Can dogs eat peanut butter?

Peanut butter: This sticky snack creates perfect opportunities to capture dogs in silly positions as they attempt to lick peanut butter off the roof of their mouths. But, is peanut butter really safe for dogs to eat?

While peanut butter is an awesome treat to utilize for hiding pills or distracting your dog during a bath or nail trim, you must exercise some caution before dishing it up for your pup. Not all brands and types are safe for dogs. Before letting your dog have peanut butter, be sure to do your research.

Health benefits of peanut butter

Most peanut butter is safe for dogs to eat and is an excellent source of:

  • Protein

  • Vitamin E

  • Heart-healthy fats

  • Niacin (Vitamin B3)

While peanut butter is a fantastic, tasty treat that can provide some health benefits for your dog, keep in mind the 10 percent rule. No more than 10 percent of your pet’s daily calories should come from treats, and peanut butter is quite high on the calorie scale. Swap out some peanut butter for fresh veggies

instead to cut down on calories from treats.

If your pup can’t get enough peanut butter, the ideal option would be to make your own by simply blending peanuts and a little oil. If that’s not possible, be sure to read the labels of store-bought brands carefully, because some can contain hidden dangers that may sicken your furry pal.

Dangers of peanut butter

Potentially toxic ingredients — Even though most types of peanut butter are safe for dogs, be sure to watch out for hidden dangers. Check the ingredient label for:

  • High levels of sodium

  • Added sugars

  • Xylitol (may be listed as “sugar alcohols”)

  • Preservatives

Xylitol, a substance toxic to dogs, is becoming more common as a sugar substitute in many items, including toothpaste, gum, baked goods, and peanut butter. Xylitol is safe for people, but it can be deadly to dogs. When a dog consumes xylitol, insulin is rapidly released, which can cause a dangerous drop in blood sugar. At higher doses it can also cause acute liver failure.

Severe hypoglycemia can be life-threatening if untreated. Signs of hypoglycemia include:

  • Weakness

  • Collapse

  • Lack of coordination

  • Seizures

Peanut allergies — While peanut allergies in dogs are extremely rare, they are not impossible. If your dog happens to be allergic to peanuts, you may notice:

  • Itching

  • Chronic ear infections

  • Thinning hair coat

  • Impacted anal glands

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Hives

  • Swelling of the face

  • Difficulty breathing

Also, if any of your human family members have nut allergies, be sure to warn your veterinarian, because peanut butter is a common treat given during exams and procedures at veterinary hospitals.

Ways to safely serve peanut butter to your dog

Once you’ve found the perfect peanut butter (or made it at home), here are a few ways to incorporate it into your pet’s diet:

Kong toys — Ideal for pets with separation anxiety or those who need a special, long-lasting treat for the crate, Kong toys stuffed with peanut butter can provide hours of entertainment. To make this snack last longer, you can mix your pup’s portion of dry kibble into the peanut butter and freeze overnight.

Puzzle toys/feeders — A puzzle feeder is an excellent alternative to traditional food bowls because it will encourage your pet to use her brain to find her food. Anything that provides environmental enrichment and keeps your pup’s mind sharp is a good idea.

Medication administration — If your pet is receiving medication it is a good idea to first ask your veterinarian if it is okay to give with peanut butter (or cheese or a hot dog) as it may be contraindicated for some conditions (such as pancreatitis).

Distraction — Trying to hold a wiggly puppy still for a nail trim or keep an exuberant Labrador in the bathtub is no simple task. Make these chores a little easier by smearing peanut butter in front of your dog to distract her. Reapply as needed to get the job done.

Homemade treats — Everyone loves homemade goodies, and dogs are no exception. Check out this recipe that your pup won’t be able to keep her paws off.

Peanut butter bacon bites

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups oat flour

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 cup natural peanut butter (beware of xylitol)

  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce

  • 1 cup bacon

Instructions:

1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.Pulverize four cups of oats in the food processor until it reaches flour consistency. Remove the oat flour to a large bowl and set aside.

3.Place bacon in food processor and blend to a crumble.

4.Place the peanut butter, applesauce, and eggs in the food processor. Pulse lightly to combine.

5.Add the flour to the wet mixture by the cupful, pulsing to incorporate. The dough should equal three cups, leaving you 1 cup extra flour for rolling out.

6.Turn dough onto a lightly floured board to roll in two batches.

7.Roll out your dough, adding flour as necessary. Cut out your cookies using your favorite small cookie cutters.

8.Bake for 30 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through. Remove when just golden.

Your dog will be delighted if you whip up these scrumptious peanut butter dog treats!