Can dogs eat peanut butter?
Peanut butter, whether it’s smooth, creamy, or crunchy, makes a tasty treat for dogs from time to time. Peanut butter can be used in puzzle feeders, or as a treat to make bath time or nail trims less stressful. It can also be spread on chew toys for teething puppies or used for giving medications to your pooch. But is peanut butter really a safe treat for dogs? Here’s what you need to know about peanut butter before you let your canine buddy lick the jar clean.
How much peanut butter can my dog eat?
Peanut butter is high in fat and calories. It’s an energy-dense treat. This is one important reason why you can’t give your pooch as much as he wants. Calories from peanut butter can add up pretty quickly, and your pet could end up piling on unwanted pounds.
Consider this: 2 tablespoons of peanut butter have about 180-200 calories!
If it’s your dog’s first time eating peanut butter, giving him small amounts (about a half teaspoon twice a day for a small dog) can help ensure that there won’t be any adverse reactions. Medium or large dogs can be given a teaspoon of peanut butter twice a day, max.
If your dog has any of the following health issues, you should ask your vet if giving peanut butter is okay.
Can peanut butter help skinny dogs gain weight?
An important thing to keep in mind about peanut butter is that it’s not a complete and balanced source of nutrients. Even if it’s high in calories, peanut butter is not a healthy alternative to help your skinny pet gain weight. Feeding excessive amounts can do more harm than good since calories from peanut butter come mostly from fat.
If you’re worried that your dog is too thin, schedule an appointment with your vet. After giving your dog a thorough exam and ruling out underlying health issues, your vet may recommend calorie-dense diets that can safely help your dog gain weight.
The Dangers of Feeding Your Dog Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is a favorite treat for many dogs. If you’re one of those pet parents who’s quick to reach for the jar of peanut butter when your pooch gives you those loving puppy eyes, here are few things you should keep in mind:
Check the list of ingredients to make sure that the peanut butter does not contain xylitol. Xylitol is a common sugar substitute. It’s often used in low-calorie drinks, chewing gum, commercially baked cookies, etc. But this artificial sweetener can be life-threatening when consumed by dogs.
Some peanut butter products or other foods list ingredients with a “xyl” on their labels. This is synonymous with xylitol. You may find ingredients that are listed as 1,4-Anhydro-D-xylitol, xylite, anhydroxylitol, D-xylitol, and xylitylglucoside. These are just a few of the common examples of ingredients that contain xylitol.
Unfortunately, some brands of peanut butter use this, so don’t forget to check labels. Better still, make a habit of checking not only peanut butter labels, but also of pet foods, treats, medications, and anything that you give to your dog.
If your dog has eaten something that contains xylitol, don’t wait for symptoms to show. Take your pet to your veterinarian immediately. Seeking prompt medical attention can significantly improve your pet’s prognosis.
If your dog is allergic to peanuts, eating peanut butter may trigger a hypersensitive reaction. Life-threatening allergic reactions in dogs may be rare but your dog could develop allergy symptoms such as:
- Severe itching
- Swelling around the eyes and/or muzzle
- Hair loss
- Hives on any part of the dog’s body
- Excessive greasy hair coat
Some dogs with mild to moderate food allergies may suffer recurrent ear infections, hair loss, frequent bouts of anal gland problems, or chronic itching (including chewing of the paws). These allergy symptoms can range from mild to severe. If you notice any of these symptoms after your dog has eaten peanut butter, you should stop giving it and connect with your vet.
Warning: If a member of the household is allergic to peanuts, he/she may be exposed to the allergen that may be carried by the dog’s mouth and/or breath.
Dogs that have been diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis or those breeds that are known to be highly predisposed to chronic pancreatitis, like Yorkshire Terriers and Miniature Schnauzers, should never be given peanut butter. Even a small amount can trigger or worsen pancreatitis.
Safe Ways to Offer Peanut Butter to Your Dog
There are several ways to share some peanut butter with your pet. Here are some of them:
Use peanut butter to give medication to your dog. Giving pills and capsules to dogs can sometimes be a battle of wits between pets and pet owners. If you’re in the same boat with these pet owners, try coating the medication in peanut butter to disguise the texture and flavor. If your dog has not tasted peanut butter before, offer a dollop and see if he likes it. If he finds peanut butter tasty, you can now use it to cover your pet’s medication. Many dogs will gobble up the peanut butter-covered pill or capsule without a second thought.
Give your dog peanut butter as a bath time or grooming treat. If your pet just can’t keep still during bath time, try placing a small amount of peanut butter on the wall of the shower or bathtub to distract him. He’ll likely be too busy licking it off and won’t mind being given a bath. Peanut butter can make bath times more fun for you and your pet. You can also use peanut butter to distract your dog during nail trims.
Puzzle feeder toys provide physical and mental stimulation for pets. Just rub some dog-safe peanut butter on a puzzle feeder or fill up a large Kong with dry dog food and use peanut butter to seal the hole. This is a great way to keep your dog busy and entertained when you aren’t home and won’t be able to play with your buddy.
How about peanut butter and jelly?
Jelly or jam is off-limits to dogs because of its high sugar content. The combined calories from peanut butter and jelly can further increase your dog’s risk of diabetes and obesity.
Also, it’s important to be aware that some jelly products contain ingredients, such as xylitol or grapes, that are toxic to dogs.
What type of peanut butter is best for dogs?
The best peanut butter for dogs is one that does not contain xylitol or other artificial sweeteners, chocolate, preservatives, extra sugar, artificial food colors, and other ingredients that can be harmful to dogs.
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