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Woman feeding dog peanut butter on a spoon

The essentials

  • As a general rule, peanut butter is best served in moderation — Due to the natural fats and added ingredients like sugars in peanut butter, it is important that it should not make up a high portion of your dog’s daily caloric intake.
  • Peanut butter is a great treat and can be quite helpful — Dogs love peanut butter, making it a useful tool for giving medication and helping to keep a dog calm, such as when they have separation anxiety or are getting their nails trimmed.
  • A dog’s sense of smell is a good guide for their stomach — Being omnivores, our canine friends need to have protein in their diet, but they are also on the lookout for good sources of carbohydrates. With its sweet smell, peanut butter is often irresistible to dogs.
German shepherd puppy with peanut butter on nose

Everyone knows how enjoyable it can be to open a peanut butter jar and enjoy a spoonful of this tasty treat. High in protein, healthy fats, and vitamin E, it’s a regular go-to for kids and adults alike. It’s no surprise that lots of pups also enjoy the flavor and want more of it.

Can dogs eat peanut butter? 

Dogs can absolutely eat peanut butter in small amounts, but it is important to find a dog-safe peanut butter. Many brands of peanut butter have gotten rid of the artificial sweetener xylitol, but if they haven’t, stay away, as it can be extremely toxic to dogs, and can even lead to acute liver failure. Always make sure you check the ingredient list on any peanut butter before giving any to your pup, and try to avoid PB with added sugar.

Xylitol can cause dogs to have low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia , which can be lethal if not treated. Be selective with which brand you feed to your canine companion, and try to find a high-quality peanut butter brand for them to enjoy.

🚨 Please keep an eye out for company announcements like recalls, and check to make sure your peanut butter is safe for your furry friend.

Why do dogs like peanut butter?

If you know how much you like the taste of peanut butter, it might seem pretty self-explanatory that your dog will, too. However, there are reasons from regulating their diet to canine obsession that leads to them craving this nutty treat.

The taste

While dogs only have 1,700 taste buds in comparison to humans’ 9,000, some of these are fat-specific taste buds. They help dogs find and enjoy the taste of meats, fats, and other meat-related chemicals like many carnivores. Additionally, dogs have a sweet tooth and love the sugar content of peanut butter.

There are thoughts that dogs enjoy peanut butter as a salty snack, but they actually find salt to be less palatable. With this in mind, due to the high amounts of sodium in regular brands, treating your pooch to unsalted peanut butter is advisable.

The nutrients

Dog’s wild ancestors had diets of roughly 80% meat, so high-protein food is something that they will naturally gravitate to. In addition to protein, peanut butter is a very nutrient-rich food, something that makes it attractive to dogs and humans alike. Peanut butter has healthy fatty acids, but it is a good idea to have water available when offering this treat.

However, it is important to give in small quantities, as too much peanut butter could lead to health problems such as pancreatitis.

The smell

For some dogs, the roasted aroma of peanut butter calls to mind the scent of caramelized meat. The smell of peanut butter reminds them of the sweet taste of different foods that are sources of good fats. The roasting process of the peanuts gives off a similar scent that dogs use to track down foods that are high in carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes.

White dog looking at peanut butter

How to safely feed your dog peanut butter

It is important to look at different types of peanut butter before settling on one to give to your dog as a nice sticky treat. Some products may have too many preservatives or unhealthy sugar substitutes. Peanut butter has a high fat content, so it is important to make sure to keep it as a low portion of your dog’s caloric intake.

Additionally, if it’s your first time giving it to your dog, there are chances of them having some sensitivities that cause an upset stomach. As always, talking to your veterinarian before introducing new food to your dog’s diet is best, especially if they are on a prescription diet or one made for allergies.

As a dog food additive

For added flair, you can easily add a tablespoon of peanut butter to your dog’s food bowl during or in between meals. They’ll love the surprise, and you’ll get to enjoy their frantic excitement as they eat it.

Inside of toy treats

Adding this delicious treat to the middle of toys such as Kong chew toys will give your dog a fun, engaging experience, while also giving you a quick laugh as they play.

As a reward or distraction

Many people have found success in putting their dog’s medicine inside a small dollop of peanut butter, which will hide the flavor and texture of the pills. It can also be used to distract your dog and keep them calm when grooming their coat, trimming their nails, or giving them a bath.

Dog licking a peanut butter popsicle

There are many human foods that we want to try to give to our dogs as a reward or nice surprise. Due to the spices we use in cooking, many of them just aren’t safe or healthy to give to your dog. Thankfully, nature has provided many treats that can be given, including fruits and peanut butter. Now you can feel comfortable giving your friend this healthy snack and rest assured that it was safe.

Frequently asked questions

Is it okay to give my dog peanut butter every day?

Peanut butter is a healthy treat for your dog, but due to its high fat content, it is best as an occasional treat rather than daily.

Why do dogs like the taste of peanut butter?

Dogs love the rich, savory flavor, high fat content, and protein levels that make it a high-energy, nutrient-rich food.

What types of peanut butter are best for my dog?

Unsalted, unsweetened types of peanut butter are the healthiest, but the most important factor is that they do not contain xylitol. If you believe your dog has ingested xylitol, visit your vet as soon as possible.