Most of us enjoy peanut butter. We use it to make sandwiches, cookies, pies, sauces, and more.
We know our canine companions enjoy it too. They like it straight from the jar- just like some of us- or made into treats.
It’s okay and even healthy to let our dogs share our “people food” with us, but it does require some extra work on our part.
Foods made for humans can contain fillers, added sugars and fats, artificial sweeteners, and even artificial flavours. Not all of these are safe for dogs to eat.
You’ll need to read the ingredients list to see if the jar you’re going to buy is safe for your dog.
We know this can be overwhelming, so we’re here to walk you through it. We’ll go over what needs to be avoided and what makes a specific peanut butter a better option when compared with another variety.
Ingredients to Avoid in Peanut Butter
There are a lot of ingredients in our everyday food that are safe for us, but not our dogs. Peanut butter is no exception to this rule.
Most peanut butters are pretty natural with a minimum number of ingredients, but cheap brands can contain fillers and not the greatest ingredients out there.
They can be filled with preservatives and artificial ingredients that can make your dog ill. You’ll need to avoid these for their health and well being, so let’s take a look at what your dog should be avoiding and why.
This sweetener may also be listed as wood sugar, burch sugar, or birch bark extract. It is naturally occurring and is often used as a sugar substitute, but just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it is safe for your dog or good for them.
It can lead to health complications such as low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure, and even death. It can take less than 0.1g per kilogram of bodyweight to bring this on.
It is a must that this sweetener be avoided in peanut butter and any food you and your dog share.
Mono and Diglycerides
These are used as an emulsifier. They’re what keeps the oil from separating out of the rest of the butter. They are also used as a preservative and to improve texture.
They are a form of fat, so they aren’t particularly healthy for humans in large quantities either.
These additives can lead to weight gain for your dog as well as heart health problems. Dogs in general are much smaller than us and their body processes things differently, so it takes less to be unhealthy for them.
Sodium Benzoate is a preservative used to extend shelf life.
While it is safe for humans to consume, it is not safe for dogs.
When mixed with other common ingredients such as citric acid or ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), it becomes a new compound known as benzene.
Benzene has been linked to blood disorders and cancer.
So while it may be safe on its own, you never know when something has been cross contaminated. It’s better to be safe than sorry and avoid it all together.
These fats are used as a stabiliser and help to keep the peanut butter from separating.
In small amounts, they most likely aren’t a big issue, but you should still be careful.
Hydrogenated oils are fats, so they can lead to weight gain and inflammation for your dog.
Not only that, but certain oils in hydrogenated form such as palm oil can have a laxative effect.
You know added sugar is bad for you, but it’s also bad for your dog.
It can cause stomach upset, gas, bloating, vomiting, and diarrhoea because it imbalances their gut.
Consumed more regularly, extra sugar can lead to things like weight gain, organ damage, and even metabolic disorders for your dog. So, it’s best to skip out on the extra sugar.
Be careful though! You should read every label carefully. Products labelled as “sugar free” can have artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes such as xylitol.
Items labelled as “no sugar added” should be free of any added sugars whether artificial or natural, but double check the ingredients list just to be sure.
Salt looks harmless on the surface. Afterall, it’s naturally occurring and in a lot of food, right?
Did you know that in large enough quantities it can be toxic to your dog? It takes about 4g per kilogram of bodyweight to cause toxicity. In high enough doses, it warrants a trip to the vet.
Even in lower amounts, it’s not great for your canine companion.
It can cause stomach upset, vomiting, and even dehydration.
Peanut Butter Brands to Avoid
The following brands of peanut butter contain xylitol and should be avoided all together. No one wants to make their dogs sick while giving them a treat.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. You always need to check the label just in case:
Go Nutts, Co.
Nuts ‘m More
Nutty By Nature
These brands don’t contain xylitol, but contain other ingredients that aren’t so great for your dog. A little bit may not hurt them, but they aren’t the best treat out there and they could cause issues in the long run:
The Best Peanut Butter for Dogs
Peanut butter is a great source of protein and healthy fats as long as the above ingredients are avoided. It’s a great treat that your dog will love and can be given in moderation.
The best peanut butter for your dog is one with limited ingredients. You’ll find a lot of brands out there with only peanuts on the ingredient list.
Those are the brands you want to purchase for your dog.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are some brands that offer peanut butter with zero additives:
You can even make your own! It’s so easy.
All you need are peanuts and a food processor.
You can purchase either raw or unsalted, roasted peanuts from the store for this.
If you purchase raw peanuts, you’ll need to roast them yourself in the oven. Other than that, just shell them, get the paper off, and run them through the food processor to get your desired consistency.
You’ll know exactly what is in your peanut butter this way.
Don’t forget to put it in a jar and refrigerate it though. All of the above will need to be placed in the fridge for storage as they don’t contain preservatives.
Benefits of Peanut Butter
Along with being a fun treat to stuff in your dog’s favourite Fenrir Hammer, peanut butter has some great health benefits!
High in Protein
Most peanut butter contains around 25% protein making it an amazing snack for your dog.
Proteins help support a healthy immune system, cell repair, and creation of enzymes in the body.
High in Fibre
Fibre is important for keeping your dog’s digestive system running smoothly. It helps prevent both constipation and diarrhoea.
Certain fibre also gets broken down into fatty acids that support colon health.
High in Healthy Fats
Fatty acids and health fats are still fats and should be enjoyed in moderation, but they still have many health benefits.
They help support healthy skin and coat as well as promote growth and support the immune system.
High in Vitamins
Peanut butter is an amazing source of vitamins. You’ll find B vitamins as well as vitamin E.
Vitamin B3 (niacin) supports metabolism of fatty acids and brian function.
Vitamin B7 (biotin) is good for the skin coat and nails.
Vitamin B9 (folic acid) helps in red blood cell production and DNA synthesis when cells split.
Vitamin E is good for the eyes, muscles, and skin. Some studies show that it may even help to prevent arthritis.
High in Minerals
Peanut butter also contains several important minerals.
Magnesium makes energy production easier and helps to fight free radicals in the body.
Manganese helps your dog to metabolise carbs and protein for energy production.
Phosphorus works in tandem with calcium to improve bone and teeth health.
With all of the dog friendly choices and health benefits, what’s not to love about peanut butter?
It’s a healthy and fun snack that can be used for interactive toys, in treats, and to hide medication for our more stubborn canine companions.
Do you already use it to stuff your Fenrir Hammer or would you like to give it a try? We’d love to hear all about the creative things you use peanut butter for.
So, hop on over to our social media and tell us all about it!