Can sheep eat chocolate

Can Sheep Eat Chocolate? Read To Know!

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Chocolate is a comfort snack consumed by millions of people worldwide. Unfortunately, that’s different for animals, especially sheep. Sheep are hardy and strong animals but picky about what they eat. But can sheep eat chocolate?

No, sheep should not eat chocolate. Chocolate is a diary product, and the sheep’s digestive system cannot process dairy products. Additionally, chocolate is poisonous to sheep and may cause severe health issues to them.

Read on for more information on why feeding chocolate to your sheep is unsafe.

Can Sheep Eat Chocolate? And Is it safe?

Chocolate is toxic to sheep. Therefore, it shouldn’t be given to them. However, your sheep may sneak into the house and eat a piece of chocolate. This means that sheep can eat chocolate but may not ingest it due to its toxic components

Sheep are herbivores. They feed primarily on grass and other weeds. Sheep that live in areas without grass and plant matter feed on hay or silage. Any food apart from these should be analyzed carefully before feeding it to the sheep. And chocolate is one such food.

And while a small amount of chocolate will not affect the health of animals, including dogs and sheep, experts advise against feeding it to the sheep.

Chocolate contains theobromine—a toxic compound found in cocoa plants. Theobromine is more concentrated in dark chocolate than in milky chocolate. This makes it a health hazard when fed to sheep.

Since chocolate has little to no nutritional value to your animal, avoid feeding it to your sheep completely.

Can sheep eat chocolate

What Happens if Sheep Eat Chocolate?

Saying that sheep can’t eat chocolate is a misconception. Sheep enjoy eating chocolate as much as humans and other animals do.

Unfortunately, they may not digest chocolate properly due to the nature of their stomachs. Sheep stomachs are designed to break down tough foods like grass and plants.

The sheep may vomit, have diarrhea, or experience seizures. Besides, chocolate also contains other toxic compounds like caffeine, which is a stimulant.

Both of these can cause stomach upset and even lead to death in severe cases if action is not taken immediately.

Chocolate also contains sugar and fats; your sheep may easily become obese, leading to further heart conditions that risk their lives.

Can Lambs Eat Chocolate?

Like any infant, lambs have weak digestive systems that are still developing. They solely depend on their mother’s milk, tender forage, or other finely ground foods until about two months when they are weaned.

And while lambs will eagerly eat chocolate like adult sheep, the impact may be more severe, even in small amounts. Toxic compounds in chocolate may react rapidly with their systems and cause death.

As a result, you must remain vigilant about what your sheep eat, especially before they are weaned.

What Is Theobromine And How Does It Affect Sheep?

Theobromine or xantheose is a bitter-tasting alkaloid in chocolate or cocoa. The chemical compound is also found in tea and cola, although in small amounts.

According to this research on the effects of theobromine on sheep, lambs with an initial weight of 28kg were provided 9.9g of theobromine. The rations were based on their dietary needs for a period of 98 days. These amounts stimulated feed intake and growth in sheep.

However, feeding the lambs higher rations resulted in depression and a low feed and weight gain. On the other hand, feeding theobromine 50 mg/kg b.w daily for 5 days resulted in lowered feed intake.

While theobromine is known to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in humans, its effects differ on sheep.

Theobromine is a stimulant that can heighten a sheep’s heartbeat rate and stimulate the nervous system, which can easily cause a heart attack in sheep.

When consumed in small amounts, theobromine will cause excitement in sheep which results in difficulty sleeping. However, a larger amount of theobromine causes tremors and increased heart rates, which can easily result in death.

How Much Chocolate is Too Much for Your Sheep?

Chocolate is not part of a healthy sheep’s diet. Vets advise that you avoid feeding it completely to your sheep since it offers no nutritional benefits.

Therefore, how much chocolate is too much for sheep should not be a debate. However, knowing how chocolate may endanger your sheep’s lives when consumed accidentally is crucial.

You may not quantify how much chocolate is dangerous for your sheep, but there are signs you can look out for if your sheep sneaks into your kitchen and eats lots of chocolate.

Below are tell-tale signs that your sheep have had too much chocolate and that attention is required:

Frequently Asked Questions

Despite many dangers associated with feeding chocolate to sheep, many people are still unsure about what happens and what they can do when sheep eat chocolate. Below are common questions people ask about feeding chocolate to sheep.

1.     Can I feed small amounts of chocolate to my sheep?

Chocolate has a lot of health benefits to humans but none to sheep. As a result, desist completely from feeding chocolate to your sheep since they add no nutritional value.

2.     What can I do if sheep accidentally eat chocolate?

If you suspect that your sheep might have eaten chocolate that may complicate their conditions, call a veterinarian immediately for diagnosis.

Otherwise, you can give the sheep a lot of clean drinking water if they’ve taken just a small amount of chocolate.


Sheep are hardy animals but with susceptible digestive systems. They will survive better in the most extreme climates, including snow. However, they’ll easily succumb to the slightest mistake in their dietary choices.

Even food considered normal and healthy may become toxic when given inappropriately. Avoid feeding chocolate to your sheep entirely if you can. It’s an unsafe snack food full of theobromine and caffeine that can harm your sheep. Besides, chocolate adds no nutritional value when fed to the sheep.


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