Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter? How Much?

Written by Dayva Segal
Updated: August 6, 2022
Image Credit Josfor/Shutterstock.com
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You may be tempted to give your dog some peanut butter as a treat. Humans enjoy it, why wouldn’t dogs? Is it safe to give your dog some peanut butter? In general, yes, peanut butter is safe for dogs, and they love it! There is even a viral video out on the internet showing a smart woman who rubbed peanut butter on her forehead to distract her dog while she cut its nails. But, there are some things you should know about giving your dog peanut butter.

How Much Peanut Butter to Give to Your Dog

The best way to find out how much of this nutritious treat to feed your dog is to call your vet. They will give you a recommendation based on your dog’s breed, size, and health. For example, if your dog is overweight or has diabetes, they may recommend against giving them peanut butter altogether or may recommend giving them a small amount.

If your vet is not available, a general rule to follow is that treats should not account for more than ten percent of your dog’s daily calorie intake. So, the amount will depend on their size. A small dog should eat much less peanut butter than a large dog.

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You should also switch up treats. Don’t give your dog a peanut butter snack every single day. Switch it up with dog treats, fruits and veggies that are safe for dogs, and other snacks.

What Type Of Peanut Butter Is Safe For Dogs?

When choosing a peanut butter for your dog, go with an unsalted option. The high sodium levels in some peanut butter can lead to issues for certain dogs. They even have peanut butter that is specially formulated for dogs that does not have any potentially harmful additives. Another option is to make your own peanut butter at home so you know it does not have much salt or other additives in it.

Some experts believe that crunchy peanut butter can be a choking hazard for dogs, so they recommend using creamy instead. All peanut butter has nutrients like vitamin E and vitamin B, plus plenty of healthy fats that can make your dog’s coat shine. So, it can be part of a healthy doggy diet.

Whatever type of peanut butter you give your dog, make sure it does not contain xylitol. This is an artificial sweetener that is incredibly harmful to dogs. People have started using it as a sweetener because it has fewer calories than sugar. However, in dogs, it causes them to release too much insulin at once, in turn causing blood sugar levels to plummet.

Xylitol is also common in sugar-free candy, sugar-free gum, toothpaste, protein powders, and vitamins. Anything containing xylitol should be kept out of your dog’s reach.

If you suspect your dog has gotten into some xylitol, call your vet immediately. The symptoms of xylitol poisoning in dogs include:

  • Weakness
  • Fainting or collapsing
  • Staggering
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Seizures

Another thing to watch for with peanut butter is peanut allergies. It is rare, but some dogs are allergic. If your dog has hair loss, digestive issues or skin irritation, a trip to the vet to confirm an allergy, and an allergy-safe dog food may be needed.

Some peanut butter also contains chocolate, another big no-no substance for dogs. If your dog eats a tiny amount of chocolate, it will likely be fine, especially if they are a larger dog. However, if they eat a significant amount it can be toxic and cause symptoms including:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • High heart rate
  • Collapse
  • Tremors
  • Increased urinating

So, avoid giving your dog peanut butter with chocolate in it and keep all chocolate out of reach of dogs.

German Shepherd with peanut butter on its nose
Xylitol, a common additive in peanut butter, is extremely toxic to dogs

Sharon Snider/Shutterstock.com

Can You Give Peanut Butter To Puppies?

Some experts say you can give a puppy as young as six weeks a tiny taste of peanut butter. However, don’t give them too much at this young stage because their digestive systems may have a hard time digesting the oils. Once they are eight weeks old, experts say peanut butter can be a great treat to use as part of positive reinforcement training.

However, the sugars in peanut butter can make a puppy hyper. It’s normal for them to be excited when they see a peanut butter treat, but if they get too hyper afterward you may want to curb their peanut butter habits.

How to Give Your Dog Peanut Butter

There are many options for helping your pup to enjoy a peanut butter treat. Try each one to find out the most fun and engaging way for your furry friend.

  • Put some on a spoon and let them lick it off.
  • Let them lick a little off of your finger.
  • Spread it in a hollow bone or inside a hollow toy. You can also fill a hollow toy with dog food and use peanut butter to cover the opening to make it more interesting.
  • Make homemade dog treats with two cups of flour, two tablespoons of peanut butter, and 12 ounces of plain unsweetened yogurt. Mix the ingredients together and form them into balls. Bake them for 20 minutes at 350 degrees and let them cool before feeding to your dog.
  • If you need to give your dog medication, peanut butter is the perfect vehicle. Just tuck a pill into some peanut butter on a spoon and have your dog lick it off.
  • Have a tiny bit of peanut butter left in the jar and you can’t scrape it out? Your dog will be happy to finish the job for you.
A French Bulldog licking spoon
Once you’ve found a dog-safe peanut butter, you can feed it to your pup straight off a spoon!

yhelfman/Shutterstock.com

Give a Peanut Butter Treat

Yes, it is safe to give your dog peanut butter as a treat. However, if they get into something they shouldn’t have and end up eating too much peanut butter, your dog can still get sick, just like humans can get sick if they eat too much of the wrong food. Eating too much peanut butter can result in doggy diarrhea, especially in puppies. So, don’t leave the peanut butter open where they can reach it. Just give them a bit as a reward for good behavior or a special occasion.

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About the Author

I'm a freelance writer who has been working in the field of content creation and digital marketing for more than seven years. My favorite topics to write about include health, animals, fitness, and nutrition, though as a professional content provider and ghostwriter, I can easily write about pretty much anything! I love all animals and have been some form of vegetarian or vegan for over 10 years. My favorite animals are cats, dogs, and chickens, especially my own cat, Tula.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter?

In general, yes, peanut butter is safe for dogs, and they love it!

How Much Peanut Butter to Give Your Dog?

The best way to find out how much of this nutritious treat to feed your dog is to call your vet. They will give you a recommendation based on your dog’s breed, size, and health. For example, if your dog is overweight or has diabetes, they may recommend against giving them peanut butter altogether or may recommend giving them a small amount.

If your vet is not available, a general rule to follow is that treats should not account for more than ten percent of your dog’s daily calorie intake. So, the amount will depend on their size. A small dog should eat much less peanut butter than a large dog.

Can You Give Peanut Butter to Puppies?

Some experts say you can give a puppy as young as six weeks a tiny taste of peanut butter. However, don’t give them too much at this young stage because their digestive systems may have a hard time digesting the oils. Once they are eight weeks old, experts say peanut butter can be a great treat to use as part of positive reinforcement training.

How to Give Your Dog Peanut Butter

There are many options for helping your pup to enjoy a peanut butter treat. Try each one to find out the most fun and engaging way for your furry friend.

  • Put some on a spoon and let them lick it off.
  • Let them lick a little off of your finger.
  • Spread it in a hollow bone or inside a hollow toy. You can also fill a hollow toy with dog food and use peanut butter to cover the opening to make it more interesting.
  • Make homemade dog treats with two cups of flour, two tablespoons of peanut butter, and 12 ounces of plain unsweetened yogurt. Mix the ingredients together and form them into balls. Bake them for 20 minutes at 350 degrees and let them cool before feeding to your dog.
  • If you need to give your dog medication, peanut butter is the perfect vehicle. Just tuck a pill into some peanut butter on a spoon and have your dog lick it off.
  • Have a tiny bit of peanut butter left in the jar and you can’t scrape it out? Your dog will be happy to finish the job for you.