You’ve been up and down the aisles of pet stores (or online at billystreats.com 🥰) so you’ve already noticed the peanut butter flavoured biscuits. You’ve seen your friends filling up Kongs with peanut butter to keep their dog distracted for a little while, and you probably laughed when you saw that peanut butter on the forehead trick.
But is peanut butter actually healthy for your dog? We’ve done the research for you and learned that it’s complicated.
Helpful, right? Read on to learn everything you need to know about feeding your dog peanut butter.
First thing’s first: peanut butter is healthy for dogs.
Peanut butter is an excellent source of:
- Healthy fats (provides energy, insulation, a shiny coat)
- Vitamins (B + E)
- Niacin (a type of vitamin B that helps break down fatty acids aiding with digestion, boosts mental capacity and cognitive function, and is important for hormone secretion)
It’s also really tasty for your pup. You can use it to hide pills if your dog is picky about eating them, as a distraction if you need to trim their nails or give them a brush, or as a tasty reward for just being the best dog.
Though peanut butter is healthy for your pup, not all types of peanut butter is good for them. Different brands, different variations (crunchy, smooth, unsalted, etc) have varying ingredients, and some can be harmful for your dog. It’s important to check the label of all the food you're buying for your pup (and for yourself).
Can dogs have crunchy peanut butter (or whole peanuts)?
Yes, dogs can have whole peanuts but they’re high in fat so moderation is key. Dogs have trouble digesting high concentrations of fat at once and this can lead to an upset stomach, diarrhea and sometimes vomiting. Dogs that consume an excess amount of fat can develop pancreatitis, which could become fatal.
Peanut shells are not toxic for dogs, but for the same reasons humans don’t eat them, dog’s will have trouble digesting them too.
Can dogs have regular peanut butter?
Because most regular peanut butter contains added sugar (which contributes to weight gain in dogs), and is high in sodium and fats (like palm oil), regular peanut butter is not recommended for your dog. Though some fats are healthy, too much of it, especially for dogs that are already overweight, should be avoided.
Some peanut butters also contain Xylitol and this is highly toxic and poisonous for dogs. Your dog should never have any peanut butter or food that contains this ingredient.
What is Xylitol and why is it poisonous to dogs?
Xylitol is a natural sugar-alcohol, or better known as, a sweetener and sugar substitute often added to ‘sugar-free’ products (think gum, chewable vitamins, some baked goods, toothpaste, and ice cream). It’s also a popular ingredient in peanut butter.
Xylitol consumption can cause hypoglycemia (a release of insulin and a drop in blood sugar) that can lead to liver damage or failure in dogs. The amount of xylitol a dog can have before seeing negative effects depends on their size, but symptoms of hypoglycemia can develop as quickly as 10 to 60 minutes after consumption.
Symptoms of xylitol poisoning:
- Sudden weakness
- Lack of coordination
At this point, you’re probably wanting to avoid peanut butter all together now. But don’t worry—it’s easy to avoid xylitol, especially when purchasing natural peanut butters (usually 100% peanut butter and nothing else).
Whether you’re buying human food for yourself, or dog food for your dog, you should always read the labels and list of ingredients. Dog treats especially are packed with fillers and additives that make them extra tasty for your pup, and usually extra unhealthy.
Here are some great peanut butter options for your dog available in Canada that are made with 100% roasted peanuts, no other ingredients, additives, sugars or salt:
- Kraft Only Peanuts All Natural Peanut Butter
- PC Smooth Peanut Butter
- PC Blue Crunchy Peanut Butter
- Nuts To You Nut Butter Organic Peanut Butter
*Tip: Don’t assume that ‘all natural’ or ‘no artificial sweetener’ on the front of the label means xylitol free—xylitol is technically an ‘all natural’ sweetener. It’s best to purchase peanut butter where the only ingredient is peanuts.
At Billy’s Treats, we only use all-natural 100% peanut butter (no added sugars, unsalted, no xylitol—just peanuts). Plus, our peanut butter treats are made with no other additives or fillers—just coconut flour, ground oats and flax seeds, and coconut oil. That’s it. Because we only believe in treating your dog with the best!