Whether as a training aid, a tasty addition to their meal, or simply a delicious treat, it’s no secret that dogs go nuts for peanut butter. But even though they do eat it, should they eat it? Can dogs eat peanut butter, or do we just assume they can because they go so wild for it? Is it any good for them? And why do they love it so much anyway?!
Let’s find out the answers to these questions and more!
Can dogs eat peanut butter?
It turns out we Dog Owners haven’t accidentally been doing wrong by our doggos. The answer to the question “Can dogs eat peanut butter?” is a resounding yes! Given in moderation, it’s a great dog treat that’s equal parts nutritious and delicious.
Peanut butter contains lots of protein, which is a crucial component of your dog’s diet. It keeps their muscles nice and strong, and helps support their immune system. There are also healthy fats in peanut butter that can boost your pooch’s skin and heart health, along with Vitamin B3 (niacin), Vitamin B, and Vitamin E.
You can give peanut butter to your dog in a number of ways: straight up from a spoon, inside one of their toys, as part of their meal, or even as an ingredient if you’re making your own dog treats. (We’ve got a tasty peanut butter dog biscuit recipe right here!)
However, like any human foods that dogs can eat, peanut butter does have a few caveats. We’ll get into these a little later on.
Can dogs eat peanut butter when they’re really young?
Got a young pupper on your hands? You’ll be happy to hear that they can enjoy peanut butter, too. Puppies can generally eat peanut butter from six weeks old, but only very small amounts and not every day.
This is because their digestive systems are still quite delicate. Excessive amounts of protein and fat (even the good kind!) can put too much pressure on their sensitive bodies.
Why do dogs love peanut butter so much?
If you’ve ever fed your dog peanut butter, you’ve likely experienced their unbridled excitement as soon as you crack open the jar. And then you’ve probably wondered to yourself, “Why do dogs love peanut butter so much?”
There are a few theories floating around. The first is that since peanut butter contains fat and often added salt and sugar, dogs love it because it’s immensely different from their usual diet. The sweetness of peanut butter is said to be a particularly attractive quality to dogs. This is because, in the wild, sweet foods are generally high in carbs and provide a nice energy boost.
Another theory is that dogs inherently like foods that contain the nutrients they need. Because peanut butter is packed with protein and healthy fats, dogs may simply “know” that it’s a good option. Other animal experts suggest that the roasted aroma of peanut butter mimics that of caramelised meat.
Perhaps, though, dogs love peanut butter due to a combination of all of the above – or for an entirely different reason!
Tips for feeding peanut butter to your dog
When feeding peanut butter to your pooch, keep these tips and tricks up your sleeve. They’ll help ensure peanut butter remains a safe, nutritious, and tasty part of your doggo’s diet!
Make it fun!
Sure, you can easily give your dog some peanut butter on a spoon or in their food bowl. But why not get creative and use it to keep them entertained? Try placing a smear of peanut butter inside one of their dog-stimulating toys, such as KONGs. Your dog will have a lot of fun trying to retrieve the peanut butter from inside!
Use it to your advantage
Peanut butter is also a great distraction. If you’re administering medication, putting it inside a bit of peanut butter is likely to help your dog gobble it up faster. If you’re cutting their nails or engaging them in another not-so-pleasant-for-your-dog situation, you can distract your dog with a peanut butter treat.
Peanut butter is also handy when teaching your dog certain easy dog tricks, like kissing your face!
Stick to natural peanut butter
When choosing a peanut butter, natural is always best. It’s typically made using 100 percent peanuts, with no added fat, salt, or sugar. Opting for natural peanut butter means your doggo won’t be overconsuming ingredients that could lead to health problems.
Feed in moderation
On that note, even if your chosen peanut butter is totally natural, it’s still best to feed it in moderation. Because it is relatively high in fat and not a complete dog food, peanut butter should be a treat. This means making up no more than 10 percent of your dog’s diet.
Too much of it can lead to diarrhea and weight gain, or health problems such as obesity and pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). If your dog is already suffering from any of these, you may want to steer clear of peanut butter. If you’re unsure, chat to your vet to find out if peanut butter is safe for your dog.
So, how much peanut butter should you feed your dog? Generally speaking, a small dog can enjoy a half-teaspoon serve twice per day. A medium or large dog can have one teaspoon twice per day.
Ensure you make your doggo’s dietary requirements – including whether or not they can eat peanut butter – clear to anyone looking after your pooch, such as your trusted Dog Sitter.
Be cautious of the ingredients
Another great reason to buy natural peanut butter is that it doesn’t include any ingredients that are toxic to dogs. Peanut butters that contain chocolate are an obvious no-no, as are any nut butters that incorporate macadamias. These nuts are actually harmful to puppers.
You might also find the artificial sweetener xylitol hiding in light or sugar-free peanut butters. Xylitol is another toxic ingredient for dogs. If your dog eats it, it will cause a very swift drop in blood sugar. If left untreated, it can even result in death.
Symptoms of xylitol poisoning in dogs include lethargy, staggering, collapse, and seizures. If you suspect your dog has been poisoned, call your vet immediately.
Watch out for signs of peanut allergy
Our dogs can suffer from peanut allergies just like we can. Symptoms of a peanut allergy include itchy skin, hair loss, excessive licking, trouble breathing, swelling, and general agitation.
Peanut allergies in dogs aren’t particularly common, but you’ll want to keep an eye out for the signs just in case. When it comes to your dog’s health, there’s no such thing as being too cautious!