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Peanut butter is sticky, yummy, and an all-around classic snack. Your dog probably comes running every time you crack open a jar of peanut butter to make your lunch. Can you give in and share with your pup? Yes, you can! Peanut butter in moderation is safe for dogs, like many other human foods. Here are some things you should know before you share this treat with your friend.
Peanut butter that is free of artificial sweeteners, like xylitol, is safe for dogs to eat. This treat is considered a high value treat. A high-value treat is a treat that is very nutritious, extra smelly, occasional, and usually something the pet enjoys eating.³ Peanut butter is high in healthy fat, vitamin B and E, and niacin which may benefit your dog’s overall health.
The beauty of peanut butter is you can get creative with it! It is spreadable and comes in various consistencies. Opt for a smooth formula to avoid upsetting your pup’s stomach. Crunchy, rough nuts can be difficult for them to digest. Here are a few ideas about giving peanut butter to your pet.
● Place peanut butter on a spoon for them to lick.
● Spread it inside a kong treat ball.
● Create a tunnel for your dog with a small dish of peanut butter on the other side.
● Let them lick it off your good old-fashioned fingers!
Dogs enjoy peanut butter so much that many people use it to distract them during grooming sessions and when administering medications.⁴ Some pet parents even hide pills in peanut butter so the pups don’t spit the medicine out.
Peanut butter should only be given on occasion.⁵ It is a treat after all! Veterinarians recommend that treats make up roughly 10% of their daily diet. That 10% depends on your dog's size and their age. Make sure to keep track of all the treats your dog is consuming before giving them a few licks of peanut butter.
Talk to your veterinarian if you’re not sure if you’re giving your dog too many treats. They will guide you towards the ideal proportion of high-quality dog foods and human foods. Your vet will be aware of your dog's pre-existing conditions so they can give the “yay” or “nay” on adding peanut butter to their treat rotation. For example, dogs that are obese or have diabetes should probably avoid peanut butter since it is high in cholesterol and can contain sugar.⁵
Not really. It’s best to give your dog unsalted peanuts, low sodium peanut butter, and peanut butter that’s free of artificial sweeteners.⁶
Some dogs may be allergic to peanuts, but it is exceedingly rare. Monitor your pet closely for allergic reactions:⁴
Signs of an acute allergic reaction:
● Hives or small areas of swelling on their body
● Swelling around their eyes and/or muzzle
● Rapid breathing or difficulty breathing
● Severe itchiness
Mild-to-moderate food intolerance symptoms:
● Chronic/recurrent ear infections
● Thin fur coat
● Chronic itchiness and/or chewing of their paws
● Recurrent problems with impacted anal glands
These sorts of reactions can be scary, so consult your veterinarian about an allergy screening for your pup should you notice anything fishy. This screening may be covered by pet insurance.²
Homemade peanut butter is the best thing for everyone in the family. If you’re up for it, making your own peanut butter gives you total control over the ingredients. And if you’re short on time, there are companies that market dog-safe peanut butter.⁴
If eaten in excess, be aware that peanut butter, or any foods high in fats and sugars, can lead to conditions like pancreatitis.⁵ Keep the snacks down to a minimum to protect your dog from gaining extra pounds.
If your dog comes running when the peanut butter jar opens, it’s okay to give them a lick or two. Do not make peanut butter a daily thing. Instead, consider using peanut butter as a high-value treat. Reward your pup for good behavior, taking their medications without fussing, or when you have to groom them.
Talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s daily routine to ensure their lifestyle does not lead to obesity or pancreatitis. While these visits can be costly, pet insurance can help when things get sticky. Consider adding pet insurance to your tool kit. MetLife’s Dog Insurance can cover adverse reactions to peanut butter and other potential allergens.¹
¹ Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.
² Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.
³“What Kind of Treats Should You Use to Train Your Dog?,” Preventative Vet
⁴“Is Peanut Butter Safe for Dogs?,” Preventative Vet
⁵“Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter?,” American Kennel Club
⁶ “Can Dogs Eat Peanuts?,” American Kennel Club
⁷ “Anal Glands: What to Do When They Are Infected,” Preventive Vet