Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter: Yes, But First a Word of Warning
Have you ever witnessed a dog eating peanut butter? A quick google search of “dogs + peanut butter” will more than likely land you in a video vortex of adorable puppies licking the creamy concoction from a spoon. In fact, as a dog owner, you have probably used peanut butter to mask the taste of a prescription medication, or simply as a reward in the center of a kong treat. So, can dogs eat peanut butter? Before you reach for the Skippy in the cabinet, let’s look at the pros and cons of giving peanut butter to your four-legged friend.
- 1 Xylitol + Dogs = Disaster
- 2 Xylitol Poisoning: Symptoms
- 3 Peanut Butter: Look Out for Xylitol
- 4 Other Xylitol Traps
- 5 Other Possible Dangers of Peanut Butter for Dogs
- 6 Pros of Peanut Butter for Dogs
- 7 What to Look for When Choosing Peanut Butter
- 8 How to Serve Peanut Butter
- 9 Peanut Butter for Dogs: A Treat, NOT a Meal
- 10 Peanut Butter Alternatives
- 11 Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter? In Summary
Xylitol + Dogs = Disaster
Chances are, you yourself have likely consumed Xylitol. Commonly found in sugar-free gums, candies, vitamins, and even toothpaste, Xylitol is a popular sugar substitute. Xylitol is a naturally occurring substance (found in berries, corn, lettuce, trees, etc) that is extracted from hardwood trees for commercial use.
With a look and taste just like sugar but only 2/3 the calories, Xylitol is quickly becoming commonplace in grocery stores. Consequently, with the ever-growing health craze, consumers are more and more drawn to products boasting a “sugar-free” label. However, you should think twice before giving some of your store-bought favorites to Fido. While Xylitol is safe for human consumption, studies show it is 100 times more toxic than chocolate when consumed by a dog.
The number one cause of Xylitol poisoning in dogs is sugar-free gum (keep your purses and wallets out of reach!). However, did you know that Xylitol is often an ingredient in your pet’s favorite creamy treat? That is to say, peanut butter has long been a famed delicacy amongst canines, but certain brands add xylitol. Fortunately, avoiding an unexpected case of Xylitol poisoning is easy: simply avoid buying products with “xylitol” in the ingredients list.
Xylitol Poisoning: Symptoms
The smallest amount of Xylitol in your dog’s system can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), liver failure, seizures, or even death in dogs. To explain, ingesting Xylitol provokes your dog’s body to over-produce insulin, thus causing a massive decrease in blood sugar. Symptoms of Xylitol poisoning can show as early as ten minutes after consumption and include:
- Lack of Coordination
If your dog is displaying any of the above symptoms and your suspect Xylitol poisoning, take them to the vet immediately. No matter how small the amount ingested, Xylitol can be extremely deadly for dogs.
Peanut Butter: Look Out for Xylitol
Fortunately, many popular peanut butter brands using Xylitol heard the cries of disgruntled pet parents and switched to safer ingredients. However, there are still a few labels out there containing xylitol. Be sure to watch out for xylitol in these brands:
- Protein Plus PB
- Nuts ‘N More
- Krush Nutrition
- Go Nuts, Co.
- P28 Foods
- Protein Plus PB
However, it is crucial that you check every label before you give anything to your dog. Companies are constantly changing their ingredients to be more cost-effective without letting consumers know. Therefore, you should take a few seconds to read every product label, it could save your dog’s life.
Other Xylitol Traps
As previously stated, xylitol has found a home in a number of popular consumer products. To ensure you and your dog stay away from hidden danger, we have compiled a list of all products that commonly use xylitol.
- Baked goods
- Sugar-free Chewing gum (Eclipse, Orbit, Trident, and more)
- Some Peanut butter
- Fruit drinks
- Some Medications (Nature’s Plus, Allegra, Gummy Vites)
- Certain cereals and cereal bars
- Sugar-free candy
- Over the counter vitamin supplements
- Sugar-free breath mints
- Jellies and jams
- Sugar-free puddings and Jello
Moreover, some products will simply use the verbiage “artificially sweetened” instead of claiming Xylitol. We recommend you steer clear of anything artificial, and always thoroughly read the label before introducing any new product to your beloved fur baby.
Other Possible Dangers of Peanut Butter for Dogs
Clearly, xylitol is a major con of some peanut butter. Fortunately, most peanut butter brands have thankfully switched to a safer ingredient list. However, there are some other reasons pet owners should take caution when giving Fido any peanut butter.
Too Much Sugar
While most brands have ruled out xylitol for their sweetening needs, companies will often go straight to the source: sugar. Just like in humans, sugar is simply bad for dogs. Consequently, over-consumption of sugar can lead to a number of ailments such as:
- Yeast Infections
- Parasites and Harmful Bacteria
- Premature Aging
- Food Allergies
While it is a pro that some types of peanut butter do not utilize deadly xylitol, regular sugar can often be just as bad in the long-run. Therefore, it is important to practice moderation when giving your sweet pup the sweet treat of peanut butter.
Aflatoxins in Peanut Butter
Ready to dive into the scientific breakdown of the peanut? Considering the main ingredient in peanut butter is in fact peanuts, we need to get familiar with their genetic makeup to determine whether or not they are good for our furry friends. Aflatoxins are a type of toxin produced by fungi in certain crops such as corn, cottonseed, tree nuts, and you guessed it: peanuts.
Several studies show that aflatoxins, a naturally occurring form of mycotoxins, are one of the most cancer-causing matters on the planet. The main victim in the case of peanuts: the liver. There are a number of published studies showing cases of lab animals contracting liver cancer when consuming too many aflatoxins.
One of the most common food allergies amongst humans is the tiny peanut. Interestingly enough, many schools ban parents from even packing school lunches using peanut butter! Conversely, dogs are more often allergic to beef, dairy, and wheat-based products. However, many dogs have been known to have allergic reactions to peanuts. Signs of an allergic reaction in your dog include:
- Chronic Ear Inflammation
- Gastrointestinal Problems
- Diarrhea and Gas
- Licking their Feet
- Itchy Hind Quarters
- Skin Irritations
- Thining Coat
If you see your dog experiencing any of these symptoms, you may want to consider getting them tested for allergies. Like people, dogs can undergo a series of tests to determine the source of an allergic reaction. As a result, you can save your dog from any potential allergy threats before it is too late.
High Fat and Calorie Content
Peanut butter is one of the most densely caloric foods you or your dog can eat. Accordingly, most peanut butter brands have over 200 calories in a mere two tablespoons. Honestly, have you ever actually measured out a serving of peanut butter? Two tablespoons is practically nothing! With this in mind, if your dog is struggling with weight issues, think twice before serving up a spoonful of peanut butter.
Furthermore, most peanut butter is manufactured to have a long shelf-life. This process results in an excess of trans-fatty acids from hydrogenated oils. In other words, peanut butter is high in “bad fats”.
Pros of Peanut Butter for Dogs
Time to play devil’s advocate. While yes, certain peanut butter can be toxic and unhealthy, there are in fact a host of benefits to feeding Fido the right kind of peanut butter. With dedicated time and research, introducing peanut butter in moderation can be good for your precious pup.
Great Source of Protein
No matter what stage of development your dog is in, protein is essential to their health plan. Protein is fundamental in building and repairing muscles, producing energy, and boosting immunity. For example, peanut butter is, in fact, a wonderful source of protein.
Typically the word “fat” is not associated with a positive tune. However, certain foods, such as peanut butter, contain “healthy fats” that help promote immunity and optimal health functions. Furthermore, these so-called healthy fats can help prevent heart disease and diabetes.
You have likely heard the term “healthy fat” in reference to certain foods such as nuts, avocados, olive oil, and dark chocolate. However, just because avocados boast “healthy fats” doesn’t mean your guacamole is completely guilt-free. In the same fashion, peanut butter should be enjoyed by your pooch in moderation.
Vitamin B + Niacin
Niacin is a B-Vitamin that is crucial for a healthy body in dogs, cats, and humans. Commonly found in most pet foods, Niacin is known for assisting the body in breaking down fats and sugars to produce energy. Furthermore, Niacin promotes healthy skin and coat on your beloved fur baby. Fortunately, Niacin is a naturally occurring ingredient in peanuts, making peanut butter chock-full of this miracle vitamin.
What to Look for When Choosing Peanut Butter
Clearly, peanut butter can be a lovely treat to help maintain the health of your pet. However, as previously stated, the brand/type of peanut butter you select is crucial. Remember to never feed your dog peanut butter with xylitol, as the outcome can turn deadly. When in doubt, read and re-read the label and look up anything unfamiliar. Equally important, you should buy peanut butter that is unsalted, all-natural, and organic. Better yet, you may want to consider making…
Homemade Peanut Butter
The only way to truly know what you are feeding your dog when it comes to peanut butter is to make it yourself! With only a few ingredients and a little TLC, your dog will be reaping the rewards of your homemade magic! There are dozens of recipes out there, but we have combed through them for you and found our favorite!
- Two cups roasted, unsalted peanuts
- Two Tablespoons ground flax seed
- One Tablespoon organic coconut oil
- Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend to a smooth, creamy texture!
Peanut Butter for Dogs
If the thought of homemade peanut butter sounds too taxing, there is peanut butter on the market produced specifically for pups! In fact, the amazing holistic pet wellness company, Honest Paws has recently debuted a CBD infused peanut butter for dogs! Honest Paws is proud to use only the highest quality, all-natural ingredients with lab-tested and approved CBD. Your dog is sure to go crazy for the taste, and immediately reap the physiological rewards of this amazing product. CBD infused peanut butter is great for treating:
- Anxiety Issues
- Pain & Inflammation
- Gastrointestinal Issues
- Heart Health
Clearly, CBD infused peanut butter is a great solution for your dog’s overall wellness. Dogs under twenty-five pounds should eat 1/2 a tablespoon daily, while dogs over twenty-five pounds should receive a full tablespoon.
CBD For Dogs
If you haven’t heard of CBD for dogs, the benefits of this miracle herb are undeniable! The benefits of CBD oil include, but are not limited to:
- Easing anxiety
- Preventing and treating seizures and epilepsy
- Easing body and nerve-related pains
- Reducing inflammation
- Calming side-effects of cancer treatment
- Promoting overall homeostasis, and effectively preventing cancer
- Protects blood vessels and heart
The pros of CBD oil speak for themselves, and we are pleased to report CBD oil has virtually zero side-effects. Pet parents everywhere are incorporating CBD into their dog’s diets, and there are a number of ways to do so. If you have more questions about CBD for dogs, consult this definitive guide.
How to Serve Peanut Butter
Now that you know the facts about peanut butter for your dog, how can you serve it? Fortunately, you have a number of options both you and your best friend will love.
A massive hit amongst dogs (and cats) everywhere, the Kong toy is a perfect way to feed your pup peanut butter. If you are unfamiliar with the miracle toy, it is a rubber chew that you fill with treats. Not only does it provide hours of entertainment for your pup, but it comes with a host of benefits such as:
- Easing Separation Anxiety
- Promotes Exercise and Recreation
- Weight Management
- Distracts from Digging and Barking
- Helps with Crate Training
- Perfect for Teething Puppies
- Teaches Mindful Chewing (no more shredded shoes!)
Clearly, filling a Kong toy with peanut butter is a great way to promote your dog’s overall health and happiness.
As a Means to Medicate
Every now and then, your sweet pup may need medication for an ailment. Feeding a dog a pill is no picnic, but peanut butter has been helping pet owners medicate their dogs for years. Simply hiding the pill in a spoonful of peanut butter can help shield the taste of the pill, and ensure that your dog will not spit it out somewhere in the house.
Dog Treats: DIY
With the ever-growing popularity of holistic pet wellness, many pet parents are opting to make their own dog treats. While it takes some time and commitment, this is the only way to ensure you know exactly what your dog is eating. Peanut butter is a great base for your homemade treats, and you can have fun incorporating other healthy ingredients like glucosamine, pumpkin, and CBD oil.
Peanut Butter by the Spoonful
The most common and simple way to feed your dog peanut butter is with a good ole’ fashioned spoon! Be sure to hold onto the spoon so your dog doesn’t chew on the metal. If you are feeling sassy, snap a quick video! Your beloved dog can join the thousands of happy peanut butter licking puppies on the internet.
Peanut Butter for Dogs: A Treat, NOT a Meal
It is important to note that peanut butter is not a meal replacement, but rather an occasional treat. Typically, treats should make up no more than 10% of your dogs daily diet. Like humans, dogs need a balanced, healthy diet. You may want to consider working other dog-friendly fruits and veggies into their health regime.
Peanut Butter Alternatives
Do you want to eat the same boring thing every day? I think not! Your four-legged friend is no different. Incorporating healthy, canine-approved fruits and veggies into your dog’s diet can work wonders for their well-rounded health plan.
Can Dogs Eat Apples?
Apples are an incredibly healthy snack for people and canines alike. With the core and seeds removed, apples provide a number of benefits our furry friends. Apples are full of vitamin A, vitamin C, dietary fiber, and antioxidants. Furthermore, apples help clean your dog’s teeth and keep their breath smelling fresh. You can slice the apples into tiny bits and serve alone, or bake them into a yummy treat!
Again, be sure to thoroughly remove all seeds and core as they present a choking hazard and are toxic to dogs. Furthermore, like anything, apples should be enjoyed in moderation. Too many apples can result in tummy issues and diarrhea.
Can Dogs Eat Carrots?
Much like apples, carrots can be a healthy (and fun!) addition to your dog’s diet. Full of beta-carotene, carrots act as a powerful antioxidant that promotes healthy skin, eyesight, and bone development. Better yet, carrots also help reduce the risk of kidney disease and even help prevent cancer.
With benefits like that, you should definitely consider incorporating carrots into your dog’s diet. For example, you can bake them into treats using your homemade dog-friendly peanut butter. Additionally, you can simply give your dog a carrot as an alternative to unhealthy rawhide chews.
Can Dogs Eat Celery?
When cut into small pieces, celery can be a great healthy snack for dogs! Specifically, celery can help pups suffering from obesity, as celery is incredibly low in cholesterol and fat. Additionally, celery is a great source of fiber and is full of vitamins, folate, manganese, and potassium. However, like all fruits and veggies, celery should be considered a treat and not make up more than 10% of your pets daily diet. In addition, too much celery can cause tummy aches and excessive urination.
Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter? In Summary
All things considered, peanut butter can and should be, a delightful addition to your dog’s diet. However, extreme care must be taken when selecting the perfect peanut butter. Better yet, we recommend a homemade approach to ensure your dog’s health. Unfortunately, more than one dog has been lost to xylitol poisoning so a DIY approach or a peanut butter made specifically for dogs by a reputable company is the route you want to go. Thereupon, you should read, re-read, and research everything on the label. Remember, fruits, veggies, and peanut butter should be considered an occasional treat. With these precautions in mind, go forth and enjoy the tail-wagging joy of your peanut butter licking puppy!