Is Shea Butter & Cocoa Butter Toxic To Dogs?

By Jane Meggitt

You might use products containing cocoa and shea butter to keep your skin soft and supple. Cocoa butter is also found in unsweetened, or baking, chocolate. While cocoa butter is toxic to dogs, that's not the case with shea butter. Look at the ingredients contained in any of your sunscreens, moisturizers and cosmetics. Keep any containing cocoa butter away from Fido.

Cocoa Butter and Dogs

Chocolate comes from the tropical cacao tree. When the hulled beans of the cacao tree are ground up, a chocolate liquid results. Fat extracted from the liquid becomes cocoa butter. Baking chocolate contains the highest amount of theobromine, a compound similar to caffeine. While most dogs who consume cocoa butter will get sick to their stomach, in some dogs the theobromine can cauase seizures and abnormal heart rates. In a worst-case scenario, it can be fatal.

Shea Butter and Dogs

Shea butter, derived from the nut of the Africa shea tree, isn't used as a food. Because of its moisturizing properties, it is used in some canine hair conditioning products. The conditioning cream is used after shampooing and is rinsed out after staying on the coat and skin for a few minutes. If your dog does happen to consume his or your shea butter conditioner, call the vet just to be on the safe side.