the mixture. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
  6. Pour water over the ingredients and mix to create dough.
  7. Roll the dough out to 1/2 inch in thickness.
  8. Whip out a cookie cutter and cut the dough into desired shapes.
  9. Put the baking tray in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  10. Allow the carob treats to cool and feed to your pup. Feel free to store the treats in the fridge for a week.

Not a Fan of Carob Treats? Turn It Into Icing!

So your puppy already has their favorite recipes for treats, but you're looking for a healthy way to spice them up with a naturally sweet edge? Then give this carob icing recipe a shot!

A Paw-Licking Carob Icing Recipe for Dog Treats!


  • 1/2 cup of carob chips;
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil;
  • Water.

How to prepare:

  1. Fill 1/3 of a saucepan with water.
  2. Once the water reaches the boiling point, turn it down to a simmer.
  3. Cover the saucepan with a heatproof bowl.
  4. Mix the carob chips and the coconut oil in the saucepan until the lumps melt.
  5. Ice the treats. Carob cannot be successfully melted a second time, so be sure to have enough treats on hand for the icing process.

Time to Sweeten Up Your Dog's Diet With Carob!

Whether included in a dog treat or served as a supplement, carob can sweeten up your dog's diet. It is safe for dogs, doesn't contain either theobromine or caffeine — never forget that dogs cannot eat chocolate — and packs quite a few healthy nutrients! It might taste great, but remember that not all dogs have a healthy relationship with carob. So be on the lookout for signs of carob toxicity when first introducing it to your pooch. You can always count on this chocolate substitute whenever your dog craves a healthy, sweet treat. For more advice on dog nutrition, health, and training, make sure that you contact us and check out our blog!

Volhard Dog Nutrition and its expert nutritionists are now offering online consultations to help more dog parents discover why, what, and how to feed their dogs the healthiest of foods! Speaking to a Volhard nutritionist will help you understand the inseparable relationship between healthy food, a healthy body, and a healthy mind. If you're interested in contacting one of our Volhard nutritionists, don't hesitate to access our consultation page!

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