Generally speaking, squirrels love anything sweet and many of them have a special desire for chocolate. So the answer to your question is, yes, squirrels can and do eat chocolate.
But just because they can doesn’t mean they should. Animal health experts don’t recommend offering your furry friend your leftover Halloween candy. However, if there happens to be some spilled in the backyard (or if you’re out camping and leave behind some S’mores), it’s really not going to hurt them at all.
Should Squirrels Eat Chocolate?
Chocolate is a delicious treat. Most squirrels love to snack on it. However, we don’t recommend feeding your pet chocolate because it has few benefits for them and a lot of consequences in certain cases.
Why Chocolate Is Dangerous for Squirrels
Although a little chocolate doesn’t hurt, it can cause a lot of problems if it’s consumed daily or in large amounts by your squirrel. That’s because chocolate contains theobromine, which is a cardiac stimulant toxic to most animals, including squirrels. The toxicity varies depending on the type of chocolate, the amount consumed, and the digestive system of your pet.
Why White Chocolate Is Safer But Still Not Recommended
You may not know this but white chocolate doesn’t meet the criteria for the definition of chocolate. It’s simply a dessert prepared with cocoa butter, sugar, and milk products. It lacks the cocoa solids that contain theobromine and give chocolate its bitter taste and dark color.
So technically speaking, it’s not even chocolate. That’s why in comparison to milk or dark chocolates, white chocolate has very few poisonous alkaloids and is therefore much safer for squirrels.
All that being said, white chocolate, like other high-fat chocolates, might have extra additives such as palm oil and fillers as well as a lot of sweeteners or sugar. So it may raise the chance of developing pancreatitis. It can also lead to other health problems as well including sudden weight gain, diabetes, and urinary tract infections.
Keeping all that in mind, we don’t think it’s a good idea to feed your squirrel white chocolate on a regular basis.
Are Chocolate-Based Products Safe for Squirrels to Eat?
We know that chocolate is dangerous for squirrels. But what about chocolate-based products such as chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cakes, and chocolate-covered almonds?
Can Squirrels Eat Chocolate Chip Cookies?
Chocolate chip cookies can be a healthy and nutritious snack for you if you make them yourself using organic ingredients. However, for your little friends, that’s not the case. Even if you replace chocolate with a small amount of cocoa powder, it’s still not as safe as cocoa powder packs a high concentration of methylxanthines that can be toxic to squirrels.
Can Squirrels Eat Chocolate Cakes?
Chocolate cakes can also have the same issue with their additives as other types of commercially made chocolate-based desserts which is why it’s best not to feed it to your furry friend.
Can Squirrels Eat Chocolate-Covered Almonds?
Chocolate-covered almonds that have a very thin chocolate coating are safe in small amounts. But they too shouldn’t be a part of your pet’s regular diet. They should be used sparingly and that too only on special occasions.
What Should You Feed Squirrels Instead of Chocolate?
If chocolate and all chocolate-based products are bad for squirrels, then what sweet treats should you feed them? Well, you have several options, including healthy veggies, nuts, and meat. As for sweet treats, fruits are your best option.
Health experts recommend the following five fruits as the healthiest for squirrels.
Apples can be fed to squirrels whole or sliced. They contain vitamin C and can help boost the immune system, which makes them the perfect sweet treat for your pet.
Apricots are a great source of beta-carotene, fiber, vitamins A and C. They can help keep your squirrel’s digestive system healthy and can also act as an antioxidant. Plus, most squirrels love apricots.
Bananas are high in potassium and can help regulate blood pressure. They’re also a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin B-12.
Blueberries can be a great source of antioxidants and vitamin K. They can help keep your furry friend’s vision healthy too. You can read more about the benefits of blueberries here.
Blackberries are high in antioxidants and vitamin C, which can help improve your squirrel’s immune system and digestion. Furthermore, they have several other benefits as well.
Although those fruits are healthy for squirrels, you should use them sparingly as they contain a good amount of sugar. Too much sugar can lead to diarrhea and other health problems.
It’s best practice to keep the sugary foods lower than 10% of the total calories your pet consumes in a day. One more thing to note here is that you shouldn’t feed your squirrel fruit pits or seeds as they can be toxic.
Chocolate should be avoided altogether. Squirrels don’t benefit from it much and if consumed in large amounts, it can be really toxic. So you should stick to the fruits we mentioned earlier as sweet treats for your pet.