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Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

Quincy Miller

By Quincy Miller

Can Dogs Eat peanut-butter

Vet approved

Dr. Maja Platisa Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Maja Platisa

In-House Veterinarian, DVM MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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It doesn’t seem possible, but somehow, your dog can recognize the sound of the peanut butter lid getting unscrewed. Every time you go for a spoonful, in comes your pooch, begging for a lick of their own. Fortunately, in some cases you can oblige them, as certain types of peanut butter are safe for dogs to eat in moderation.

Not only is it safe for pups, but most of them also go absolutely bonkers for it. It makes a great treat, either as a reward for good behavior or just because. However, not all peanut butter is safe, and it’s not without its drawbacks. Make sure they contain no artificial sweeteners such as xylitol, as this is toxic for dogs. To learn more about when you should steer clear of sharing your spread, read on.

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Before changing your dog’s diet or introducing new ingredients or supplements that they haven’t eaten before, especially when it comes to human food, make sure to consult your veterinarian first. Every dog is different and requires an individual approach to nutrition, depending on their age, health, level of activity, and medical history. The guidelines offered in our article have been fact-checked and approved by a veterinarian but should be used as a mere guide on food safety, rather than an individual nutrition plan.

Is Peanut Butter Safe for Dogs?

dog eating peanut butter
Image Credit: CL Shebley, Shutterstock

Peanut butter is safe for dogs to eat, with one big exception. Some peanut butter contains xylitol, which is an artificial sweetener that’s toxic to dogs.1 It’s mostly found in “diet” peanut butter, as it’s used as a replacement for sugar. Xylitol is not safe in any amount, so be sure to check the label before sharing your spoon.

Another thing to beware of is peanut butter and jelly. Many jellies also contain xylitol, and some are made from foods that are also toxic to dogs, like grapes.2 Even a “safe” jelly is packed with sugar, so there’s no reason to feed it to your pup. Stick to plain peanut butter.

Beyond that, most peanut butter won’t harm your dog. That’s not to say that you should let them eat to their heart’s content, though. Many commercial peanut butters are full of sugar and other undesirable ingredients, and even at its best, peanut butter is high in fat, protein, and calories.

Too much peanut butter can cause all manner of digestive problems in your pooch. Most of these will be short-lived, but if you don’t want to clean up a big mess on your next walk, you should practice moderation with the jar.

If you really want to share peanut butter with your dog, pick a natural unsalted option that doesn’t have added sugar or other chemicals. These are more expensive, but they’re better for your pup. You can also make your own at home, if you’re so inclined.

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Is Peanut Butter Good for Dogs?

peanut butter
Image Credit: stevepb, Pixabay

This is a tricky question to answer. It’s not good in the sense that your dog needs it, but peanut butter does have quite a few nutrients that are handy for dogs, making it a good alternative to some highly processed treats.

The biggest advantage peanut butter has is that it’s extremely high in protein. This gives your dog a variety of benefits, such as long-lasting energy, and it’s also important for growing and maintaining lean muscle. However, it doesn’t contain all of the essential amino acids.

There’s plenty of healthy fat in peanut butter as well. Healthy fats do everything from boosting your pup’s immune system to giving their coats a nice shine, so it’s important that they get enough in their diets.

However, fat is still fat, and too much is never a good thing. If you really want to boost your dog’s healthy fat intake, feeding them fish or fish oil is a much better alternative, as it has all the benefits with much less risk of causing obesity.

Also remember, no treat is a supplement for a healthy, balanced and complete diet, despite any useful and nutritious ingredients they may contain. They should always be offered in moderation to avoid causing any harm to your pooch, meaning their nutritional benefits will be limited and should not be counted on. However, you do need to count them in your dog’s daily food and treat intake.

What Are the Best Ways to Feed Your Dog Peanut Butter?

Dogs aren’t particular about how they get their peanut butter, so you can simply offer them a spoon and watch them lick it clean. They’re also great for cleaning out empty peanut butter jars to prepare them for the recycling bin.

Peanut butter is a great way to mask pills and other medications if you have a dog that refuses to take them. It has a powerful aroma that usually masks the smell of the medicine, and you can use the stickiness of the butter to attach the pill to another treat. This usually works for even the most finicky of pups.

If you want a cool treat that will keep your dog occupied for hours on a hot day, consider stuffing a Kong toy with peanut butter and then freezing it. Your dog will spend quite a bit of time licking it clean, and trying to get their tongue into every nook and cranny of the toy will tax them mentally as well.

You can also make your own dog treats using peanut butter. There are a variety of recipes online, and they’re generally easy to follow. Just make sure that every ingredient is safe, as many recipes are posted by people who know more about cooking than about canine health.

If your dog refuses to eat peanut butter, don’t despair. There’s nothing in it that’s essential to dogs, and they can get all the nutrients from other places (like their kibble, hopefully). However, the ideas above should give you plenty of ways to give your dog peanut butter, ensuring that they never get bored of the stuff.

brown dog eating peanut butter
Image By: Merrimon Crawford, Shutterstock

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What’s the Verdict? Is Peanut Butter Safe for Dogs?

As long as it doesn’t have any toxic ingredients like xylitol inside or too much salt, and as long as you serve it in moderation, then yes, peanut butter is safe for dogs. It makes a delicious and fairly nutritious treat, and it’s extremely rare to find a dog that won’t immediately gobble it down.

Even so, it’s best that you do not give your dog peanut butter too often. They’re better off with treats that were designed for them or even just sticking to their kibble.

If you do give your dog peanut butter, make sure it’s as healthy as possible, whether it’s store-bought or homemade. Those extra ingredients and excess calories add up quickly, and it won’t take much to have an obese dog on your hands.

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