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Health & Wellness

Can dogs eat peanut butter?

Yes — but look at the ingredients before sharing.

Peanut butter is arguably one of the best spreads — it can be eaten on fruit, bread, oatmeal and even on its own. It’s so universal that it’s a fan favorite amongst dogs, too. 

Dr. Aliya McCullough, Fetch’s on-staff veterinarian, confirms that the sticky snack is generally safe for dogs to eat as long as the brand doesn’t include added salt, sugar or artificial sweeteners (like xylitol, which is very toxic for dogs). Plus, it contains vitamins and nutrients that are good for their health. Here’s the scoop on this dog-friendly treat. 

(Even though peanut butter is generally safe for your pet, always consult your vet before introducing a new food item to their diet.)

What kind of peanut butter can dogs get?

If the peanut butter brand doesn’t include added salt, sugar or artificial sweeteners (like xylitol, which is very toxic for dogs) — it’s OK for dogs to eat. Dr. McCullough adds that it’s usually OK for dogs to eat crunchy peanut butter, too. 

Keep in mind that certain treats aren’t made for every dog, though. If your dog has a negative reaction to peanut butter, Dr. McCullough says to stop serving the treat and contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

And, if you are wondering about an alternative for nut-free households, Dr. McCullough recommends looking into pet-friendly options, like dog-specific cheese treat stuffers. 

Is peanut butter good or bad for dogs?

According to Dr. McCullough, when peanut butter is served as a treat, it’s unlikely that the snack will significantly impact your dog’s health. However, it contains several nutrients, including: 

Protein: provides an energy source and building block for muscles

Vitamin B: regulates carbohydrate metabolism and acts as a building block for enzymes

Vitamin E: antioxidant that protects cells from damage

Niacin: promotes healthy enzymes and metabolism

Peanut butter should only be served to dogs as a special treat (aka sparingly), Dr. McCullough says. While the snack has nutritional benefits, there are some downsides, too. Peanut butter is high in fat, salt and sugar — plus, too much may cause dogs to experience pancreatitis, gastrointestinal upset and obesity, she adds. 

RELATED: Can dogs eat cheese? 

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How much peanut butter is safe for dogs to eat?

Less is more when it comes to serving dogs peanut butter. “Pet parents should only offer a small amount of peanut butter, for example, just enough to disguise medications or smear inside a food toy,” Dr. McCullough explains. 

Always talk to a veterinarian before incorporating peanut butter into your dog’s diet. It’s good to ask a veterinarian how much peanut butter is safe for your dog, too. Generally, treats — including peanut butter — should not exceed 10% of a dog’s daily caloric intake, Dr. McCullough says. 

The Dig, Fetch Pet Insurance'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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