One of the things you learn as a new puppy parent is what human foods are safe for your pooch to eat and which ones are major no-nos. Chocolate definitely tops the no list—theobromine and caffeine are two compounds in chocolate that stimulate the nervous system, which can cause severe symptoms. While most of us know that chocolate is toxic to canines, have you ever noticed a chocolate-looking coating on gourmet dog biscuits (like the photo above)? What’s that about? Well, there’s no need to worry because that coating isn’t chocolate. It’s carob … which is super tasty and totally safe for your dog.
What Is Carob?
Origin: While chocolate comes from cocoa beans, carob chips are made from the pod of a carob tree. Inside the pod is sweet pulp that is dried, roasted, and ground into a powder. You’ll find both carob powder and carob chips in the store.
Taste: Carob is naturally sweet and tends to have a nuttier flavor than chocolate.
Nutritional Content: Not only is carob free of the toxic compounds found in chocolate, it also touts a moderate amount of fiber, potassium, and vitamins.
Carob For Dogs
I like to use carob as a way to jazz up special occasion treats—either by sprinkling a few carob chips into my dough to make carob-chip pupcakes or by melting the chips in a double boiler to create a biscuit icing.
Icing For Dog Biscuits
Melting carob can be a little tricky—it doesn’t melt as easily as chocolate. Some people choose to melt carob chips in the microwave, but to be quite honest, it’s never worked well for me. I find the easiest way to melt carob chips is with a little coconut oil in a double boiler on the stovetop. Here’s how I do it:
Fill a saucepan 1/3 way full with water and bring to a boil.
Once water reaches a rolling boil, turn it down to a simmer.
Place a heatproof bowl on top of a saucepan. It should fit tightly on top of the saucepan and shouldn’t touch the water. Make sure no steam gets into the bowl or it will ruin your melt.
Put 1/2 cup carob chips and 1 tablespoon coconut oil into the bowl. After a couple of minutes start to mix them around. Continue mixing until mixture reaches a smooth consistency and has no more lumps.
Ice biscuits immediately.
Some advice: Make this carob icing when you’re ready to use it because you can’t successfully melt carob a second time. Store iced treats in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer!