"Can dogs eat peanut butter?"
It's one of the most frequent questions we're asked at PawNation. Many dog owners are confused; their dogs love the stuff, but it's not clear if feeding peanut butter to our canine pals is safe or healthy. We've got 10 facts about dogs and peanut butter that should answer your questions and put your mind at ease.
1. CAN DOGS EAT PEANUT BUTTER?
Yes. Dogs can eat peanut butter. It is generally safe, and it’s even a good source of protein, vitamins and healthy fats. But stick to all-natural peanut butter without added salt or sugar. It’s healthier. (That's true for you, too, not just your dog.)
2. PEANUT BUTTER, YES. SPOONS, NO.
Be careful about how you feed peanut butter to your dog. Using a spoon may not be a good idea. According to PetMD, one veterinarian reported a story of an owner who was spoon-feeding peanut butter to her Alaskan Malamute, and the dog was so excited about the creamy treat that it accidentally gulped down the entire spoon. Anyone who’s ever seen a dog go wild for peanut butter probably isn't too shocked by that story.
3. CREAMY OR CRUNCHY PEANUT BUTTER?
Your dog probably isn’t as picky about mouthfeel as we may be when it comes to peanut butter, but you should have a preference on his behalf. If you have a choice, choose creamy peanut butter for Fido. Chunky varieties may present a choking hazard, especially for puppies. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
4. PEANUT ALLERGIES IN DOGS
Just like with humans, a few dogs may have peanut allergies, even though most dogs have no problems with peanuts. These allergies can even develop over time in dogs who once were able to eat peanut butter or other peanut products without issue. If your dog appears to have a bad reaction to eating peanuts at any time, contact your vet immediately.
5. PEANUT-SNIFFING LIFE SAVERS
Speaking of peanut allergies, some dogs are specially trained to help protect human children with this dangerous food allergy. Dogs are known to use their heightened sense of smell to detect all kinds of medical emergencies, like low blood sugar in diabetics and even cancer. Peanut-sniffing service dogs can detect even the slightest presence of peanuts, thus alerting someone with a life-threatening allergy. (Seattle Times)
6. A SPOONFUL OF PEANUT BUTTER HELPS THE MEDICINE GO DOWN
Many dogs love to eat peanut butter, but not a lot of dogs love to take medicine. Some dog owners use the former to solve the problem of the latter. Does your dog refuse to take his pill? Hide it in a glob of delicious peanut butter and watch him gobble it up.
7. PEANUT-BUTTER-STUFFED TOYS
A favorite technique of many dog owners for keeping their pooches occupied is to stuff a Kong-brand toy or similar toy with peanut butter. A dog could spend hours playing with a peanut-butter-stuffed toy, licking to get at every last bit of the tasty stuff. Kong even markets their own brand of Kong Stuff’n edible toy stuffing, in peanut-butter flavor, of course.
8. PEANUT BUTTER: A HIGH-VALUE DOG-TRAINING TREAT
When dog owners find themselves stuck while training a pooch to perform a certain trick or task, it may be that boring old biscuits just aren’t motivating enough as rewards. In these situations, experts recommend employing more "high value" treats like fresh meat or, yes, peanut butter to get results.
9. INTRODUCING DOGS AND BABIES ... USING PEANUT BUTTER
Dog owners who are expecting children for the first time often have concerns about how to introduce a new baby to their trusty pooch. One way to make the transition easier? Peanut butter! PetMD suggests putting a little bit of peanut butter on baby’s fingers and letting the family dog sniff it out. "This will give the dog the idea that whenever this smelly kid is around, I get lots of good stuff," says Stephanie LaFarge, PhD, director of counseling with the ASPCA. At the same time, the infant will grow accustomed at an early age to receiving affection from the dog. (PetMD)
Next: Nuts That Are Unsafe for Dogs to Eat
10. MAKE YOUR OWN PEANUT BUTTER DOG TREATS
Have you ever considered baking your own dog treats at home? Peanut butter makes a fine ingredient! Here’s a recipe to get you started, from Paula Deen.
Bodeen’s Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 40 min
3/4 cup nonfat milk
1 cup peanut butter, smooth
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
Preheat - 325 degrees
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, egg and peanut butter. Add in the flour and baking powder to make a very stiff dough, using your hands to work in the last of the flour if necessary. (Paula’s note: As a general rule, most homemade dog biscuits do well with 1 part liquid to 3 parts dry. You can customize the recipe by adding and subtracting ingredients your dog likes.)
Flour a work surface and roll out dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into desired sizes depending on the size of your dog. Bake on a parchment lined baking tray for approximately 20 minutes. Turn biscuits over and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Bodine’s Dog Biscuits can also be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.