Peanut Butter is often touted as being a safe and healthful snack for dogs but is it? The short answer to that question is yes, however there are some situations and circumstances where peanut butter could be unhealthy, even dangerous, to give to your furry family members.
Peanuts are fine but watch for choking.
Peanuts are not toxic for dogs but be careful to watch dogs when eating whole nuts as they can be a choking hazard. Also, dispose of peanut shells where your pet cannot access them, as these also can be a choking risk. Some toxic nuts to never give your dog are walnuts, pistachios, pecans, almonds, and macadamias.
Opt for organic peanut butter without artificial sweeteners or additives and preservatives.
Watch the salt.
When giving your dog peanuts or homemade peanut butter, watch the salt content. Choose unsalted peanuts that are boiled, roasted, or raw. Skip peanuts that are coated with things like honey, as these can also be unhealthy for your pet.
Does your pet have allergies?
Be careful giving your pet nuts if you are unsure what, if any, your pet’s allergies are. If you notice things like excessive itching, balding, or respiratory distress, your dog could be having an allergic reaction and needs veterinary care immediately.
Peanut Butter is high in fat.
Remember that peanut butter is high in fat, around eight grams of fat per tablespoon, so keep it in moderation. Dogs can have a hard time digesting fat so too much could be potentially unhealthy for your pet. If you continue to give your pet a high-fat diet, it can lead to a painful condition, pancreatitis.
Read the label.
Be very wary and read labels to make sure that there are no artificial sweeteners or sugars that are potentially lethal for dogs. Watch out for xylitol especially which is very toxic for your dog. Ingesting these sweeteners can cause the dog to have seizures.
Measure it out.
Instead of winging-it, measure out the peanut butter that you give to your dog. Give small dogs around a half-tablespoon of peanut butter per day and give larger dogs no more than a tablespoon to make sure you are not giving them too much of a good thing.
Use as a trick or a treat.
When used sparingly, peanut butter can be an excellent way to hide pills or distract a dog when it is time for things he doesn’t enjoy, like baths or grooming. It can also be a wonderful treat to reinforce positive behaviors.
Peanut butter is an excellent protein-rich food that can be given in moderation to your dog. It is also high in healthy fats, which contribute to a shiny coat, and full of Vitamin E, Vitamin B, and Niacin.
If you have concerns about giving your dog peanut butter, talk to the veterinary professionals at CVETS, a brand-new, state-of-the-art Emergency Vet and Surgery center in Columbia, SC.