What Should You Do If Your Dog Ate Nutella?

Nutella is a spreadable cream that is very famous among the lovers of all things sweet and it makes for a flavory snack when accompanied by bread, croissants, or other treats, so one might wonder if it’s okay to share it with our dogs.

Unfortunately, Nutella and dogs don’t get along. Although this cream is not poisonous for your dog, it’s far from a healthy addition to their diet because all of its ingredients can harm your dog.

What should you do if your dog eats Nutella?

If your dog ate Nutella in big quantities for its body weight, you should bring them to the nearest clinic because this spread can be very harmful to dogs in large amounts.

In small amounts, Nutella is mostly safe to eat for your dog, which doesn’t mean they can eat it. It is not recommended to feed Nutella to dogs, but if your dog happened to lick some from a tablespoon, they should be fine.

Look out for vomiting and diarrhea, because these are usually the symptoms of an upset stomach, but if your dog has pre-existing medical conditions they could also be the symptoms of a more serious disease like pancreatitis.

Regardless of the quantity, it is recommended to call your veterinarian if your dog ate Nutella, and once you are on the phone with the vet you will probably be asked a few questions to assess the situation, such as:

  • How much Nutella has your dog eating?
  • How long ago did your dog eat Nutella?
  • Have they been eating and drinking normally since then?
  • Did they show any unusual behavior or symptoms so far?

If the veterinarian doesn’t deem the situation urgent enough for a medical examination, they can give you advice on what to do from home.

Most likely, they will recommend watching your dog and see if anything happens. A healthy dog that ate a little amount of Nutella is usually alright, but any sign of discomfort should be promptly reported to your vet.

In the alternative, your veterinarian may suggest one of the following:

  • Give you instructions on how to induce vomiting in your dog, so that they throw up the Nutella;
  • Suggest administration of activated charcoal in order to prevent absorption;
  • Suggest administration of medications for abnormal heart rate and seizures;
  • Ask you to bring your dog for an examination, which may lead to hospitalization if the veterinarian deems it necessary.

If you can’t get in contact with your veterinarian, call the Pet Poison Hotline or your nearest emergency clinic.

Is Nutella bad for dogs?

The short answer is yes. Nutella offers no nutritional value for your dog and can do more harm than good if eaten regularly.

The ingredients of this paste include hazelnuts, palm oil, sugar, milk, and cocoa. None of these components is good for your dog, although in small quantities they won’t harm your pet.

Making Nutella part of your dog’s daily or weekly diet could have some serious consequences in the long run and compromise their health.

Theobromine

Cocoa is poisonous for dogs because it contains theobromine and caffeine that badly affect dogs’ hearts and their neurological system. Theobromine can be found in some cookies and even in tea bags.

These chemicals will make your dog sick and they could also be fatal for them. Dogs that eat cocoa can experience high blood pressure, increased heart rate, and seizures.

If you’re worried about the cocoa contained in Nutella, the good news is that it’s such a small amount that it probably won’t affect your dog at all.

Nutella does look like chocolate cream, but it’s actually mostly sugar and hazelnuts. This is because when it was first created by Piero Ferrero in 1946, there was a shortage of cocoa in Italy due to world conflict, so he was trying to find an alternative.

However, there is still a certain amount of cocoa in Nutella, so there is no way to know how this could affect your dog. Puppies, old dogs, and sick dogs could be in danger even with a small percentage of cocoa.

Fats and sugar

Fats and sugars should have no place in a healthy diet for your pet. Dogs hardly digest fats and they have the same consequence on your pet that they have on us humans: they will make them gain weight.

This might not seem such a dangerous issue, but consider that a fat dog is at risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes mellitus, which will require therapy for their whole life and will greatly shorten their lifespan.

Fat dogs may also develop heart diseases, cancer, and other conditions more easily. Your veterinarian, taking into consideration your dog’s medical history, can help you find the best healthy diet for your dog.

What happens if a dog eats Nutella?

The ingredients in Nutella will irritate your dog’s stomach and intestines. The bigger the amount your dog ate the higher the risk of developing complications from these components.

Fats, as we’ve seen, are especially dangerous and can trigger the inflammation of different organs. None of these conditions should be underestimated because if untreated they could be fatal for your dog.

Gastroenteritis

Gastroenteritis is the inflammation of the stomach and intestines and it can be due to infections, diseases, medications, viruses, bacteria, foreign bodies, or food.

Common symptoms of gastroenteritis in dogs include:

– Vomiting: gastroenteritis provokes recurring episodes of vomiting. The vomit may be yellow and foamy and the dog will vomit even without eating anything. Instead of vomiting, the dog could be gagging or dry heaving after eating or drinking;

– Diarrhea: gastroenteritis provokes recurring episodes of diarrhea as well. Most likely, your dog will have diarrhea several times per day and their stools will look like a soft cream;

– Fever: some dogs that experienced inflammation usually run a light fever, but it’s not always present;

– Lethargy: your dog will show no interest in normal activities they usually enjoy, they will look lazy and less active. They will also have decreased appetite or no appetite at all;

– Dehydration: persistent vomiting and diarrhea will cause your dog to be dehydrated. The problem is that a dog affected by gastroenteritis may not be willing/able to drink. Dehydration is very dangerous because the body may shut down and your dog will go into shock;

– Abdominal pain: dogs may feel uncomfortable being handled or touched on the abdomen. They will also avoid lying down on their belly or move in a weird way.

Treatments for gastroenteritis include antibiotics, gastro protectants, antiemetic and antidiarrheal drugs. First of all, your dog will need rehydration to balance the levels of electrolytes in the blood, and this treatment may sometimes be given through IV fluids.

Acute gastroenteritis is common in dogs and if treated in time, most dogs make full recovery in a few days.

Pancreatitis

The pancreas is fundamental in regulating blood glucose and metabolism, and it also manages food digestion and hormones such as insulin.

When your dog eats something that is rich in fats, the pancreas may become inflamed and the production of the enzymes may be altered, with serious consequences for the health of your pet.

There are two types of pancreatitis:

– Acute pancreatitis: the most common type of pancreatitis. It is sudden and isolated; after treatment, most dogs make full recovery;

– Chronic pancreatitis: it consists of recurring episodes of acute pancreatitis. Your dog will need a medical examination to find what ignites the condition. Prognosis depends on the cause.

Clinical signs of pancreatitis are usually no different from those of gastroenteritis or GI obstruction, which is why it’s often necessary to have your dog examined to find out which condition is causing the symptoms.

Dogs can recover successfully if the diagnosis is done as early as the first symptoms and with the right treatment. Usually, dogs will have to fast for a few days, especially if they showed recurring episodes of vomiting.

Chronic pancreatitis may provoke the destruction of a large number of enzymes, which leads to the development of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency.

Diabetes mellitus can also be a consequence of chronic pancreatitis because in some cases the insulin-producing cells are destroyed.

Doctors are still not sure of what exactly causes pancreatitis apart from fats, because this condition seems to develop even in the absence of large doses of fats in the diet and can affect all dogs, regardless of breed, size, or age.

However, it’s safe to say that a balanced diet and exercise will keep your dog healthy and reduce the risk of developing dangerous diseases.

Can dogs have Nutella?

Dogs cannot eat Nutella because in the best case scenario it adds nothing to their diet and will provoke weight gain or other long-term consequences, while in the worst-case scenario your dog will develop dangerous inflammations like gastroenteritis and pancreatitis.

Nutella also contains cocoa, which is extremely toxic to dogs. Even though the amount contained isn’t enough to make the average dog sick, it is recommended not to feed any amount of cocoa to dogs.

It is hard to resist the temptation to share a little snack with our furry companion, especially when they look at you with big pleading eyes. One trick you can use is to feed them healthy dog snacks while you eat yours, so you can both share a moment of pure bliss in complete safety.