When fed in moderation, both almond and peanut butter can be healthful, nutrient-rich foods that your pup will love. Since they're both decadent, once-in-a-while treats, you may be wondering which is going to give your dog more nutritional bang for your buck. If so, read on to find out more!
Both Are Nontoxic
Almonds, like peanuts, aren't toxic to dogs, in whole or butter form. But both nuts (OK, peanuts are actually a legume) can cause gastrointestinal upset and discomfort in your doggy if he eats a large amount. The tummy problems come from the excess fat in nuts. Nut butters are even fattier because they're made from nuts and added oil. Too much fat in your dog's diet can lead to pancreatitis over time. So if you want to feed your dog nut butters, moderation is key.
CAUTION: Do NOT feed your pet any nut butter containing the artificial sweetener xylitol, a substance extremely toxic to dogs. Choose all natural, unsweetened, and unsalted varieties.
Nearly all the calories in nut butters come from fat. In 32 grams of almond butter, there are 18 grams of fat and two grams of saturated fat. Almond butter contains about 200 calories per two tablespoons. The same amount of peanut butter contains 190 calories, 16 grams of fat with 3 grams of saturated fat. One tablespoon of both peanut and almond butter contain one gram of fiber and about 7 grams of protein. Peanut butter has 8 grams of carbohydrate per serving and almond butter has 6 grams.
Almond and peanut butter both contain vitamins essential to your dog's health. A two tablespoon serving size of almond butter contains 1 mg of niacin, aka vitamin B3, but peanut butter contains 4.2 mg. Proper niacin levels keep your dog's skin, hair, eyes and liver healthy. If you're looking for vitamin E content, almond butter is the right choice -- it has significantly higher vitamin E than peanut butter, 7.75 mg vs 1.9 mg. Vitamin E fights free radicals in your dog's cells and boosts his immune system, helping to keep him young and healthy. Peanut butter also has immune boosting properties in the form of vitamin B6, with about twice as much of this vitamin as almond butter, 0.18 mg vs 0.1 mg. Peanut butter has significantly more selenium than almond butter -- 13 micrograms vs. 0.7. Fido's body uses selenium to produce selenoproteins, antioxidant enzymes that prevent the formation of cancer and other diseases. Both butters contain only trace amounts of riboflavin, aka vitamin B2, and folate, aka vitamin B9.
As far as minerals go, almond and peanut butters are similar, but a few key nutrients are present in almond butter more than peanut butter per two tablespoon serving. Almond butter contains a significant amount of calcium that peanut butter lacks, 111 mg compared to 17 mg. Calcium is good for strong bones and teeth for your dog, as well as preventing arthritis. Almond butter contains slightly more phosphorus and magnesium than peanut butter, at 89 mg for magnesium in almond butter and 57 for peanut butter, and 163 mg phosphorus versus 107 mg in peanut butter. Both minerals are building blocks of strong bones along with calcium and aide in numerous chemical reactions within Spot's body. Manganese also helps your pup with bone development and turning food into energy. Both butters contain manganese with almond butter at 0.68 mg and peanut butter at 0.44. Almond and peanut butter contain only a small amount of iron and zinc.
Types of Nut Butters and Cost
Peanut butter is easy to find at almost any grocery store and is reasonably cheap. Almond butter is more of a specialty food and is made from a more expensive nut, so it tends to cost more per pound than peanut butter. If you're comparing organic peanut butter to organic almond butter, the price is closer but peanut butter is still less expensive. When choosing a nut butter, natural ones with no added sugar or salt are ideal for your doggy. The separating kind is also preferable because it contains no hydrogenated oils, which are the solidified form of plant fats.
By Madeline Masters
ARS/USDA: Sunflower Seed Butter and Almond Butter as Nutrient-Rich Alternatives to Peanut Butter
ASPCA: Pistachios and Peanuts
Office of Dietary Supplements: Magnesium
Office of Dietary Supplements: Calcium
Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin E
Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin B6
Office of Dietary Supplements: Selenium
University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Food Network: Almond Butter
Food Network: Homemade Peanut Butter
Food Network: Food Fight - Almond Butter vs. Peanut Butter
USDA: No Trans Fats in Peanut Butter--Contrary to Current Rumor
About the Author
Madeline Masters works as a dog walker and professional writer. In the past she has worked as a fitness columnist, fundraising copywriter and news reporter. Masters won two Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Awards in 2009. She graduated from Elizabethtown College with a Bachelor of Arts in English.