Nutty treats: Can dogs have peanut butter?

Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter?

Peanut butter is a tasty and nutritious snack for humans, and there is no doubt that many dogs love it too.But is peanut butter safe for dogs and should we be feeding it to them? 

If peanut butter is your favorite treat and you want to know whether you can share it with your canine pal, read on for all you need to know.

Table of Contents

Can dogs have peanut butter?

Yes, dogs can have peanut butter and many dogs absolutely love it! Just make sure it does not contain harmful ingredients

Some peanut butter brands contain only peanuts, but others have a long list of ingredients- some of which are harmful to dogs. 

Be sure to choose suitable and safe peanut butter brands for your dog.

Is peanut butter safe for dogs?

As mentioned above, peanut butter is safe for dogs as long as it does not contain certain ingredients. Always check the label before buying peanut butter for dogs.

The main ingredient you need to avoid is xylitol, a sweetener that is found in many human foods but is toxic to dogs

Look out for xylitol in any product that is advertised as ‘sugar-free’ or ‘reduced sugar’.

Xylitol may also appear on the label as xylite, d-xylitol or xylityl-glucoside or anhydroxyxylitol. 

If fed to dogs, xylitol causes a surge in insulin and a corresponding drop in blood sugar levels. This can result in vomiting, seizures, weakness, collapse, liver failure, and even death, so xylitol poisoning should be taken seriously.

In fact, xylitol is 22 times more toxic to dogs than chocolate! If you accidentally feed your dog a product that contains even a small amount of xylitol, contact your vet immediately.

Some peanut butters are also high in sugar, salt, and added oil (usually palm oil).

None of these are good for dogs; although they are unlikely to cause problems in very small amounts, they are best avoided completely if possible. 

Some peanut butter brands sneak in other nuts too, so watch out for macadamia nuts as these are toxic to dogs. Ideally, peanut butter for dogs will only contain peanuts and have no added sugar, salt, sweeteners, or other chemical additives.

Why do dogs like peanut butter?

Many dogs love the taste of peanut butter, just like many people do. It might be that they sense that it is packed with nutrients, or maybe they love the creamy texture. 

Peanuts are naturally high in fat and this can be very appealing to the taste buds! However, some dogs don’t like peanut butter at all. 

If your dog has never tasted peanut butter, only give them a small amount to begin with- just a small amount on a teaspoon to lick will be fine. 

Watch their reaction- they will soon tell you if they want more! However, before digging into the jar for a second helping, it is a good idea to wait a while and assess your dog for signs of allergy or intolerance. 

If they suffer no ill effects after a few hours, it is probably safe to feed again.

Is peanut butter good for dogs?

Peanut butter is highly nutritious and can be good for dogs if fed in small amounts. It is high in protein and contains B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. 

However, peanut butter is naturally high in fat, which may cause gastrointestinal problems in some dogs. 

High fat also means that it is calorie dense and can cause weight gain if your dog eats too much of it. If your dog is overweight, on a low-fat diet, has sensitive digestion, or suffers from pancreatitis or diabetes, check with your vet whether peanut butter is safe for them to eat.

Can I use peanut butter to put weight on my dog?

Although peanut butter is calorie-dense and can cause weight gain, it is not recommended that you use it to help your dog put on weight. 

If you feed too much peanut butter you risk unbalancing your dog’s diet, meaning they may miss out on other vital nutrients. Peanut butter should only be fed as a treat, and as part of a balanced diet. 

If you need to help your dog put on weight, ask your vet which foods would be more suitable.

How much peanut butter can dogs eat?

When it comes to feeding peanut butter, common sense should prevail. It should be fed as a treat, as part of a balanced diet. It is recommended that treats never make up more than 10% of a dog’s daily intake. 

As a guide, small dogs may have up to one teaspoon per day, medium-sized dogs may have two teaspoons a day and large dogs may have up to three teaspoons per day. 

If you use peanut butter to hide tablets or help with medical procedures such as ear cleaning, the total daily amount can be split into smaller portions.

Can puppies eat peanut butter?

Yes, puppies can eat peanut butter if it is xylitol, salt, and sugar-free. However, bear in mind that puppies are much smaller than adult dogs and may be more likely to develop stomach upsets if fed rich food. 

Puppies should only be fed very small amounts of peanut butter (up to half a teaspoon per day) if at all. If you notice any signs that your puppy is not tolerating the peanut butter, stop feeding it as a treat.

Suggested reading: Superfoods for dogs: A complete guide

Dog-safe peanut butter brands

So what is the best peanut butter for dogs? There are lots of peanut butter brands out there- some are good for dogs and some are not. So to help you out we’ve compiled a list of dog-safe peanut butter brands:

  • Kong Stuff’n Real Peanut Butter (designed for dogs)
  • Dilly’s Poochie Butter (designed for dogs)
  • Green Coast Pawnut Butter (designed for dogs)
  • Spread the Love Organic Peanut Butter
  • CB’s Nuts Organic Peanut Butter
  • Teddie Peanut Butter
  • Brad’s Organic Peanut Butter (smooth or crunchy)

How to feed peanut butter to dogs

Peanut butter can be licked straight from the spoon, but you can also use it to provide mental stimulation for your dog.

Licking and chewing are great stress relievers and are a good way to keep your dog entertained. You could smear a little peanut butter on the inside of a hollow dog toy and your dog will enjoy licking it out. 

Peanut butter can also be smeared on lick mats or other puzzle feeders. If you enjoy training your dog, consider making homemade peanut butter training treats using dog-safe ingredients.

If your dog doesn’t like having his nails trimmed or his ears cleaned, licking peanut butter while you do this can help to take his mind off it. 

A handy tip is to smear a little peanut butter on the inside of a coffee mug and let your dog lick it out while you clean his ears or trim his nails.

Can dogs eat peanut butter crackers?

Most peanut butter crackers are too high in salt, sugar, and fat to be considered healthy for dogs. If your dog eats one cracker by accident, it shouldn’t pose a risk unless it contains toxic ingredients such as xylitol.

However, they should not be fed to dogs on a regular basis. You may be able to make dog-safe homemade peanut butter crackers using more healthy ingredients.

Are there alternatives to peanut butter for dogs?

There are many reasons you may not be able to feed peanut butter to your dog. They may have a peanut allergy, be on a special diet, or they may just not like the taste. 

The good news is that there are alternatives to feeding peanut butter. These include cheese spread in a tube, liver paste, fish paste, almond butter, cashew butter, cottage cheese, or yogurt.

Whatever peanut butter alternative you choose, just make sure it does not contain harmful chemicals, sugar, or salt. If your dog is on a special diet or has ongoing medical conditions, check with your vet before introducing new foods.

Can dogs be allergic to peanut butter?

Yes, dogs can be allergic to peanut butter if they have a peanut allergy. If you know your dog has a peanut allergy, you should never feed peanut butter. 

If you have never fed peanuts before, only feed a small amount of peanut butter and closely observe your dog for signs of a reaction. Symptoms of a peanut allergy can range from mild to severe and may include:

  • Swelling
  • Itching
  • Hives
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fast heart rate
  • Collapse.

If your dog shows any of these symptoms after eating peanuts, contact your vet immediately as anaphylaxis can be life threatening. In some cases, dogs who are fed peanuts or peanut butter regularly may have an allergy that shows up as ongoing skin irritation or ear problems.

In conclusion

Some dogs love the taste of peanut butter, some don’t. Peanut butter is nutritious and does contain beneficial vitamins and minerals. It can be fed occasionally as a treat, but be aware that it is high in fat and may not be suitable for all dogs. 

Before you feed peanut butter to your dog, it is vital that you ensure it doesn’t contain xylitol, as even a small amount of this sweetener can be toxic to dogs. 

Dogs can also suffer from peanut allergies so only feed a small amount of peanut butter to begin with and monitor your dog carefully for signs of a reaction.

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