Pretty much everyone knows that pigs will eat just about anything. Smart people, or people who have owned pigs for a while, know that they definitely shouldn’t.
Pigs need a nutritious, and varied diet if they’re going to grow and stay healthy.
But surprisingly enough, there are some foods that pigs can eat that are decidedly bad for other animals. How about chocolate, for instance? Can pigs eat chocolate?
Yes, pigs can eat chocolate safely in small quantities. Chocolate is a great source of calories for weaning pigs and when a pig is nearing finishing weight. So long as you strictly limit the intake of chocolate for specific purposes or as a rare treat, it will not hurt pigs.
Let me tell you, I was pretty surprised at myself when I learned this specific factoid. Chocolate ordinarily is pretty toxic for all kinds of animals, particularly mammals like cats, dogs, goats, and sheep.
But, as it turns out, pigs have a digestive system that is quite similar to that of a human, and this means they can eat chocolate safely so long as you control the quantity.
It’s an interesting subject, so keep reading to learn everything you need to know.
Can Pigs Safely Eat Chocolate?
Believe it or not, yes, pigs can safely eat chocolate. This is because pigs have a digestive system that is very similar to humans, and they are able to process chocolate in the same way.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should go out and give your pig a bar of chocolate every day. Chocolate is still a treat food, and like all treat foods, it should be given in moderation.
That being said, it does have a place in their diet, and can actually help owners out in some very important ways. More on those in a bit.
Nutritional Benefits of Chocolate for Pigs
The nutritional profile of chocolate varies depending on the type and the way it is used, but in general, it is a good source of calories and can be very helpful for pigs that are weaning or finishing.
Chocolate also contains a number of other nutrients that can be beneficial for pigs, including fat, sugar, and some minerals.
Primarily it is just good for quick energy and a mental boost: pigs will love the taste, that is for sure!
One way that chocolate can be particularly helpful for pigs is when they are being weaned.
Weaning is a stressful time for pigs, and anything that can help make the transition easier is a welcome addition. Chocolate can help by providing extra calories and helping to ease the stress of weaning.
Another time when chocolate can be helpful for pigs is when they are nearing finishing weight.
This is because chocolate is a very dense source of calories, and can help them pack on the last few pounds that they need to reach their target weight.
Risks of Feeding Chocolate to Pigs
Of course, it is important to remember that even though chocolate can be helpful in these situations it should still only be given in moderation.
Too much chocolate can lead to serious problems. For instance, chocolate does contain caffeine and that can be very harmful to pigs if they consume too much of it.
In addition, chocolate also contains a substance called theobromine, which can be toxic to pigs in high quantities.
Theobromine is normally quite toxic for animals, but pigs are able to deal with modest amounts, separating it and excreting it in both solid and liquid waste.
So, while pigs can eat chocolate safely in small quantities, it is important to be careful and not give them too much.
Also, be sure to keep an eye out for any signs of illness after they eat chocolate, just to be on the safe side.
Can Pigs Eat Milk Chocolate?
Yes, pigs can eat milk chocolate, and it is among the best types of chocolate for them. This is because milk chocolate contains more calories than dark chocolate.
For pigs, the higher cocoa content of dark chocolate is actually less important because it provides fewer calories and more theobromine and caffeine.
Can Pigs Eat Dark Chocolate?
Yes, pigs can safely eat dark chocolate. However, it is important to remember that dark chocolate contains more theobromine and caffeine than milk chocolate.
This means that it should be given in smaller quantities, and you should be sure to keep an eye out for any signs of illness after your pig eats dark chocolate.
Can Pigs Eat White Chocolate?
Yes, pigs can safely eat white chocolate.
Can Pigs Eat Baking Chocolate?
Yes, but they probably shouldn’t. Baking chocolate contains the highest theobromine content of all common chocolate varieties, so you’ll need to be quite cautious about how much you give them.
If you do decide to give your pig some baking chocolate, be very sparing with the quantity!
Can Pigs Eat Cooked Chocolate?
Chocolate, in most forms, is already cooked if you want to be really technical about it.
But in layman’s terms, yes, pigs can have baked goods made with chocolate so long as it does not contain anything else overtly harmful for them.
How Much Chocolate Can Pigs Have?
The amount of chocolate pigs can have depends on several factors, namely the type of chocolate, the pig’s size, and whether or not the pig is weaning or nearing slaughter.
In general, though, it is best to be prudent and give them only a small amount of chocolate at a time if you are just treating them.
But if a pig is weaning or putting on finishing weight, up to 30% of its diet might be made of milk chocolate.
If you are unsure, it is always best to consult with your veterinarian before giving your pig any chocolate or products containing chocolate.
How to Give Chocolate to Your Pigs
If you want to give your pig some chocolate, the best way to do so is in the form of milk chocolate. You can either give them whole chocolate bars or break them into smaller pieces.
As for how much to give them, a good rule of thumb is to give them no more than 1 ounce of chocolate per day for every 10 pounds of body weight.
So, if you have a 20-pound pig, you can give them up to 2 ounces of milk chocolate per day.
Can Baby Pigs Have Chocolate, Too?
Surprisingly, yes, piglets can have chocolate in certain circumstances, namely when weaning.
However, it is important to note that piglets are more susceptible to the effects of theobromine and caffeine.
As such, you should be cautious about how much chocolate you give them, and always give them milk chocolate instead of dark or baking chocolate.
As you might expect, chocolate has a way of making pigs pack on the pounds, so take care that your piglets are getting a well-rounded diet that contains all of the other things they need, too.
Frequently Asked Questions
Pigs can eat candy, but unlike most milk chocolate, many candies contain ingredients that can be harmful to them.
For example, some candies contain xylitol, which is toxic to pigs. So, it is best to avoid giving them candy altogether.
Yes, potbelly pigs can eat chocolate. However, it is important to be cautious about how much you give them since they are more prone to obesity than other pigs.
If a pig eats too much chocolate, they may experience vomiting, diarrhea, and/or tremors. In severe cases, chocolate toxicity can lead to death.
This is rarely a concern for pigs (at least compared to other animals) but it is nonetheless important to be cautious about how much chocolate you give your pig and always consult with your veterinarian if you have any worries about inadvertent effects.
Yes, so long as it is not spoiled. In fact, consumer milk chocolate that is past its “sell by” date or otherwise unsellable due to packaging defects is an important source of dietary supplementation for many small farmers who own pigs.
Chocolate in this category is often sold at a discount or even given away for free by the manufacturer or retailer.
Just to be clear, you should never give your pigs any food that is obviously spoiled, rotting, or otherwise decayed as this can make them quite sick.
Tom has built and remodeled homes, generated his own electricity, grown his own food and more, all in quest of remaining as independent of society as possible. Now he shares his experiences and hard-earned lessons with readers around the country.