As pet parents, we love to watch our furry best friend smack his or her lips over and over after a peanut butter snack. While peanut butter can be a great source of protein, healthy fats, vitamins B and E and niacin, there are a few things you need to know before giving Fido that tasty treat.
While most peanut butter is safe for dogs to eat, some can be deadly. Some peanut butter manufacturers have switched to using an “all-natural” sugar-substitute, xylitol. Xylitol is usually found in in sugar-free products we use everyday such as chewing gum, toothpaste, breath mints, chewable vitamins and baked goods. It is safe for people, but toxic to Fido (even in small amounts).
Xylitol causes a rapid release of insulin in dogs, which results in an equally rapid and profound decrease in blood sugar levels, and can be life threatening if left untreated. This condition is scientifically known as hypoglycemia, and can occur as quickly as 10-to-60 minutes after eating xylitol. Symptoms of xylitol poisoning are weakness, collapse, staggering, lack of coordination, and seizures.
The healthiest option for Fido is unsalted or homemade peanut butter. High sodium levels can be problematic for dogs, and homemade peanut butters do not contain extra sugar and other additives. If you have a food processor at home you can whip up Fido his own personal peanut butter in a few quick steps.
Peanut Butter Recipe for Dogs
- Roast 1/4-1/3 cup peanuts until lightly brown, or unsalted pre-roasted
- Using a food processor or blender whip until smooth
- Add a little oil for desired consistency
- You can use animal based oils, such as fish oil
- Vegetable, peanut, olive or coconut oil are also great options
If peanuts aren’t really your thing, almond butter is fine for dogs, as is cashew butter. Keep in mind, cashews are fattier than peanuts and almonds, moderation is key.
Don’t give Nutella to your dog. Nutella contains a small amount of cocoa powder; i.e., chocolate, which is toxic to dogs in large enough quantities.