Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter?

Like most children, and many adults, most dogs love peanut butter.

Unfortunately, dogs are notorious for liking foods that can be harmful to them. So is peanut butter safe to give to dogs?

In general, the answer is “yes”, dogs can eat peanut butter without worry. But there are a few things you need to watch out for.

Xylitol

Xylitol is a sweetener that is becoming popular in foods, gum, toothpaste, and other human substances. It’s a “natural” sugar substitute that’s safe for humans, but can be extremely toxic to dogs. It’s more dangerous to dogs than chocolate. Be sure to check the ingredient list carefully to make sure Xylitol isn’t listed. Don’t be misled by the words “all natural ingredients:” Xylitol is considered a “natural” ingredient.

peanut butter popsicle

©istockphoto/Merrimon

Feed Peanut Butter in Moderation

Peanuts pack a lot of protein, but are also high in fat—and most of the time, peanut butter is also high in salt and sugar. Read the label carefully. The fewer ingredients listed, the better for your dog.

Remember that all treats combined, including peanut butter, should not make up more than 10% of the total food calories your dog eats in a day. The fat and sugar in peanut butter, if overfed, can lead to obesity and/or pancreatitis.

When to Feed Your Dog Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a great treat for your dog at any time. But if you want some peanut butter lifehacks, we’ve got you covered.

Giving a Pill: Put a bit of peanut butter on a spoon, put the pill on top of it, then a bit more peanut butter. Your dog will likely eat the peanut butter never realizing there’s a pill in there.

If your dog is a whiz at finding even hidden medication, take a thumb-sized piece of bread, put peanut butter on it, roll the pill in it, and give your dog the little sandwich. Unless he’s a Houdini, this trick will likely fool him into taking the pill.

Distraction: You can also put a bit of peanut butter on a wall to distract your dog while you’re grooming or bathing him. Put some in a dish for him to lick off to keep him occupied while you’re clipping his nails. Put some in a hidden food toy as a treat. Freeze the toy for an especially long-lasting treat.

Try some of our easy homemade peanut butter dog treats here!

Smooth or Crunchy is Okay, but Avoid PB&J

Even if you have a very small dog, crunchy peanut butter should not pose a choking hazard, particularly not in the small amounts you give your dog. Whether you prefer chunky or smooth, your furry friend can enjoy whichever type you like.

So, then, can you give your fuzzy companion a bite of your peanut butter and jelly sandwich? The safest answer to that is “no.” As long as you’ve made sure there’s no xylitol in the peanut butter, it won’t hurt your friend. But the jelly might. Not only is there a lot of sugar in jams, jellies, and preserves, but the fruits themselves can harm your dog. Grapes, for instance, can be dangerous to dogs. Some spreads may also contain the toxic Xylitol. It’s safest to give your dog his peanut butter plain. He’ll enjoy it just the same.

Peanut allergies and dogs

Fortunately, peanut allergies are very rare in dogs. But every dog is an individual, so there’s always a chance of allergy. If you’re concerned, give your dog just a very small taste of peanut butter the first time or two. Signs of allergies can include: severe itching; swelling, particularly around his eyes or muzzle; hives or small areas of swelling; vomiting and/or diarrhea; rapid or difficult breathing; or collapse. If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, get him medical treatment at once.

So the next time you get out the peanut butter to fix a sandwich and your dog gives you that “if you really loved me, you’d give me some” look, take heart. For once you can give into your dog’s silent plea without any worry.

dog peanut butter

Meet the Author: Pam Hair

Pam Hair is a pet industry copywriter with Fuzzy Friends Writer, where she combines her three passions: a love of animals, a strong desire to help other people, and the joy of writing. She has been a pet parent over the years to dogs, cats, and a variety of rodents. Currently she and her husband share their home with two guinea pigs.

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