Can dogs eat peanut butter? Yes, they can! Not only is peanut butter safe for dogs in moderation, it has several nutritional benefits. But what your dog might love the most is that it’s super fun to lick up. (And you’ll love that they’re entertained!)
We spoke with Dr. Gary Richter, DVM, owner and medical director of Holistic Veterinary Care in Oakland, California, and founder of Ultimate Pet Nutrition, for tips and advice on how to include peanut butter in your pup’s diet.
Benefits of Peanut Butter for Dogs
Is peanut butter good for dogs? Yes! When fed in moderation, peanut butter is as nutritious and it is delicious.
- It’s an excellent source of protein and healthy fats.
- It contains vitamin B6 and niacin, vital nutrients that support your dog’s enzyme function, red blood cell and nervous system function, glucose generation and immune response, among other benefits.
- Peanut butter also contains vitamin E, which is essential for healthy eyes and muscles.
Risks of Feeding Peanut Butter to Your Dog
While dogs can eat peanut butter as a treat or mixed in with their regular food, Dr. Richter suggests pet owners keep these things in mind before feeding it to their pup:
- Dogs can have peanut allergies, although it’s rare. Mild allergic reactions can include symptoms such as red and itching skin, while severe allergic reactions may lead to difficulty breathing. Take your pup to the vet immediately if you suspect your dog has a peanut allergy.
- Some brands of peanut butter contain the sugar substitute xylitol. This artificial sweetener can be life threatening to dogs. Read the ingredients carefully before feeding your dog peanut butter.
- Portion control is important. Peanut butter has a high fat content, so pet owners concerned about their dog’s weight should avoid feeding them too much. Treats, including peanut butter, should never make up more than 10% of a dog’s daily caloric intake. Dr. Richter says a 50-pound dog needs about 20 calories per pound (1,000 calories), so should have no more than 100 calories of treats per day. A 20-pound dog needs about 40 calories per pound (800 calories), so should have no more than 80 calories of treats a day. Check the label on the peanut butter to get an idea of how many calories are in each serving.
- Too much peanut butter can cause gastrointestinal upset. Like any high-fat food, too much peanut butter can lead to GI upset such as vomiting or diarrhea.
How to Feed Peanut Butter to Your Dog
You should always consult with your vet before feeding peanut butter to your dog to determine if it’s an OK treat and the appropriate portion size. Even a nutritious snack like peanut butter should be factored into your dog’s optimum daily balanced diet. Here are some suggestions for how to feed peanut butter to your dog:
- Spread in a rubber dog toy or on a lick mat. It’s a great way to keep a dog entertained!
- Start small. If your dog has never had peanut butter before, start with a small amount to see how they react. If they don’t have any signs of a peanut allergy or upset stomach, you can continue feeding them peanut butter.
- Make it a small snack. Go ahead, let your pup lick the spoon!
- Mix peanut butter in with your dog’s regular food. Peanut butter makes a nice food topper. Or try hiding it under your dog’s regular food to make them work for the special treat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q:Can dogs eat peanut butter cookies?
A:No, dogs should not eat peanut butter cookies since they’re usually high in added sugar, which is not good for them. But if a piece of your cookie falls on the floor and your pup gobbles it up, there’s no need to worry.
Q:Can dogs eat peanut butter and jelly?
A:No, dogs should not eat peanut butter and jelly because jelly is high in sugar, which is not good for your pup. But there’s no harm in occasionally letting them try a tiny piece.
Q:Can dogs eat peanut butter every day?
A:No, dogs should not eat peanut butter every day because of its high fat content, which can lead to weight gain.
Q:Can dogs eat peanut butter with palm oil?
A:Yes. Dr. Richter says peanut butter with palm oil is not likely to be harmful to your dog.
Q:Can dogs eat peanut butter cups?
A:No. That’s because dogs can not eat chocolate.
Top Dog Treats with Peanut Butter
If your dog loves peanut butter, there are plenty of DIY recipes and store-bought treats that are safe for dogs. Here are some of our favorites:
Before incorporating any new foods into your dog’s diet, always consult with your veterinarian to make sure it’s a safe addition to your pet’s diet given their health, diet needs, and current medications. Your vet will tell you if your dog can eat peanut butter and the appropriate serving size. If you suspect your pet is sick, please call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your regular veterinarian when possible as they can make the best recommendations for your pet. (If you need help finding a vet near you use this link.)