If you've noticed that Fido seems to act extra adorable when you're holding a jar of peanut butter, you're not alone. But can dogs eat peanut butter? Luckily, yes!
Peanut butter has been used in a variety of ways over the years, including as an aid to administer medication and a means to provide hours of entertainment when added to an interactive toy. Most pet owners agree that their furry friend can't get enough of the creamy treat.
We know that peanut butter certainly has its benefits, but as a whole, is it entirely safe? There are a number of important facts that you, as a dog owner must understand before serving up a spoonful of peanut butter to your beloved four-legged companion. In fact, knowing all there is to know about peanut butter could ultimately save your dog's life. Let's get started!
Xylitol & Dogs: A Deadly Combination
If you stay up-to-date on the latest news in dog health, you've likely heard of xylitol. Accidental dog poisoning is on the rise in the United States and xylitol is one of the main causes. You've likely consumed the ingredient, perhaps unknowingly. It is a sugar substitute often found in many sugarless gums, breath mints, chewable vitamins, toothpaste, baked goods, and candies. The ingredient is safe for human consumption but can be incredibly toxic to dogs. In fact, studies report that xylitol is 100 times more toxic than chocolate.
There has been a massive surge in xylitol-related poisoning over the last decade, but why? Clearly, pet owners aren't giving their dogs sugarless gum or chewable vitamins. In some cases, the answer may be peanut butter. With the health craze to cut back on sugar intake, several brands of peanut butter have switched to using xylitol as a sugar substitute. While this may be fine for people, the switch is responsible for xylitol poisoning and the death of a horrific number of pets.
Luckily, avoiding xylitol poisoning is incredibly easy. Simply check the label of your peanut butter (and other treats that your pup may get into). Having a xylitol-free home is a great way to prevent your dog from accidentally consuming the dangerous ingredient.
Signs of Xylitol Poisoning
The ingestion of xylitol in dogs causes a rapid release of insulin, which quickly leads to a massive reduction in blood sugar levels. The condition is referred to as hypoglycemia and can be life-threatening, if not treated immediately. Signs will typically arise 10–60 minutes after consumption and often include:
Staggering/Lack of coordination
If for any reason you believe that your dog may have consumed xylitol, it is imperative that you take them to the veterinarian straight away. Xylitol poisoning is not something that should be taken lightly or something that may pass with time. Even in extremely small amounts, xylitol can be deadly for dogs.
Peanut Butter Brands That Contain Xylitol
With all of the negative reports about xylitol and the threat it poses to our beloved furry friends, many brands of peanut butter that initially switched from sugar to xylitol have made the switch back to natural ingredients. However, there are still some popular brands of peanut butter that contain the dangerous ingredient.
These brands include:
Go Nuts, Co.
Nuts 'N More
Again, it is always important to check the label of your peanut butter and other foods before giving them to Fido. Unfortunately, ingredients change all the time. A brand that may have been perfectly safe a year ago may now pose a threat. A quick and thorough scan of your peanut butter jar could mean the difference between life and death for your dog.
Where Else Can You Find Xylitol?
Finally, we want to briefly cover the other places in which xylitol may be hiding, as it's not only found in peanut butter. It is extremely important to make sure that you are keeping all of the following foods, medications, and items out of your dog's reach.
Xylitol is also found in:
Sugar-free gum (including Orbit, Mentos, Ice Breakers, Starbucks, Stride, Nicorette, and Trident... among others)
Throat lozenges and hard candies
Mentos and other chewable breath mints
Many chewable vitamins
Toothpaste and mouthwash
Certain medications (including Allegra, Gummy Vites, and Nature’s Plus)
Certain brands of protein bars
As you can see, checking your peanut butter isn't the only thing you'll have to be aware of as a responsible pet owner. Keeping products that contain xylitol out of your home is an easy way to prevent poisoning and irreversible harm to Fido.
Is Peanut Butter Bad for Dogs: Additional Dangers
While it is always important to check your labels, thankfully, a number of peanut butter brands do not contain xylitol. However, there are other potential dangers associated with peanut butter that pet owners should be aware of.
No Xylitol = Lots of Sugar
We’ve established that the sugar substitute xylitol is extremely toxic for dogs. However, a common alternative, white sugar, also poses potential issues. Sugar is a leading culprit of a slew of issues, including yeast infections, parasites, bacteria, and even cancer. All of these ailments feed off of sugar, so the more Fido consumes, the more likely an issue may either arise or persist. Additionally, sugar consumption is directly linked to conditions such as premature aging, diabetes, food allergies, and low-level inflammation. The troubling part... many peanut butter brands that do not contain xylitol, do contain white sugar.
Aflatoxins in Peanut Butter
Aflatoxins are naturally-occurring mycotoxins that are produced by the fungus, Aspergillus, and they can be present in varying levels in peanuts. The troubling part? Mycotoxins are known to be carcinogenic (cancer-causing) substances. Furthermore, mycotoxins have also shown to be toxic to the liver, and studies on laboratory animals have found that they can cause liver cancer.
Peanut Butter Allergies
Additionally, like people, dogs can be allergic to peanut butter. Peanut allergies in dogs are much less common than in people, but can still exist and are something pet owners should be aware of.
Signs of dog allergies include:
Chronic/recurrent ear infections
Most peanut butter is produced to be able to stay on the shelf for a relatively long period of time. Unfortunately, this process produces trans-fatty acids, a potentially toxic food substance.
Peanut Butter Calories
It's likely no secret that most peanut butter is not considered a low-calorie food. If your dog is suffering from weight issues, your veterinarian will likely advise you to skip out on the peanut butter treats, even if you are purchasing the best of the best.
Peanut Butter Benefits
Now, with all that being said, peanut butter is not all bad. In fact, peanut butter has some incredible benefits for people and dogs alike. The important thing is to know the product you are purchasing and ensure that you are feeding Fido appropriate amounts of the tasty treat. In moderation, peanut butter can prove to be a great addition to your dog's diet.
A Great Source of Protein
Peanut butter is known for being a great source of protein. Protein is an essential part of your dog's diet and plays several roles in the body including building and repairing muscles and tissues. Additionally, protein (along with carbohydrates) are needed for energy production and continual immune system support. Without the necessary amounts of protein, your dog's body won't be able to function properly.
Peanut butter also provides a great source of healthy fats that are necessary to maintain optimal health and function. Without healthy fats, problems such as a weakened immune system, heart disease, and diabetes can develop. Skin issues and dry, irritated coats are also associated with a lack of healthy fats in the dog's diet.
Of course, too much of a good thing would not be in your dog’s best interest. Too much fat (even healthy fats) can ultimately lead to obesity and serious conditions like pancreatitis. We always recommend talking to your veterinarian and following their guidelines for how much peanut butter you should be giving your pup.
Vitamins & Niacin
Finally, peanut butter contains vitamins B and E, along with niacin. Niacin is one of the B vitamins that is essential for both humans and dogs alike. It occurs naturally in a great number of foods, yet many dogs still lack the important vitamin. Peanut butter is a great way to treat your furry friend all while providing them with several health benefits.
Best Peanut Butter
At this point, you're probably wondering which peanut butter you should choose. This is where Honest Paws comes in...
Honest Paws is proud to offer CALM Peanut Butter for dogs, infused with CBD. Not only will this creamy peanut butter satisfy Fido's taste buds, but it will also promote relaxation and a calm demeanor in your sweet pup.
Honest Paws CALM Peanut Butter is made with organic, creamy peanut butter and organic, full-spectrum CBD oil with naturally occurring CBD. If you're not familiar, CBD is an all-natural compound extracted from the hemp plant. It offers a variety of benefits to you and your pooch - including promoting relaxation, supporting healthy joints and bones, as well as combating seasonal allergies and boosting the immune system. What's more, it's totally safe for dogs and cats.
Honest Paws CALM Peanut Butter contains 32 tablespoons of peanut butter, with 5mg of CBD in each tablespoon.
CBD-Infused Peanut Butter Dosage for Dogs
1/2 tablespoon -dogs under 25 pounds (64 servings per jar)
1 tablespoon - dogs over 25 pounds (32 servings per jar)
Now, while we would be thrilled for you to be a part of the Honest Paws pack, at the end of the day, we just want your and your furry friend to be healthy and happy. So if you decide to grab another brand, in addition to containing ZERO xylitol, make sure it meets the following criteria...
Look for peanut butter that is unsalted. Sodium can be a big issue for dogs and many peanut butter brands contain high amounts of salt. Luckily, you'll easily be able to find unsalted peanut butter, you may just have to dig a little deeper.
All-Natural & Organic
Additionally, we always recommend purchasing all-natural, organic products. If the product (regardless of what it might be) is not all-natural, there is a possibility that its raw materials were cultivated with herbicides or pesticides. The last thing you want to do when treating your pup is to inadvertently cause them any harm.
Ways to Serve Peanut Butter
Now that you've chosen or made the perfect peanut butter, how can you incorporate it into your dog's diet or routine? There are a variety of ways that pet parents have found useful for their dog's individual needs.
Many dog owners know first hand what it's like to have a rambunctious pup that needs what seems to be constant entertainment. Unfortunately, as much as we would like to play with our dogs all-day-every-day, most of us have to go to work or leave home from time to time.
This is where an interactive toy comes in handy. Pet parents can stuff the appropriate amount of their healthy choice of peanut butter in the toy to provide their fur baby with hours of fun and mental stimulation.
Additionally, if you have ever had to give your dog medication, you may very well know that dogs and pills do not always go “hand in hand.” Many pet owners have found that using peanut butter to coat the medication is an effective way to ensure their pup is getting the necessary treatment without spitting half of it out or hiding it somewhere.
Peanut butter is a great way to make sure your dog receives the medication without forcefully having to administer it, which is no walk in the dog park for you or your pup.
A Delicious Spoonful
Pet owners don't need to use peanut butter in any creative way, they can simply place it on a spoon and have their dog lick up the delicious, beneficial treat.
Peanut Butter: A Food Complement, Not a Meal Replacement
Again, peanut butter should be used as a treat, not a meal replacement. Generally, a good rule of thumb is that treats should not make up more than 10 percent of the dog’s diet.
Feeding small amounts of peanut butter can be a great additive to their already balanced dog food, but should never be a substantial part of their meal. Additionally, it may be a good idea to switch between peanut butter and dog-appropriate fruits and veggies from time to time.
Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter: The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, we know that you want the very best for your furry companion. We also know how much you love to treat them to the very best that life has to offer. Oftentimes, this means yummy treats and goodies.
While yummy goodies are wonderful, it is never a bad idea to try to sneak in something that benefits your dog's health (ahem...CBD...ahem). We highly encourage you to give our CALM peanut butter a try. And if your dog doesn't enjoy it for any reason, you can get a full refund. Just let us know within 30 days.
Otherwise, if you are going with a natural peanut butter from your normal grocery store, be sure to do your homework, read the labels, and ask questions to ensure you are getting something safe for dogs. And of course, above all else, avoid xylitol like the plague. Your furry friend thanks you for looking out!
*This article has been edited and updated for publication by Petal Smart, DVM.