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Health & Wellness

Can dogs eat butter?

Butter isn’t toxic to dogs, but it shouldn’t be a snack, either.

Between being spread on bread, added to rice or used to grease a pan — butter likely sits on your countertop for easy access. But being so readily available makes it also convenient for your curious pup to knock off the counter. 

Knowing that this ingredient is in most recipes or within your pet’s reach begs the question, is butter OK for dogs to eat? To help guide us, we turned to Dr. Aliya McCullough, DVM, Fetch’s on-staff veterinarian. She’s sharing the health risks of letting dogs eat this spread and what to do if they have a negative reaction. 

Is butter bad for dogs?

Butter isn’t toxic for dogs, so your pup will likely be OK if they eat a small butter serving. However, the downside with this spread is that its high-fat content can cause pets to experience upset stomachs, Dr. McCullough explains.

“If your pup accidentally eats a small amount of butter that fell to the floor or licks a bit up, they may not get sick,” she adds. “Dogs can have different reactions to eating the spread. For example, pets with a history of a sensitive stomach are more likely to have a negative reaction to eating the ingredient, even a small amount.”

As we mentioned before, several recipes include butter. If your pup manages to eat food cooked in this ingredient, they’ll likely be OK — but you should try to keep buttery dishes away from them if possible.

RELATED: Can dogs eat honey?

What are the health risks of dogs eating butter?

When a pup has an upset stomach — especially after eating large amounts of butter — they might vomit, have diarrhea or experience pancreatitis, aka when their pancreas is inflamed. 

“Pancreatitis causes vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, decreased appetite and sometimes gastrointestinal tract bleeding,” Dr. McCullough explains. “In severe cases, it can cause fever, collapse, severe lethargy or lead to hospitalization.”

It’s best to avoid giving your pup the spread at all to help keep them safe and feeling good. However, if your dog manages to grab that rogue butter stick off the counter — monitor them for signs of an adverse reaction and contact your veterinarian if they start to get sick.

Is olive oil a safe alternative for dogs?

Even though olive oil is an unsaturated fat, it’s still not a great option for dogs. “The fat in olive oil can contribute to weight gain and doesn’t contain enough essential fatty acids to have significant health benefits for dogs,” Dr. McCullough says. 

We’re confident that butter isn’t the only human food your dog would love to sink their teeth into (cue the drool). Check out our series “Can dogs eat ... ?” to learn more about which human foods are off-limits and what’s fair game.

The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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