When it comes to one particularly versatile type of human food, nothing comes close to peanut butter. Dogs love it, and even some cats like it! There are so many ways to use peanut butter in the pet world, but there are also a few points to consider before reaching for it.
How to give pets peanut butter
One way to keep dogs busy in their crates is to place peanut butter inside a fillable toy, and your dog will be entertained for a while.
Peanut butter is also a great tool for any training that benefits from a yummy reward. It may be easiest to place a small amount of peanut butter on a spoon.
Peanut butter can be used to disguise pills for an easier way to deliver medication to your pet.
Why some peanut butter is bad for dogs
In our never-ending quest for “healthy” human products, sometimes we make changes to ingredients that aren’t so good for our dogs. For example, the addition of the sugar substitute xylitol to candies, gum and, now, peanut butter.
Xylitol is perfectly safe for human consumption, but it is without a doubt unsafe for dogs. Dogs who have gotten into gum containing this sugar substitute have been getting sick for years. But the addition of xylitol to a food we give our pets so often can only spell trouble.
Xylitol toxicity can cause low blood sugar in dogs in the short term, and in the long term, it can cause liver failure. Both of these conditions can easily be fatal, and both will rack up some pretty serious veterinary bills, though luckily they can be covered by pet insurance.
So far, xylitol has not been used in mainstream peanut butters, but a handful of specialty peanut butter makers have added it to the mix. Be sure to check the ingredients on your jar before you use it for training or treats for your pet. If it contains xylitol, leave it on the shelf.
The same thing goes for many sugar-free human foods and treats. Always check the label, and if xylitol is in the ingredients list, keep it well away from pets. Resourceful dogs are quick to search purses for gum, or jump up on counters or rummage through the trash can. There is no limit to the lengths some pets will go through for a treat. But when that treat contains xylitol, it could be deadly, even in low doses.
Peanut butter is fine to give to your dog in most cases. Because of its high-fat content, dogs who have had pancreatitis should probably avoid peanut butter, as should dogs who are on an elimination diet for allergy purposes. But when it is safe and xylitol-free, your dog will love you for it. Check the ingredients first and talk to your veterinarian before you give your pet anything new to eat, including peanut butter.
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