Most of us like peanut butter.
And what happens when people, especially kids, like a food? They share it with their dogs. And thankfully, most dogs enjoy peanut butter almost as much as their humans do: there are peanut butter dog treats, it's frequently used in training, and it's the most common filling for puzzle toys.
But peanuts are not the only nuts made into butters. You can find almond butter, cashew butter, hazelnut butter, and pecan butter. Macadamia butter, pistachio butter, and walnut butter are also available.
Are all of these butters safe to give your dog? Are any of them acceptable dog treats? How safe they are depends on the nut they're made from. Let's take a look at the different nut butters available and what ones are safe for your dog.
Nut Butters Your Dog Can Have
Not all nut butters are safe for your dogs, but there are plenty that are. Here are a few of the safest and most common given to dogs.
Peanut Butter ?
Worried about all that peanut butter you've given your dogs in the past? Don't be. Peanuts and peanut butter are both safe to give your dog. Although some dogs may have peanut allergies, it's rare.
Cashew Butter ?
Cashews and cashew butter are safe to give your dog, so long as the cashews have been roasted or otherwise cooked first. Raw cashews contain a toxin that is eliminated when exposed to high temperatures.
Hazelnut Butter ?
Hazelnuts are not toxic to dogs. A whole hazelnut can post a choking hazard to smaller dogs, but hazelnut butter should be safe for all dogs.
Almond Butter ?
Almonds are safe for dogs, but many dogs have difficulty digesting them. Since almonds can cause upset tummies and other gastric issues, be cautious in giving almond butter to your dog.
Nut Butters That Your Dog Should Not Eat
For every nut butter that is safe for your dog, there is one that you shouldn't share. Here are a few of the nut butters that you should keep away from your dog at all costs.
Pistachio Butter ?
Keep pistachios away from your dog. For as popular as they have become to humans recently, there are not good for dogs. Pistachios can carry Aspergillus mold that can be harmful to your dog's liver. It's better just to keep your dog away from this green food.
Pecan Butter ?
Pecans are another nut that you need to keep away from your dog. They, too, can contain substances that are harmful to dogs' livers.
Walnut Butter ?
Walnuts of any variety, be they English, Japanese, or black, need to be kept away from your dog. Not only can they cause stomach irritation, but they can also be toxic to your furry friend. Moldy walnuts are especially harmful and can cause seizures and other neurological issues. Just keep walnuts away from your dog.
Macadamia Butter ?
Do not give macadamia nuts or nut butter to your dog under any circumstances. They are poisonous to dogs. They can cause you dog to have weak legs, shiver, have a fever, or experience diarrhea or vomiting. Even if your dog doesn't show any symptoms, if you know he has eaten a macadamia nut, contact your vet immediately.
Overall Caution About Feeding Your Dog Any Nuts or Nut Butters
Before you give your dog even a taste of any nut butter, read the label carefully. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is often added to commercially available butters, is dangerous for dogs to eat. Butters may contain high amounts of salt and oil. Make sure there is no chocolate in the butter.
Nuts, by nature, tend to be high in oil and calorie-dense. Even safe butters like peanut butter, cashew butter, and hazelnut butter are high in calories and should only be given to your dog occasionally and even then, in very small amounts.
Feel free to give your dog just a bit of peanut butter once in a while. He can help you decide which brand is best and whether to go with the creamy or the chunky.