Can You Feed Your Dog Peanut Butter?

Peanut butter, whether frozen or stuffed in a Kong, is a great snack for dogs. However, make sure it doesn’t have xylitol. This artificial sweetener is poisonous to dogs!

Feb 23, 2024bySara Payne
can you feed your dog peanut butter

Does your dog run into the kitchen whenever you make a peanut butter sandwich? If your pup is giving you those sad eyes, you may wonder whether you can share this sweet treat with your best friend.

Peanut butter is a safe treat for dogs. However, checking the ingredient list for xylitol is important, as this sugar substitute can be toxic to canines. Unsalted peanut butter is also a better choice for your dog.

Read on to learn more about how to choose the best peanut butter for your pooch.

Many Peanut Butters Are Safe for Dogs

peanut butter
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In moderation, peanut butter can be great for your dog. This sweet treat provides many health benefits, including protein, healthy fats, vitamins B and E, and niacin. However, certain types of peanut butter may be better than others.

Peanut butter is usually made with roasted peanuts, sugar, vegetable oil, and salt. Some brands of peanut butter also add preservatives and other sweeteners, such as molasses, to their blends.

These basic ingredients are safe for your dog, but too much salt and added preservatives could be problematic. So, it is best to stick with unsalted peanut butter. Additionally, some peanut butter brands may substitute sugar with xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.

Homemade and organic peanut butter are the best options for your dog. You can also buy the kind you press in-store or dog-specific peanut butter. Buying these options will ensure you keep your dog healthy and prevent common health concerns.

Why is Xylitol Toxic to Dogs?

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Some companies substitute sugar with xylitol in their peanut butter as a sugar-free or “healthier” option. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is added to many sweets to prevent dental and bodily diseases in humans. Here, this sugar alcohol does not stimulate insulin release and is considered safe.

However, the FDA warns that xylitol can be a toxic substance for dogs. Xylitol is quickly absorbed into a dog’s bloodstream, resulting in a quick release of insulin from the pancreas. This causes the dog to have a drastic decrease in blood sugar (hypoglycemia) within about 10-60 minutes of eating it. Without immediate treatment, hypoglycemia can be deadly.

If your dog has recently eaten peanut butter and is vomiting, staggering, has decreased activity, weakness, or is having seizures, check the label for xylitol, and get your dog to an emergency veterinary clinic immediately.

Unsalted Peanut Butter Is Best for Dogs

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Although salt is an essential part of a dog’s daily diet, too much salt can be a problem. If a dog’s diet contains too many salty foods, they can develop high blood pressure and heart disease. Too much salt can also cause dehydration.

A dog who already suffers from kidney disease, hypertension, and heart disease is at a higher risk of developing symptoms after eating excessively salty foods. In the worst case, a dog who has had too much salt can develop salt toxicity.

Peanut butter doesn’t typically contain enough salt to cause problems. But if your dog eats too much peanut butter in conjunction with other salty foods, they may develop gastrointestinal symptoms or begin to develop issues over time.

For example, a two-tablespoon serving of JIF contains 160 mg of sodium. A dog can suffer from salt toxicity with as few as two to three grams of salt. Low-salt diets are the best option for your canine companion.

Fun Ways to Give Your Dog Peanut Butter

peanut butter on spoon
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Once you’ve found a dog-safe peanut butter, there are many ways you can use this treat to reward your dog. You can simply let your dog lick a spoonful or let them have a taste from your fingertips, or you can get creative with how you give them this special dessert.

You can freeze peanut butter in ice cube trays and provide your dog with a cool snack on those hot summer days. Or you can stuff a Kong with peanut butter to occupy your dog for several minutes.

Peanut butter is a wonderful way to distract your dog while you clip their nails or bathe them. You can also use peanut butter as a way to get your dog to take medication. It also works during training as a high-value reward for good behavior.

Many vets even use peanut butter in the office to distract a dog while they are getting an injection or undergoing an unpleasant or scary procedure.

Other Safe Treats for Your Dog

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You may wonder what other human foods are safe and healthy for your dog. It is always important to consult your dog’s veterinarian and read ingredient labels before feeding your dog people food. But, the following human foods are considered safe for dogs:

  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Pumpkin
  • Banana
  • Blueberries
  • Watermelon

Watermelons contain seeds you need to remove, and it is important to cut up carrots and apples to keep your dog from choking. You can add these treats to Kongs and other puzzle toys to keep your dog mentally stimulated. Be sure to research food thoroughly before giving it to your pet.

If your dog has a negative reaction to any of these foods, contact a vet immediately. Just like humans, dogs can have allergies and sensitivities to foods, even if they are deemed safe for most dogs.

Check Peanut Butter’s Ingredients Before Sharing

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Peanut butter is safe for dogs in moderation, but it is important to check the ingredient list to make sure xylitol is not included. Also, dogs should have a low-salt diet, so opt for brands with less sodium. You can give your dog this sweet treat as a way to calm them down, keep them occupied, or take medication. If your dog reacts negatively to peanut butter, take your dog to the vet for evaluation.

Sara Payne
bySara Payne

Sara is a mother of two and a high school English teacher who rediscovered her love of writing during the pandemic. She has 5 rescue cats: Neville and Luna, who are white cats with black and grey spots, and Ginny, Blue, and Fairy, who are calicos. Besides taking care of humans and fur babies, Sara enjoys gardening, crafting, and spending time in nature.