Can You Use Cocoa Butter on Dogs: The Pros & Cons

Any dog owner would be concerned with the dry and itchy paws of their dogs. And it’s not uncommon to look for a pet-friendly moisturiser for your dog. In this case, you may be wondering if you can use a natural moisturiser like cocoa butter on your dogs. The answer is a simple yes.

Let’s find out how that is possible.

Also Read: Can you Eat Cocoa Butter? Uses, Health Benefits and Side Effects!

Why is cocoa butter safe for dogs? 

Cocoa butter is a fatty extract that comes from roasted cocoa beans, and it’s a common ingredient found in dog paw balms thanks to its velvety texture and moisturizing properties. Products made with it are designed to create a protective barrier on paw pads, lock in moisture, and improve skin elasticity.

While many assume cocoa butter is harmful to dogs because of theobromine, a study published by the National Library of Medicine proves otherwise. Whereas cocoa powder, which has the highest concentration of theobromine, has 26000 mg/kg, cocoa butter only contains 140 mg/kg.

Looking at the toxicity dosages mentioned above, it would take a very high amount of cocoa butter to be toxic to a dog. It would take about 2 kg, or 4 pounds, to be fatal to a small dog. Thus, it’s extremely unlikely your dog would consume anywhere near a toxic dose of cocoa butter.

Pros and cons of using cocoa butter on dogs

  • Cocoa seed butter effectively soften and conditions dry, cracked, chafed, and sunburned dog noses.
  • Can moisturize rough paw pads and elbows.
  • Brings dogs high-quality skin and pad relief.
  • Promote regrowth of hair.
  • Keeps your dog’s nose moist and protected.   
  • If consumed in large amounts, it may cause the animals to have stomach upset. when consumed.
  • It may cause sensitive reactions

What is theobromine?

Theobromine is the chemical that’s responsible for our love of chocolate. In humans, theobromine is a stimulant. It dilates blood vessels, which increases blood flow. It also causes the brain to release satisfying hormones.

But don’t worry, cocoa butter isn’t the same as chocolate. You should be concerned about the cocoa powder in chocolate instead. 

The challenge with theobromine for dogs is that they cannot digest it properly. Instead of giving them a feel-good feeling as the effect of eating chocolate, it can make them very sick. In high doses, it can even be deadly.

Symptoms of theobromine poisoning can occur at 20mg/kg. Serious symptoms can occur at 40-50mg/kg, with a fatal dose being greater than 60mg/kg.

This means that the fatal dose for a 10-pound dog would be 270mg of theobromine. A 20-pound dog would need to eat 540 mg.

Cocoa butter versus cocoa powder

Two things come from roasted cocoa beans: cocoa butter and cocoa powder. Both are very important to chocolatiers. A big difference between the two, however, is that cocoa powder contains high levels of theobromine and caffeine: the compounds that make chocolate toxic to pups. Cocoa butter, by comparison, only contains fractional amounts.

Cocoa butter is used to make chocolate rich and smooth, whereas cocoa powder is what makes chocolate dangerous to dogs.

unrefined Cocoa Butter
unrefined Cocoa Butter
Organics Cacao Powder/Cocoa Powder
Organics Cacao Powder/Cocoa Powder

Are some chocolates more dangerous than others?

Yes. A good rule of thumb?

The darker the chocolate, the more harmful it is. 

Pure cocoa powder, dark chocolate, and milk chocolate are typically the most dangerous for pets. Your pup would have to consume large quantities of white chocolate to get sick.

Also Read: Chocolate Facts, History, Types & Health Benefits

How much chocolate is dangerous?

The severity of chocolate poisoning depends on three factors:

  • The type of chocolate
  • The amount eaten
  • The weight of the dog

However, it is difficult to assess the amount since there have been no studies on the dosage. Conversely, the table below gives an idea of how to determine the ideal or safe dosage for your loyal friend if you decide to give them some. Canva design  

Chocolate Type

Baking chocolate:

Semisweet chocolate:

Milk chocolate:

Toxic Dosage as per dog’s weight

1 oz (1 square)/ 9 pounds of dog

1 oz (1 square)/3 pounds of dog

1 oz /1 pound of dog.

Common causes of dry paws in pups

Products with cocoa butter can help soothe your pup’s dry paws. Though crusty paws can be caused by a number of factors, below are a few of the most common:

1. Weather conditions 

Don’t underestimate the importance of paw protection, especially in the colder months when harsh chemicals are used to melt ice and snow, which can cause problems for your pup’s paws.

2. Paw pad hyperkeratosis 

This skin condition is caused by thickened or extra skin that grows on a pup’s nose or paw pads.

3. Environmental irritants

Many everyday chemicals can irritate your pup’s paws, including road salt and lawn chemicals.

4. Injuries

Watch out for any injuries that affect your pup’s paws, like cuts, scrapes, burns, and even frostbite. A thin layer of paw balm spread over the affected area can help soothe the pain.

5. Compulsions 

Compulsive chewing or licking can be due to a lot of reasons — the most common being infection, irritation, or boredom.  

Ways to protect your dog’s paws

Below are some tips and tricks to make sure your pup’s paws are as healthy as can be:

1. Check their paws regularly

This is not only great for overall health and happiness but also helps you spot any signs of infection or irritation.

2. Keep up with grooming 

Make sure to trim the nails on your dog’s paws so they don’t touch the ground when they stand. You will know when it’s time to trim when you hear a lot of clicking or scratching as your dog walks. The hair between paw pads can also get matted and become painful, so make sure to keep it trimmed to avoid Grinch-feet.

3. Make your solution

A DIY paw balm can help protect your pup’s paws from irritants and harsh surfaces that cause dried, cracked, or bloody paw pads. Some can be made with ingredients you likely already have at home, like virgin coconut oil or even olive oil.

4. Treat them to a paw massage

Massaging a paw balm into your pup’s paw pads after application will help it absorb properly and may also help with circulation. Try gently rubbing between their pads and toes in a circular motion to make sure the balm is fully dry.

5. Invest in doggie booties

Not only are dog booties adorable, but they’re also amazingly protective. 

What to do if your dog eats cocoa butter?

If you notice your dog eating cocoa butter, there are some things you can do. Since theobromine isn’t a concern, they shouldn’t require veterinary treatment. However, an upset stomach is common if they’ve ingested a large amount of cocoa butter. This can typically be managed at home.

i) Watch your dog

If your dog eats something it shouldn’t, you’ll need to monitor him for symptoms. Some stomach upset can be expected. However, keep an eye out for severe symptoms. You’ll need to watch them for at least 24 hours to be safe.

il) Induce Vomiting

Even though cocoa butter isn’t toxic, a large amount isn’t good for your dog. If they ate a lot of cocoa butter, consider inducing vomiting. Give them 1 teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide for every 10 pounds of body weight, up to 4 tablespoons.

Take them for a walk to help move the peroxide around in their stomach. They should begin vomiting within 10-15 minutes. If vomiting doesn’t occur, you can repeat the dosage once.

ill) Treating Stomach Upset at Home

There are a few ways to calm your dog’s stomach at home. Famotidine is an antacid that’s safe for dogs. Give 5 mg of peroxide per pound of body weight. A 10-pound dog would take 5 mg or half a 10 mg tablet. Repeat the dosage every 12 hours until the symptoms subside.

You can also give him Pepto. Give them 1 teaspoon for every 10 pounds of body weight, up to 4 teaspoons. Repeat every 6 to 8 hours as needed.

A bland diet can also help. Feed them 2 parts rice to 1 part boiled chicken. For one cup of food, you’ll give them 2/3 a cup of rice and 1/3 a cup of chicken. Instead of two larger meals, it’s best to split them into 3 or 4 smaller meals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I keep my French bulldog’s nose moist?

Whatever might be causing your Frenchie’s dry nose, you can help them by regularly applying a dog-friendly moisturizer until their nose looks a little healthier. You can use Palmer’s cocoa butter special formula for pets on a French Bulldog’s dry nose, a little olive oil, or shea butter.

Can I use cocoa butter on my dog’s skin?

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter All Over Relief Balm for Dogs with Vitamin E brings dogs high-quality skin and pad relief. This fragrance-free all-over skin soother balm for dogs is great for dogs with dry skin. The Palmer’s dog balm is also suitable for use on dog pads.

Can I put cocoa butter on a dog’s nose?

Cocoa seed butter effectively softens and conditions dry, cracked, chafed, and sunburned dog noses and can also be used to moisturize rough paw pads and elbows.

What happens if a dog licks cocoa butter?

The cocoa butter cream contains the compound theobromine, which may be harmful to dogs depending on how much they consume. Theobromine is the same compound that’s found in chocolate, which is known to be fatal to animals when consumed.

Is it OK to use coconut oil on dogs?

Used topically, coconut oil is an effective moisturizer and lip balm. The answer is a qualified “yes.” Some holistic and naturopathic veterinarians believe that coconut oil has qualities that can aid in many types of canine conditions.

What can I put on my dog’s dry crusty nose?

Soaking the nose with a warm, moist towel and then applying Palmer’s cocoa butter for pets will help to keep the nose nice and soft. If your dog has other symptoms in addition to a dry nose, he should be seen by a veterinarian promptly.

Why is the top of my dog’s nose dry and crusty?

The skin on the surface of your dog’s nose contains a protein called keratin; sometimes, keratin can grow too quickly, causing your pup’s nose to become dry and crusty. If left untreated, it can cause significant discomfort for your dog.

How much cocoa butter is toxic to dogs?

Cocoa butter is made of the fatty solids in the cocoa bean and none of the poisonous compounds. What we know of as white chocolate is mostly cocoa butter and sugar mixed with milk. Hence, it’s 100% safe for dogs.

Can you put African shea butter on a dog?

The same soothing properties of shea butter that work wonders for human skin can also prevent as well as heal irritation in dogs’ problem skin. Shea butter soothes, softens, and hydrates the skin. In addition, shea butter is a natural sun protectant and moisturizes and conditions the fur to maintain and boost shine.

Now it’s your turn.

Pure cocoa butter can be used on dogs. Since cocoa butter contains a small amount of theobromine, a substance in chocolate that causes harm to dogs, it’s safe to stick with cocoa butter’s special formulation for pets. 

Palmer’s for Pets Cocoa Butter with Vitamin E is a superior treatment that softens and conditions dry, cracked paw pads.  It also provides soothing relief for dry and itchy skin, eczema, fleabites, rashes, hot spots, and other areas of discomfort. Your loyal friend will love it.

Till then, say hello to your loyal friend for me!

Photo of author
Hello! Sedi here... I love cocoa and everything that comes out it even more! Chocolate, butter, paste, etc... Picture this: I have very sensitive and dry skin, and as a result, I develop dark spots, especially on my legs, at the slightest provocation. To get rid of it, I have been using cocoa butter for more than a decade. My dark spots are gone; my skin tone is even! When I'm not writing, you'll find me reading, working out, and advocating for plastic-free earth.