Peanut Butter Safety for Dogs

  Posted on 1/23/2024
Peanut butter has long been a beloved treat for dogs. Its creamy texture and rich flavor make it an irresistible reward during training sessions however, it's important to understand that not all peanut butter is safe for our dogs.

Let's look at the risks associated with peanut butter for dogs and tips to ensure their safety and well-being.
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While peanut butter can be a tasty and nutritious treat, it's crucial to be aware of certain risks that can arise
from consuming the wrong kind. Some commercial peanut butter brands may contain toxic ingredients such as
artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and excessive salt. These can be harmful to dogs and may lead to
digestive issues or even more severe health complications.
One specific ingredient to be cautious about is xylitol. Xylitol is a sugar substitute found in some peanut butter brands and is highly toxic to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause a rapid release of insulin in their bodies, leading to dangerously low blood sugar levels and potential liver damage.
Salt is often used as a preservative or flavor enhancer in prepared foods. Some sodium is necessary in our dogs' diets but with the addition of commercial dog treats, sodium levels could exceed daily recommendations. We discovered that some brands of salted natural or organic peanut butter keep their sodium levels at about 3 % per serving. Comparing this amount of sodium to what could be added to a homemade dog cookie recipe (for example: 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt), the peanut butter with added salt actually contains much less sodium per dog cookie than if salt is added to the recipe.
Moderation and Portion Control
As with any treat, moderation is key. While peanut butter can be a tasty treat for your dog, it's important to keep portion sizes in check. Consider your dog's size, age, and
overall health when determining the appropriate amount. Too much peanut butter can lead to weight gain although likely to be very well tolerated by most dogs.
Other Nut Butters and Alternatives
Peanut butter is the safest and most gut friendly of nut butters although smooth peanut butter should be used in place of crunchy. Nut by themselves can be hard to digest. While nut butters such as almond and cashew are relatively safe in small quantities, they can still create digestive upset or more serious concerns due to the high fat content of nuts such as cashews. Other nuts like pistachios, walnuts, pecans and macadamias are not safe to feed to dogs and should be avoided.

While peanut butter is a popular choice, there are other dog-friendly spreads and treats available that can provide a change of pace. Consider alternatives like pumpkin puree or mashed banana, which offer similar textures and be flavorful. Just be sure to avoid any foods that are toxic to dogs, such as chocolate, grapes, or raisins.
Another way to add variety is by exploring different flavors and textures of peanut butter. Many brands now offer peanut butter blends that incorporate fruits, vegetables, or even yogurt. These options can provide added nutritional benefits and make treat time more exciting.
Considering homemade dog treats? Check out this simple recipe for something extra special for your special canine friend.

Peanut Butter Dog Cookies
Makes 48 -50 cookies
An easy, inexpensive and tasty alternative to store bought dog biscuits.
3 cups of old-fashioned oats
1 very ripe large banana
1 /3 cup smooth peanut butter (3 % or less salt is ok)
1 large egg
1 Tablespoon honey
1 cookie cutter (I used a 3" bone shaped cutter)
Set oven temperature to 350 degrees. Prepare two large metal baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a food processor or blender, pulse oats until they have reached a flour consistency. This might take a minute or two. In a separate medium bowl, mash banana then add remaining wet ingredients and mix well. Add in the old-fashioned oats and mix together until all are incorporated. The dough will feel heavy to stir. But if the dough looks too dry, you can mix in a tablespoon of water. Turn out half the dough onto a lightly floured counter top and roll out as best as you can to 1/8th inch. If you roll them thicker, they will be a softer cookie. Once you have all you cookies cut, place baking sheets on middle rack and bake for 20 minutes.
If you want a crunchier cookie, you can turn off the oven at end of 20-minute bake and leave the oven door cracked open with the tray inside for an additional 20-30min.
Can be stored in an air tight container at room temperature for 5 days.

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