Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter? Is it Safe?

Two dogs who want a treat

Lots of dogs really enjoy eating peanut butter. The combination of a strong smell, unusual taste and sticky texture make it an irresistible treat.

Peanut butter can be a brilliant aid to your dog training as it’s such a high-value treat. However, some brands can be dangerous (or even deadly!) to your pet so it’s important to know which ingredients to avoid.

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What to watch out for when buying peanut butter for your dog

When you are buying peanut butter for your dog, be sure to check the label.

Some brands of peanut butter contain an ingredient called xylitol which can be fatal for dogs, even in small amounts.

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener which is used to give products sweetness without adding sugar.

If your peanut butter contains xylitol, DO NOT feed it to your dog.

Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs and can cause hypoglycaemia, seizures, liver failure and death.

It’s important to check the packaging every time you buy peanut butter for your dog, even if you have bought that brand before, as companies change the recipes from time-to-time and may decide to add xylitol.

You should also try to buy ‘healthy’ peanut butter – i.e. no added sugar, flavourings or additives.

Watch out for phrases such as ‘all natural’ though – xylitol is often used in products that claim they are ‘natural’ or with ‘no artificial sweeteners’.

Is peanut butter good for dogs?

Whilst many dogs go absolutely nuts for peanut butter (pun intended), it’s not particularly good for them. It’s high in fat and some brands contain added sugar or salt which isn’t ideal for a dog’s diet.

That being said, it is a highly popular item for giving dogs a high-value treat that they absolutely love.

Just like with our own diets, peanut butter in moderation is absolutely fine but don’t give your dog more than about a teaspoonful at a time (or up to a tablespoon for large dogs), and try not to feed it to them every day.

Should I give my dog peanut butter?

For the most part, it should be absolutely fine to treat your dog with some peanut butter every now and then.

Some dogs are intolerant to peanut butter, which means that it can give them tummy upsets or cause them to vomit. If that’s the case, look into other ways to treat them instead.

If your dog is overweight then peanut butter probably isn’t the ideal product to be feeding them as it is high in fat and calories. For overweight dogs, it’s better to feed them lower calorie options such as cooked plain chicken, ham or specialist dog treats.

Similarly, dogs with kidney problems should avoid peanut butter because it can contain high levels of salt which isn’t good for dogs with these kidney issues.

Do all dogs like peanut butter?

Nope! Just like humans, dogs seem to have a ‘love it’ or ‘hate it’ attitude when it comes to peanut butter.

My two shih tzus LOVE peanut butter and like nothing better in summer than to cool down with a frozen Kong stuffed with peanut butter and other tasty food.

On the other hand, my mum’s Boston terriers don’t like peanut butter and won’t eat it if you offer it to them.

If you find that your dog doesn’t like the taste of peanut butter, don’t worry – there are lots of other yummy treats you can give them instead.

Cream cheese can be a good substitute for peanut butter, but feed this sparingly as dairy products can sometimes give dogs an upset stomach. You could also try Kong paste which is liver based and comes in a handy squirty bottle.

When should I give my dog peanut butter?

Peanut butter should be given to dogs as an occasional treat, not an everyday occurrence.

If your dog really loves peanut butter you can use it as an effective training treat to reward them for good behaviour.

As peanut butter has a strong smell, it can be used to help with recall training as your dog will be able to smell it when they are away from you.

I like to smear it on the inside of Kongs or similar ‘stuffing’ toys to give my dogs some entertainment and brain training as they try to lick every last morsel out.

Try coating medication tablets in peanut butter if your dog is refusing to take them otherwise. They get so caught up in the yummy taste that they often won’t notice the pill inside.

You can also use peanut butter as a distraction technique during baths, nail trimmings, grooming sessions or brushing. Simply putting some on the tiles around your bath or sink can be enough of a distraction as the dog focuses on licking off the spread rather than reacting to the situation.

If you want a slightly more hygienic option (and one which takes your dog longer to finish) then check out these Chase ‘n’ Chomp Sticky Bones. I love this product because the two suction pads allow you to stick it to any surface and the ridges on the bone let you hide the peanut butter in to make it difficult for your dog to get it.

In summer, I mix a little peanut butter with some water and use that to create ‘doggie ice lollies’ to help cool my dogs down. I use bone shaped ice cube trays to make it super-obvious for anyone looking in my freezer that these are dog treats and not flavoured ice cubes for people!

If you make flavoured ice pops for your dog, I highly recommend feeding them outside as they can make a mess when they start to melt. That is, if your dog hasn’t already snaffled them down before they start to warm up!