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Can Shih Tzus Eat Peanut Butter? Vet Approved Facts & Safety Guide

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By Misty Layne

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Vet approved

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Karyn Kanowski

BVSc MRCVS (Veterinarian)

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

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All dogs, whether big or small, enjoy having some of our food as a treat once in a while. Out of all the human foods dogs are allowed to have, peanut butter might be the favorite of canines, or at least in the top five. Not only is peanut butter delicious, but it’s fun to eat because it’s super messy and gets all over them! And many dog parents enjoy witnessing their pets trying to get to every last fragment.

But can all dogs eat peanut butter? Can Shih Tzus eat peanut butter? Like many dogs (or at least those without food allergies), Shih Tzus can safely eat peanut butter and will likely love it. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some limitations to giving peanut butter to your pup, though, so here’s a closer look at the good and the bad of feeding peanut butter to your Shih Tzu.

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Why Can Shih Tzus Eat Peanut Butter?

Shih Tzus can safely eat peanut butter because, as long as you get the right kind of peanut butter, it’s a safe way to distract or reward them. Peanut butter actually has several health benefits for canines, which we’ll look at below, but we must remember that it is also full of fat. There are also some potential dangers to giving your Shih Tzu peanut butter that we will talk about later.

peanut butter on wooden table
Image Credit: inewsfoto, Shutterstock

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Benefits of Feeding Peanut Butter to Shih Tzus

There are several health benefits to feeding peanut butter to Shih Tzus. Here’s a closer look at what those benefits are!

High in Protein

First and foremost, peanut butter is high in protein; an essential part of any canine’s diet. In fact, the recommended daily amount of protein for dogs is 18% to 22% dietary protein. Protein is vital for your Shih Tzu because it helps form muscle, blood, and skin while also maintaining the strength of ligaments and tendons. Because peanut butter contains around 25% protein, a spoonful of it given to your pup on occasion ensures they are getting a nice protein boost!

creamy and smooth peanut butter in jar on wood table
Image Credit: inewsfoto, Shutterstock

High in Fiber

You likely knew peanut butter is high in protein, but did you know it’s also high in fiber? Peanut butter is a fabulous source of both soluble and insoluble fiber! Admittedly, canines don’t need a lot of fiber in their diets, but they do need some so their digestive system stays regulated. Fiber can reduce diarrhea caused by harmful bacteria and help prevent anal sac problems.

Has Healthy Fats

Peanut butter contains quite a bit of fat, but the good news is that it’s a healthier kind of fat. Peanut butter contains a lot of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are more easily broken down by the body. They also help keep your Shih Tzu’s skin and coat looking and feeling great, as well as improving immunity and aiding growth.

But just because these fats are healthy doesn’t mean they can’t cause weight gain in dogs if eaten too often, so remember to only give your pup peanut butter in moderation! Shih Tzus weigh, on average, 14–16 pounds. Peanut butter is calorie-dense, and even what we would consider a small amount might be too much for your Shih Tzu. This could lead to obesity.

Fat Shih tzu dog sitting on weight scales with red measuring tape
Image Credit: Orawan Pattarawimonchai, Shutterstock

Contains Key Vitamins

Peanut butter contains many vitamins that are key to your dog’s health. Vitamin E is one such vitamin; this vitamin helps maintain eye health, muscles, and skin plus regulates metabolism. Peanut butter also has plenty of folic acid and biotin (vitamins B9 and B7), both of which assist in red blood cell production and keep your pet’s coat and skin healthy.

Good Source of Niacin

One of the more important vitamins peanut butter contains is Vitamin B3, or niacin. Niacin is used in the body to break down sugar and fat and turn it into energy. So, if your Shih Tzu is a bit lethargic, niacin might be just the thing to help them boost their energy. Plus, this vitamin helps the digestive tract stay healthy, so it’s excellent for canines with sensitive stomachs.

shih tzu dog running outdoors with tongue out
Image Credit: Nikolay Tchaouchev, Unsplash

Has Essential Minerals

It’s not just vitamins; peanut butter is also a wonderful source of essential minerals for your pup! There’s plenty of magnesium to be found in peanut butter, which helps reduce free radical damage and produce energy. Then there’s manganese, a mineral that metabolizes protein and carbs. Plus, peanut butter contains phosphorus, which works together with calcium to keep bones healthy and strong.

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Dangers of Feeding Peanut Butter to Shih Tzus

There are always a few negatives, no matter how good something is, and peanut butter is no different. It can offer your Shih Tzu many health benefits, but it can be dangerous if you don’t choose the right kind of peanut butter for your dog. What makes peanut butter a potential danger?

The main reason is xylitol. You might have heard of this additive, as it’s a fairly common sugar substitute. Though it doesn’t tend to cause issues in humans, this additive can be deadly in canines. Xylitol is highly toxic to dogs, and if your pup consumes it, you could quickly have a life-threatening situation on your hands. To avoid this, you simply need to go with an all-natural peanut butter, and always check the label.

Also, keep in mind that real sugar isn’t wonderful for our pups, and peanut butter can contain a bit of sugar. So, opt for low-sugar or sugar-free peanut butter, but look out for xylitol. Finally, look for unsalted peanut butter. High sodium levels can cause health issues in dogs, and while peanut butter doesn’t have a ton of sodium, even small amounts can add up over time.

There are several brands of peanut butter specifically formulated for dogs, and these are likely to be your safest option.

a bowl of Xylitol with branch of leaves on wooden surface
Image Credit: morisfoto, Shutterstock

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Have more questions about feeding peanut butter to your Shih Tzu? Here are a few questions people ask most often about dogs and peanut butter.

Peanut Butter
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Can I give my Shih Tzu crunchy peanut butter?

Crunchy peanut butter should be fine to give your pup since the peanuts in it are usually small enough or ground up enough not to pose a choking hazard. Your pup might like the creamy kind better, though!

How much peanut butter is too much for my Shih Tzu?

Your best bet is to speak with your dog’s vet about how much peanut butter is suitable for them, though you can also follow the rule of only 10% of your pup’s diet being treats. Because of the amount of fat in peanut butter, though, you don’t want to give it to your dog too often. Too much fat in the diet can, over time, lead to health issues such as pancreatitis.

owner giving a treat to shih tzu dog
Image Credit: Hulabear, Shutterstock

Will the fiber in peanut butter give my Shih Tzu diarrhea?

Unless you’re giving your dog way too much peanut butter, it shouldn’t. A spoonful here and there shouldn’t have enough fiber to cause an upset stomach.

What’s the best way to give my Shih Tzu some peanut butter?

Whilst most dogs will be happy to lick this peanut paste straight from a spoon, this is a great item for providing some enrichment along with a delicious treat. Kongs or similar toys stuffed with healthy treats and a teaspoon of peanut butter can keep your dog occupied for hours on end. Peanut butter can also be a valuable tool when you need to hide some medication in your dog’s food. If you’re using this trick, be sure to off some non-medicated peanut butter before and after the pills; that way, your dog won’t always assume that peanut butter = medication.

spoonful of peanut butter
Image Credit: deborahmiller56, Pixabay

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Conclusion

Shih Tzus can absolutely eat peanut butter, but only in small amounts. One teaspoon once or twice a week is plenty. Peanut butter is a food that can offer your pup plenty of health benefits, from protein to essential vitamins and minerals. However, you need to get the right kind of peanut butter—free of xylitol, sugar, and salt—or you could have a health emergency on your hands! So long as you have dog-specific, all-natural, or homemade peanut butter, though, and are giving it to your Shih Tzu sparingly, they should be safe and incredibly happy.


Featured Image Credit: Viorel Simal, Shutterstock

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