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All it takes to get the full attention of your dog is one lick of peanut butter. Dogs can’t simply get enough of this tasty treat. And that’s probably why pet food aisles are filled with dog treats that are flavored with peanut butter.
Natural peanut butter with no added salt, sugar, or preservatives is safe and healthy for dogs to eat. In fact, in moderation, peanut butter can be a potent source of heart-healthy fats, proteins, vitamins E and B6, and niacin.
Many dog parents also use peanut butter to mask the taste of medications and to distract their dogs while trimming their nails or giving them a bath.
Peanut butter may also come in handy if your dog suffers from separation anxiety. All you need to do is stuff some peanut butter with some of your dog’s favorite dry food into a Kong. Your pup will be preoccupied for a couple of hours, which can go a long way in easing his anxiety.
So, peanut butter can offer several benefits to dogs. But the million-dollar question is:
How Much Peanut Butter Can A Dog Have?
While most canine experts agree that peanut butter is safe for dogs when given in moderation, its high-fat content means that it is not a treat you are going to share with your four-legged friend multiple times a day or a week. A little bit of the treat will be perfectly fine but in excess, you are likely to give your dog nasty and expensive cases of pancreatitis, obesity, and other serious health issues.
To help you figure out how much peanut butter you should be giving your pooch at any given time, here are some of the factors you need to keep in mind:
The 10 Percent Rule
Like with all other dog treats, the amount of peanut butter that your dog should consume should be limited to 10 percent of his daily calorie intake to avoid upsetting his nutritional balance. When you observe the 10 percent guideline, you don’t need to worry about whether the treat you give to your dog is healthy or just for fun. Measuring or understanding the amount of food your dog gets on a daily basis will help you figure out the amount of peanut butter that will be appropriate for him. And while at it, remember to alternate between peanut and other natural, healthy treats like dog-friendly fruits and vegetables.
The Size of Your Dog
Your dog’s size may also dictate the amount of peanut butter that he can consume. Generally speaking, smaller dog breeds shouldn’t eat more ½ tablespoonful of peanut butter in a day. You can give up to 1 tablespoonful daily to larger dog breeds.
And for puppies, only give minuscule portions—whether they are small or large breeds. Besides, strive to give puppies smooth peanut butter varieties as chunky versions can be hard for them to digest.
For dogs with pancreatitis or those who are prone to developing chronic pancreatitis like Yorkshire Terriers and Miniature schnauzers, even tiny amounts of peanut butter or any high-fat treat is enough to worsen their conditions. If you own such a dog, it is safe to avoid peanut butter treats completely.
Some dogs may also be allergic to peanut butter. So, if you are giving your dog peanut butter for the first time, we recommend that you start with just a small lick and closely monitor him for a few hours to see his reaction. Call your vet immediately if you see signs of peanut butter allergy like skin irritation, gastric distress, hair loss, and other intoxication signs after feeding your dog peanut butter.
Type of Peanut Butter
The amount of fats, sugar, salt, and other ingredients varies from one brand of peanut butter to another. To figure out the exact amount of a particular peanut butter brand that will be appropriate for your dog, always check the caloric count on its label.
Alternatively, choose peanut butter brands that are specifically designed for dogs. We highly recommend such brands of peanut butter because they are formulated by canine nutritionists. Here are the best options on Amazon right now:
You can also make peanut butter for your pup at home by simply grinding some peanuts in a food processor. Be sure to use organic peanuts or those sourced from reputable sources as some peanuts contain fungi, Aspergillus parasiticus and Aspergillus flavus which are known to produce aflatoxins.
Whether you buy dog peanut butter brands we’ve recommended or decide to make some at home, remember that peanut butter is still a treat and should only be given in moderation.
Discuss With Your Vet
If you are still unable to figure out the right amount of peanut butter to give your dog, speak with your vet to help you establish the recommended daily allowance that will keep your furbaby’s diet healthy and balanced. Consulting your vet is especially vital if your dog has underlying health conditions like diabetes or food allergy issues.
The Bottom line
Provided that you give peanut butter to your pup as a once-in-a-while treat and checked the ingredient label (to ensure that it is xylitol-free), your pooch doesn’t have to forgo this delicious treat entirely. The most important thing to remember is that too much of peanut butter isn’t good for your four-legged friend. Between the high fat, sodium, calorie content, and threats of aflatoxins, it is best to limit any type of peanut butter that you give your dog to an occasional treat—whether it is natural, dog-specific, or homemade.