Can my dog eat peanut butter? (Benefits and Side Effects)

I am happy to say that eating peanut butter is okay for your dog’s diet. Of course, too much of a good thing, such as peanut butter, should be given in small amounts. It’s always a good idea to check with your vet to be sure your dog does not have health problems or stomach issues. Checking will help make sure your dog does not have adverse reactions, such as constipation, to eating peanut butter. Small dogs can also sometimes have a difficult time tolerating table food because it’s hard on their digestive tract. As always, even with a healthy dog, be mindful of giving new foods.

Peanut butter was a human food that Wes loved. But he had a hard time tolerating any human food as he got older. Be mindful of your dog’s reaction to not only peanut butter but any human foods as well.

The good and the bad of peanut butter

Be mindful that peanut butter can sometimes cause constipation or weight gain in dogs. It also depends on what is in the peanut butter, so it’s important to read the ingredients list. You would be surprised to find that a lot of popular peanut butter has more than just peanuts in it. Added artificial sweeteners, added sugar, too much fiber, or any filler ingredient, like soy, can have a negative effect. Choosing a natural peanut butter, unsalted peanut butter, specific dog peanut butter, or homemade peanut butter is the best way to go.

Lastly and luckily, there are some benefits of peanut butter. Peanut butter is usually a favorite dog treat so as dog owners, we love that it can be a healthy treat too. Peanut butter has a number of vitamins and proteins in it. It also can be a great way to motivate your dog in their behavioral training as well as possibly take the pills they don’t like to take on their own.

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If your dog consumes a large amount of peanut butter on a regular basis, you may end up having a constipated dog on your hands. Like with humans, if your dog has had infrequent bowel movements in the last few days then it’s possible your dog’s digestive system might be having a negative reaction to the peanut butter you gave them. And Mild constipation is one of the most common digestive issues with dogs. Dogs of any age or breed can experience constipation. And many times it’s associated with a certain food you have given your dog. If you notice any sudden change in your dog following peanut butter or any food for that matter, be sure to monitor them and reach out to your vet to be sure there aren’t any serious health issues.

If you give your dog large amounts of peanut butter (more than 2 tablespoons each day), you might want to cut it back. Especially if you notice an increase in their weight, lethargy, or your dog has diarrhea. 

If your dog is not wanting to eat their regular food (whether that is raw food or dry dog food), it is also a good time to cut back on the peanut butter for treats in general. It’s important that your dog is receiving the required vitamins, protein, and minerals for their immunity, muscle and joint support, and energy. Peanut butter, although very tasty and high in healthy fats and protein, won’t provide your dog with everything they need to stay healthy and strong. 

4 dogs running in a field

How can I help my dog and its upset stomach?

If you know that eating too much peanut butter is the reason your dog has an upset stomach then there are some home remedies you can try to comfort your dog. Canned pumpkin and green beans are two foods that you may have in your home that is usually safe for your dog to take and will calm their tummy down. And of course, cut out peanut butter from their diet.

If you have any concerns or your dog’s tummy symptoms continue for more than a day or two, please reach out to your vet. It’s always best to err on the side of caution with our dogs since they can’t communicate verbally with us. Taking your dog in for a quick physical exam to be sure the tummy issues are not serious, will allow you and your dog to rest easy. 

Is peanut butter good for dogs (benefits)

The good news, a little bit of peanut butter can be a great treat for your dogs. As mentioned before, giving peanut butter in moderation to your dog does have a few great benefits.

Benefits include:

Helps dogs take their pills

Wes HATED taking pills. Even his monthly dose of tick/flea meds was difficult for him to consume. We would have to chop the pill up and mix it with peanut butter for him to take it. We only gave him about a teaspoon of peanut butter with the pill, but it always did the trick. If your dog is having difficulty with taking pills of any kind, peanut butter can help the medicine go down!

Weight Gain

Some dogs are overweight and in these cases, peanut butter should only be given as an occasional treat. There are some dogs though that are malnourished or who have difficulty keeping their weight up to other health conditions. Talk to your vet to see if a tablespoon of peanut butter can help with their weight management and overall health.

Antioxidants, Vitamins, and Minerals

Although your dog should still eat their dog food daily, peanut butter also contains Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Zinc, Iron, and fatty acids. Always check the peanut butter nutritional label for the full list of nutrients in the peanut butter you are giving your dog.

Great for dog toys

Dogs require mental stimulation and play. There are a lot of toys on the market such as this one that you put peanut butter in. Wes loved this toy and he would play with it for at least 25 minutes trying to lick all the peanut butter out. If your dog seems bored or needs to exert some energy. Grabbing a toy/interactive feeder like the one here in this link and putting peanut butter in it, could help your excited furry friend out.

1 dog running in a field with flowers

What is the best peanut butter to give your dog?

It’s important to read the ingredients of the peanut butter you are giving your dog. As we all know, labels can be deceiving, so reading ingredients will help make sure your dog does not get that upset tummy from a bad ingredient.

One of those not-so-great ingredients is xylitol. It’s a sugar substitute that dogs should avoid at all costs. I’m very serious about this, as this ingredient can cause death in dogs. Please read the FDA’s warning about this ingredient for dogs. It is okay for humans, but never for dogs. Honestly, I can’t think of many ingredients that start with an x that would be good for anyone!

Be mindful of the branding and marketing of some peanut butter jars as well. Just because it says “All natural” or “healthy”, we should all know by now that it doesn’t necessarily mean safe or the best for our furry friends. 

My rule for peanut butter, with Wes and even with my kiddos is that I like to see 1-2  ingredients on the nutrition label. It should only say “Peanuts” and maybe sometimes palm oil or salt. If it has additional ingredients in it, I start to question just how healthy or good that peanut butter is for not only my kiddos but my dog too.

Below you can find a list of amazing-tasting peanut butter according to me, my kids, and of course Wes! Plus, they all contain 1-2 ingredients and can be found on Amazon!

Option 1: Justin’s Peanut Butter

Ingredients: Peanuts and Palm Oil

Price: about $7

Where to find: On Amazon here and most Targets and Local Grocery Stores

*My favorite because you don’t have to refrigerate it and you don’t have to stir it 

Option 2: 365 (Whole Foods) Creamy Peanut Butter

Ingredients: Peanuts and Salt

Price: about  $4

Where to find: On Amazon here or at your local Whole Food Store

Option 3: Santa Cruz Organic Peanut Butter

Ingredients: Peanuts and Salt

Price: about $7

Where to find: On Amazon here or in most local grocery stores or Whole Foods

Option 4: Crazy Richard’s Peanut Butter

Ingredients: Peanuts

Price: about $7

Where to find: On Amazon here

Option 5: Kirkland Organic Peanut Butter

Ingredients: Peanuts

Price: about $10 per jar

Where to find: On Amazon here as a 3 pack or at your local Costco store

What about Jiffy and Skippy?

Some might be wondering where the big-name brands like Jiffy and Skippy are on my list. Now, these were peanut butter brands that I ate all the time growing up. Honestly, I still eat them sometimes and they are very yummy. But these brands tend to have more than 1-2 ingredients and filler ingredients such as soy. So, in my opinion, when giving your dog human food it’s always best to pick one with limited filler ingredients. Having a dog with an upset stomach, constipation, or who gains weight is never ideal. Weight gain can lead to other health issues and we want to keep our dogs healthy for as long as possible.

corgi running on pavement

Peanut butter is okay for most dogs in small quantities

Although peanut butter is a fun treat for our dogs, we should be cautious about how much our dogs are consuming on a daily basis. Peanut butter is a great and fun treat to give, but probably not ideal all the time. It’s great for pill giving, gaining weight, and a fun treat to put in toys. Just be mindful of any differences you notice in your dog and be sure to talk to your vet if you have any concerns. Always give your dog fresh water after peanut butter so it’s not sticking to the roof of its mouth!

Also, almond butter is mostly okay for dogs as well. Be sure your dog does not have any food allergies, sometimes almonds don’t sit well in your dog’s stomach. And just like peanut butter, check for added sugars or other ingredients that are difficult to spell or say. There are many other nut butter out in stores these days, just confirm with your vet

Another fun treat that Wes LOVED and I bet your dog will too is peanut butter on banana slices! Comment below and let me know what kinds of peanut butter you give your dog!

Disclaimer: Always check with your vet if you have any concerns about giving your dog peanut butter or any other food