Give your pooch peanut butter and he'll lick his lips for more. Crunchy peanut butter has a texture and taste that makes for a delicious treat when mixed with kibble or offered from a spoon. The key to this savory treat is knowing when to give it so that it benefits both you and your dog.
There are many varieties of peanut butter on the market today -- everything from soft spreads and extra crunchy to natural and homogenized. But one thing remains the same: According to The Peanut Institute, commercial peanut butter must contain at least 90 percent peanuts with no additional sweeteners, colors or preservatives. This means your pup is ensured a high nutritional value no matter which kind he enjoys.
Crunchy peanut butter is filled with protein and fiber, which is good for a dog's gastrointestinal health. Other important nutrients such as phosphorus, potassium, zinc, folate and the antioxidant vitamin E help keep a dog's energy up, enable a shiny coat, aid in wound care and slow aging, as well as protect the body against cancer and other diseases.
It's best to offer crunchy peanut butter at the dog's regular mealtime by mixing it into his kibble or dog food, then place the bowl on the ground. Or place a spoonful into a toy, such as a Kong, and watch as your dog playfully yet eagerly goes after it. It's also a great food to conceal a dog's medicine. Lori Fusaro, a Los Angeles-based dog photographer, says peanut butter stops a dog in his tracks. "I give peanut butter to an active dog when I want him to sit still. He concentrates on eating it and I can capture a fun tongue shot!"
Two tablespoons of peanut butter has about 8 grams of plant protein. This amount nicely coats about 3 cups of dog food, for example, or fits well on a spoon when given as a stand-alone treat. But remember, as with all food your dog eats, moderation is the key. Too much peanut butter can lead to diarrhea or bladder stones.
- Cesar'sWay: Dog Nutrition: A to Z
- The Peanut Institute: Peanut Butter
- The National Academy of Sciences: Your Dog's Nutritional Needs
- Lori Fusaro; Fusaro Photography; Los Angeles, California
- USDA: Nutrient Data for 16156, Peanut Butter, Chunky, Vitamin and Mineral Fortified
- Partnership for Animal Welfare: Vitamins
- George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images