Most dog owners can relate to what happens when you bring out the jar of peanut butter. Your dog starts drooling uncontrollably and starts giving you the ‘puppy eyes’. You then feel obliged to give them a taste of the delicious snack! My dogs used to hear the unscrewing of the jar and begin a full sprint in the direction of the kitchen. They would be begging me for a handout before the lid had even come off…. If you thought to yourself “I have experienced something similar to this” then you have probably asked the question “is giving my pup peanut butter good for their health?”
So let’s get down to it…
In short, the answer is no. It is not ideal, and for various reasons. Recent studies from animal nutritionists and holistic veterinarians have shown that feeding your dog peanut butter is not linear with good dog health. But, don't feel guilty if you have been letting your dogs indulge in peanut butter or peanut butter snacks.
This is new information to all of us (yes, even new to some veterinarians). Chances are that your dog has not been negatively affected by peanut butter consumption. However, if your dog continues eating peanut butter in the long term they would more likely lead to health conditions.
Don't worry, the rest of this article will provide insight into….
What makes peanut butter bad for dogs (ingredients, dog anatomy, healthy dog nutrition) and other foods that consist of the harmful ingredients found in peanut butter.
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in some peanut butter brands. In contrast to humans, Xylitol stimulates the release of insulin, a hormone that regulates blood pressure, in dogs.
The release of insulin is too potent for a dog’s body to handle. This can cause a rapid decrease in blood pressure in your dog (hypoglycemia) which could be life-threatening.
Some other products that contain Xylitol include chewing gum, sugar-free puddings / Jell-O, toothpaste, jellies/jams, cereal, and breath mints. So, if you wouldn’t feed your dog toothpaste; I wouldn't recommend feeding your dog peanut butter.
Another reason peanut butter isn’t the best treat for your dog is that peanut butter is very high in fats and calories. Over-feeding your dog can lead to many health issues such as obesity, diabetes, heart/respiratory/kidney disease, cancer, osteoarthritis, and more.
Most peanut butter brands contain a component called trans fatty acids. Trans-fatty acids are a result of a process known as hydrogenation. The hydrogenation process is what allows peanut butter to have a longer shelf life. You’re probably already thinking this, but preservatives aren’t necessarily the most healthy and nutritious ingredients. Instead, give your dog a healthy treat like our Venison Jerky!
These fats have been studied by nutritionists and are linked to chronic inflammation which can lead to heart disease and diabetes. It is recommended to inspect the labels on all peanut butter products and to keep an eye out for ‘hydrogenated‘ or ‘partially hydrogenated’ oils and staying clear of these brands. Use our feeding calculator if you want an accurate way to measure the amount your dog should be eating based on its weight/age.
Aflatoxins are mycotoxins produced by mold that can be very toxic to both dogs and humans. Peanuts and peanut butter that do not come from a reliable source or are stored correctly have a higher concentration of aflatoxins. This harmful substance has been linked to causing cancer, impaired immune functions, and gastrointestinal problems.
Surprisingly, peanut butter giants such as Jif, Skippy, and Peter Pan showed to have the lowest concentration of Aflatoxins. Peanut butter that is ‘freshly grounded’ showed to have the highest concentration. The U.S Food and Drug Administration has even set a list of guidelines designed to reduce the number of aflatoxins in peanuts, as they are the United State’s most consumed nut.
Other foods that have a reputation for carrying aflatoxins include corn, dried fruit, wheat, dairy products, and certain spices. These aflatoxins are nearly impossible to escape, but you can help your dog live a happier lifestyle by structuring their diet around minimizing their exposure to aflatoxins. Aflatoxins are nearly harmless in low concentration, but high exposure over a long period could very well lead to underlying health issues.
A biologically appropriate diet for dogs mimics what they would eat if they were in the wild. This diet consists of raw meat and fresh vegetables. The best ingredients for dogs are natural ingredients, no preservatives. This diet is low in carbohydrates and is high in proteins and fat. If your dog is on a biologically appropriate diet, their health will benefit tremendously, straying away from sugars, starches, carbs, and other far from nutritious ingredients! This includes peanut butter. Instead, feed a healthy species-appropriate treat such as raw bones or single-ingredient treats! I think we can all agree that historically dogs did not eat processed peanut butter and that it does not aid their nutritional needs based on their ancestry.
If you are looking to transition your dog into an all-natural /raw dog food diet. I would recommend taking a look here to see which formula best suits your dog.
Read More:Foods Dogs Can Eat
I hope this article has swayed you away from feeding your dog peanut butter! I was once guilty as well of giving my dogs everything they wanted, but sometimes you have to make healthier decisions for them if you truly want to give them all of your love. A good place to start…a raw diet!