Peanut butter is among the "people" foods that are generally safe for dogs to eat. Peanuts are a type of legume, rather than a nut, and are therefore rich in protein and contain healthy fats and vitamins E and H, which will help keep your dog's coat healthy and shiny.
How to Safely Feed Peanut Butter to Dogs
RIGHT and WRONG Peanut Butter
Because crunchy peanut butter has bits of peanuts that can be choking hazards, it's best to stick to giving your four-legged pal creamy peanut butter. If you give your dog peanut butter very rarely, the commercial non-organic creamy brands will be fine. However, if your pooch eats peanut butter regularly, it is best to give him organic, unsalted peanut butter. Too much salt can be harmful to your dog's health.
Above all, do NOT feed your dog peanut butter containing the artificial sweetener xylitol -- a substance extremely toxic to dogs. As of August 6, 2015, Preventative Vet lists the following companies which produce peanut and other nut butters containing xylitol: (1) Go Nuts, Co., (2) Hank's Protein Plus Peanut Butter, (3) Krush Nutrition, (4) Nuts 'N More, and (5) P28.
How Much Is Too Much?
Peanut butter is high in Vitamin E, Vitamin H, and heart-healthy fats which can help give him a lustrous coat. Howvever, high fat means high calories, so it's best to limit his daily intake to about 1 - 2 teaspoons a day, depending on your dog's size. Speak to your veterinarian to determine a recommended daily allowance that will keep your pooch's diet healthy and balanced.
Practical Uses for Peanut Butter
Need to administer meds to your dog? Tuck your dog's medication into a bit of peanut butter, and place it onto his tongue toward the back of his mouth. Doing so will prevent cleverer pooches from getting wise to your scheme and eating the peanut butter around the medication and leaving the pill behind. Peanut butter might also benefit your dog if he suffers from separation anxiety. Stuff about 1 teaspoon of unsalted peanut butter mixed with some dry food into a Kong or similar toy meant to hold treats. Your dog will be preoccupied for a few hours, which will help ease his anxiety. Because the recommended daily allowance varies by your dog's weight, talk to your dog's veterinarian to determine what amount works best for your furry pal's daily, balanced diet.
While peanut butter is generally safe for dogs to eat, some dogs may have peanut allergies. Signs of peanut allergies in your pooch may vary, and include gastric distress, skin irritation or hair loss. If your dog presents any of these or other signs of possible intoxication after eating peanut butter, stop feeding him peanut butter and take him to the veterinarian, who will be able to diagnose a peanut allergy.
By Vivian Gomez
About the Author
Vivian Gomez contributes to Retailing Today, the Daily Puppy, Paw Nation and other websites. She's covered the New York Comic Con for NonProductive since 2009 and writes about everything from responsible pet ownership to comic books to the manner in which smart phones are changing the way people shop. Gomez received her Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Pace University.