Is Peanut Butter Safe for Dogs?

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic

Ah, peanut butter –who doesn’t love a smear of this sticky butter on their toast? Whether you top it with bananas or jelly or something else altogether, spread on bread, mix in oatmeal, or add to smoothies, you likely enjoy the nutty goodness of peanut butter at least a few times a week. But can you share PB with your dog? While this tasty spread is generally safe for dogs as they have no issue eating peanuts in the form of butter, it’s the other ingredients that may be in the PB you’re eating that could harm them. This is what you should know before giving your pet peanut butter – whether as an ingredient of something else or on its own.

Is Peanut Butter Safe for Dogs? 

To give you a short and straightforward answer, yes, peanut butter is safe for dogs when it’s made only out of peanuts as the single ingredient. However, that’s not always the case with commercially made peanut butter. To tweak its consistency, shelf life, or even modify its flavor, companies can add a variety of different ingredients to their peanut butter products, so it’s crucial to read the label before giving your pet even just a lick of peanut butter – and it wouldn't hurt to do so before eating it yourself, either. 

The most dangerous ingredient (for dogs) that could be added to peanut butter is  xylitol, or birch sugar, as it is sometimes labeled. This sweetener is highly toxic to dogs as even small amounts of xylitol can cause a rapid release of insulin, leading to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, and liver failure in dogs.

Another thing that could be problematic about peanut butter for dogs is not a matter of a sneaky ingredient but the fact that it’s a high-fat food. If not given in moderation, peanut butter can largely contribute to obesity in dogs, and in turn, promote health issues such as  pancreatitis at worst and upset tummy at best. 

It is also important to note that some dogs may be allergic to peanuts, the same as is the case with us humans. If you are giving your pet peanut butter for the first time, monitor them for signs of allergic reactions, such as itching, redness, swelling, or gastrointestinal upset, and consult your veterinarian if concerns arise.

Benefits of Peanut Butter for Dogs and How To Incorporate It In Your Dog’s Diet

In addition to being yummy, peanut butter is also beneficial for dogs. It might be high in fat, but it is predominantly unsaturated fats, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which support skin and coat health, joint function, and immune system function in dogs. It is also a rich source of plant-based protein and will support your pet's overall health when given in moderation. 

So how do you ensure you don’t overdo it with PB and that your pet reap only the benefits of this nutty spread? While an excellent reward to utilize when training with positive reinforcement methods, peanut butter should be given sparingly rather than every time your pooch does a good job. Use a small amount – a teaspoon will work well for the job. Alternatively, if your pet loves the taste of peanut butter but you’re trying to maintain their weight, opting for peanut butter-flavored treats is a perfect compromise. My dogs prefer crunchy treats and are big PB fans, so one of their favorites is  American Journey Peanut Butter Recipe Grain-Free Oven Baked Crunchy Biscuit Dog Treats.

Made with roasted peanuts for a full and rich flavor, these dog biscuits offer all the yumminess of peanut butter but without all the extra calories that could affect your pet’s weight – each treat is just 13 kcal, which is almost 3 times less than a teaspoon worth of pure peanut butter. Not a bad trade-off! Of course, these biscuits are made with natural, wholesome ingredients and contain no fillers or artificial ingredients, so they’re safe for dogs of all ages. 

So to sum it all up, peanut butter can be safe for dogs as long as you pay attention to other ingredients in the product and make sure to offer it in moderation. You should be mindful of potential risks such as xylitol toxicity and excessive fat intake, but don’t miss out on this natural dog treat altogether. Incorporating peanut butter into your dog's diet in moderation can provide plant-based protein and healthy fats, and serve as a perfect training treat as it motivates pooches like crazy!

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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