Peanut butter for dogs isn’t a new idea. It’s full of protein and vitamins and can be used as a reward for good behavior or a “treat” for dogs recovering from surgery or illness. However, like anything else you give your dog, you should always check the label to make sure it’s safe before giving it to them to avoid certain ingredients.
Peanut Butter for Dogs: Is it Safe?
If you’re worried about the potential of peanut butter to harm your dog, don’t fret. In general, any peanut butter that is free of xylitol or chocolate should be suitable for dogs. However, there are some things to consider before you give your canine a taste of this snack food favorite.
First of all, peanut butter isn’t really considered a treat or even food for dogs—it has too much fat in it for that! As a result of its high-fat content (peanut butter contains 13 grams per two tablespoons), it can lead to weight gain if not carefully monitored. This means even though peanut butter is good for dogs, that if you want to give your dog some peanut butter every now and then as a special treat or reward, he should only be allowed small amounts at most every once in a while—and never as part of his regular diet.
If your dog has an allergy or sensitivity to peanuts at all (even though they aren’t actually nuts!), be sure not to give him any peanut products because they could trigger an allergic reaction right away since dogs’ systems react differently than humans’ do with food allergies/sensitivities.
The Type of Peanut Butter
A second factor to consider is the type of peanut butter you are feeding your dog. Some peanut butters have xylitol, which is toxic to dogs and can lead to liver failure. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in many foods, including gum and candy.
The following companies are still known to have peanut butter containing xylitol:
- Go Nuts, Co.
- Nuts ‘N More
Although these are the only ones listed here, you should carefully review the peanut butter label to check for xylitol prior to purchasing it for your dog.
Other peanut butters may contain other ingredients that are not safe for dogs like salt or sugar.
Peanut butter without any added ingredients is the safest choice, but even then it’s best to consult with a vet before feeding it regularly since some dogs have allergies or sensitivities that could be worsened by consuming too much peanut butter.
Xylitol Toxicity Symptoms
If you think your dog may have eaten peanut butter containing xylitol, watch for the following symptoms:
- Weakness (lack of strength) or shakiness
- Sudden collapse (collapsing without warning) or coma (being unconscious) which could lead to death
Hide Medicine in Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is a good way to hide pills or capsules because it can be easily mixed with other treats and it’s tasty enough that the dog will eat it without complaint. You could also use peanut butter as a way to mask the taste of bitter medication for yourself, your partner, or even your dog if their illness requires them taking pills on a daily basis.
How Much Peanut Butter Can Dogs Have?
Peanut butter is not recommended for dogs, but it’s not that bad if you want to give your dog a little treat.
- How much peanut butter can dogs have? The amount of peanut butter that’s safe for your dog depends on their size and weight.
- Can peanut butter cause pancreatitis in dogs? Yes, eating too much of anything can cause pancreatitis in dogs, including peanut butter.
Read the Label
If you’re not sure if peanut butter is safe for dogs, it’s best to check the label first. You want to make sure there are no xylitol in the peanut butter, which can be toxic for dogs (and humans). If there is xylitol in the peanut butter, it may say so on the ingredients list. If not, check with your veterinarian or local pet store about whether or not your particular brand of peanut butter will be safe for Fido.
Check out this article for the three top peanut butter brands for dogs!
Make Your Own Peanut Butter
As an alternative to purchasing peanut butter, you can make it yourself and know exactly what’s in it. To avoid added salts and preservatives, you can purchase raw peanuts and follow this recipe:
- Remove unsalted peanuts from shell and skin
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Place peanuts on a cooking sheet
- Roast for 10 minutes (shake the cookie sheet halfway through roasting)
- Allow to cool and remove the remaining skins. It’s ok if you don’t get all the skins removed, they will blend in!
Once you have completed the steps above, continue with the following:
- Place roasted peanuts into a food processor
- Turn the food processor on and process for 1-2 minutes
- Turn food processor off and scrape sides
- Repeat until you have a nice creamy peanut butter
The peanut butter can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a month in a jar that is tightly closed. If you decide against keeping it in the refrigerator, an airtight container should keep it fresh for approximately a week. Give it a stir if it separates if you add coconut oil for health benefits or added creaminess.
Choose a Safe Peanut Butter
As you can see, peanut butter is good for your dog and safe if consumed in moderation without xylitol. Finding an organic peanut butter without added sugars or salt is most beneficial. If you are unsure about how much peanut butter they should have or concerned due to medical issues, contact your veterinarian.