Is peanut butter good for dogs?
Love this question because it’s asked often. You see it everywhere. . . you see it in the pet stores, online, in your pantry. The answer is YES you can but read past this sentence! Peanut butter, in LOW quantities, is ok for dogs. They love the texture, taste and smell of it. It helps reward dogs during an experience that may not be the most pleasant one (Nail trim, ear cleaning, etc). As a result, the nail trim can be associated with the peanut butter and the dog can be super happy! Peanut butter has protein, vitamins, antioxidants and more in that can be of nutritional value.
Always check with your veterinarian since some dogs may have disease processes (kidney disease, food allergies and more) where peanut butter can exacerbate it. Be on the lookout for ingredients that have added sugar and sodium, food coloring and artificial sweeteners. The key take home point is a SMALL amount. I recommend it to my pet parents if they have to pill their dog. A dab of peanut butter on the pill and that pill will fly right on down to the stomach! However, do not load up a Kong toy full of it and expect your dog to have a normal bowel movement the next day. It ain’t gonna happen!
Is it safe for dogs?
The key for peanut butter is to make sure it is free from, a sugar called xylitol. This type of sugar can also be found in chewing gum. This is a big no! Dogs who have ingested xylitol require immediate treatment. Xylitol poisoning can cause seizures, liver failure and possibly death. Contact poison control and your veterinarian if you suspect your dog has ingested a product containing xylitol. Show your veterinarian the bottle of peanut butter or even text your hospital the picture of the bottle just to make sure. Symptoms start quickly and include vomiting, muscle weakness, tremors, and difficulty walking.
Peanut butter brands that contain xylitol include Go Nuts, Co., Krush Nutrition, Nuts ‘N More and P28 Foods. Peanut butter that doesn’t contain xylitol is absolutely safe for dogs and a healthy treat—just be sure to read the label!
Other than Xylitol, what should pet parents look for when purchasing or making peanut butter treats for dogs? I think I answered this one in the first question.
Do peanut butter treats have more calories than others?
Yes! PLEASE read the calories on these peanut butter treats. But as with all treats, they should be limited to 10% of daily calories so not to upset nutritional balance. As a pet parent myself, I hardly give my dogs peanut butter but as a veterinarian, I give it out like it’s going out of style since it’s a great distraction. Even when dogs are undergoing hydrotherapy.
This is when dogs recovering from back surgery for example are placed on a treadmill in tank filled with water up to their abdomen, providing them with enough buoyancy to walk at a very small pace. Peanut butter is often applied to inner wall to “coach” the dog to keep walking on the treadmill as they are licking the peanut butter off the inner wall. This is a brilliant concept. Peanut butter is often used in practices that are Fear-Free certified. If you don’t know what that is click here: https://fearfreepets.com
Why do you think more and more companies use peanut butter in their dog treats?
It really boils down to palatability. There is an increasing discussion over rotational feeding in pets. Hence, adding an additional flavor such as peanut butter every now and then helps increase palatability of whatever type and kind of pet food they are on and promotes increase in gut health.
Peanut Allergies in Dogs AND Humans
Although it’s rare, some dogs can develop peanut allergies. While anaphylactic shock and difficulty breathing can occur in dogs with peanut allergies, this type of reaction is most commonly found as a result of being bitten or stung by and insect or from a reaction to medication.
This is often referred to as a hypersensitivity reaction. Sometimes allergies will result in facial swelling or skin reactions. If you notice these symptoms after giving peanut butter to your dog, stop feeding them peanut butter immediately and consult your vet, who can help determine whether your dog is allergic to peanuts or something else.
Some pet parents and children may be allergic to peanuts. Since peanut allergies can be serious in children and adults, those individuals need to be careful to avoid contact with pets that may have consumed peanut butter. The risk that peanut residue can end up on their fur is also another real risk for people with severe peanut allergies. So tread carefully and make sure no one in the house is allergic to peanuts.