Is Unsalted Peanut Butter Okay for Dogs?by Susan Paretts
Don't be afraid to indulge your furry buddy with a nibble of some yummy unsalted peanut butter. Given in moderation, a bit of this sticky spread makes a tasty treat for your canine companion and contains many of the vitamins and minerals he needs to stay healthy. Your pup will enjoy his peanut-buttery reward, while you'll know he's eating something good for him.
While many types of nuts aren't good for dogs, including macadamia nuts and walnuts, peanuts are an exception because they aren't really nuts at all, according to the Rockwall Veterinary Clinic. Peanuts are a type of legume or bean, which is why they are so rich in protein, key to a pup's development. In addition to protein, peanuts contain healthy fats, vitamin H or biotin, and vitamin E, all of which help keep your pooch's coat soft and shiny, according to the VetInfo website. Peanuts also provide your pooch with fiber, niacin, folate and magnesium, according to the National Peanut Board. While peanuts can be a choking hazard to your pup, the smooth spread made from them won't.
Traditional peanut butter contains salt, sugar and preservatives, none of which are good for your pooch. When selecting a peanut butter to give your canine companion, purchase an organic, unsalted and sugar-free variety. Avoid chunky varieties, which contain jagged pieces of whole nuts. If you want to know exactly what's in the peanut butter you're giving your pup, make your own peanut butter fresh with organic and unsalted raw or roasted peanuts. Simply put the shelled peanuts in your food processor with a small drizzle of peanut oil and process until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy -- the more oil, the creamier the consistency.
While your ravenous canine will undoubtedly want to eat an entire jar of unsalted peanut butter, too much of this rich treat can quickly pack on the pounds for your pooch. A teaspoon or so divided into smaller portions and given throughout the day provides tasty snacks for your little one without overwhelming him with calories and fats.
Stuffing Puzzle Toys
Consider serving your pup his daily portion of unsalted peanut butter in a puzzle toy. Stuff the puzzle toy with a teaspoon of unsalted peanut butter to keep Buzz occupied throughout the day, helping ease separation anxiety. The Humane Society website advocates mixing peanut butter with a bit of dry dog food or broken dog treats, instead of stuffing the entire toy with peanut butter, to avoid excess calories.
Why and How to Feed
Give your pup peanut butter in ways other ways a treat toy, and for any suitable snacky reason except to excess. Use unsalted peanut butter to reward good behavior, for instance, or to tempt your dog to eat when he's under the weather. If your pooch seems unsure of the sticky treat, wipe a bit on his nose so he instinctively licks it off. A fun option if kids are in the home is to bake dog biscuits: Mix peanut butter with dry ingredients that contain fiber, such as whole wheat flour and oats, and bake til they rise and brown. He'll eat a burned one, you know. Resist the temptation to give one before they're room temperature.
You can hide pills and other medications in peanut butter without having to force your pup to take them -- he'll eat them right up in the tasty snack without a fuss. Simply hide the pill inside a small dollop of peanut butter and place it directly on your forefinger. Open your pup's mouth with one finger of the other hand, tilting his head back, and wipe the peanut-butter encased pill onto his tongue toward the back of his mouth. This is the recommendation of the Animal Family Veterinary Care Center. You can place the pill in a dollop of peanut butter in his food dish and let him lick them both up.
Checking With the Vet
If your pup suffers from any medical conditions, check with your vet to see if unsalted peanut butter is safe for him. Just like people, some pups are allergic to peanut butter, even without salt, sugar and preservatives. After feeding any unsalted peanut butter to your pooch, keep an eye on his coat and watch him for signs of gastric distress. Signs of peanut allergies in pups include ear infections, skin irritations and hair loss, according to Hartz. If you notice any of these signs, stop feeding your pooch any peanut butter products and bring him to the vet.
- Hartz: Human Foods for Dogs: Which Table Scraps and People Snacks Make Good Dog Treats
- WebMD: 'People' Foods Your Dog Can Eat
- Cesar's Way: Dog Approved People Food
- VetInfo: Is Feeding Your Dog Peanut Butter Safe?
- PetPlace.com: Encouraging Your Sick Pet to Eat
- The Humane Society of the United States: Dog Toys
- Rockwall Veterinary Clinic: Is Peanut Butter Safe for Dogs? -- Rockwall Veterinary Clinic Answers
- Modern Dog Magazine: 10 More "People" Food for Dogs
- National Peanut Board: Nutrition and Peanuts
- National Research Council of the National Academies: Your Dog's Nutritional Needs
- PhotoObjects.net/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images