Most puppies and dogs love peanut butter. Dolly loves it, although it does make me giggle when she gets a bit stuck in the roof of her mouth and keep licking at it. But how old does your puppy need to be before you can let them try peanut butter?
Puppies as young as 6 weeks old can eat peanut butter in moderation. 8-week old puppies can enjoy a small amount of xylitol free peanut butter as a reward for good behaviour.
Peanut butter has become a common tool for dog owners that want to bribe their animal into doing something they hate. I bet you’ve not escaped the viral video of the woman who put peanut butter on her forehead for her dog to lick as a distraction while their owner cuts their nails? It is an interesting tactic but it gets results.
Peanut butter is easy to use and accessible. But, is there a risk that we’re overusing it as a treat and ignoring some risk factors. Could it actually be dangerous to our puppies?
You have to look into finding the very best kinds of peanut butter that are safe for consumption. Some brands contain dangerous ingredients. Also, make sure it is just a small and occasional treat for your puppy to avoid potential health issues down the line. You don’t want to have issues with weight gain or spells of diarrhoea.
Peanut butter can be offered at 6 weeks in tiny amounts
You don’t want to give puppies peanut butter any time before they are 6 weeks old. Waiting even longer until they are more developed is a better idea because of the oils and proteins in the butter can be hard to digest. At 6 weeks old, your pup should be weaned and able to handle solid foods so a little peanut butter treat now and then won’t do much harm. But, it is important that this really is just a small amount and that your dog doesn’t eat the wrong kind.
Peanut butter with xylitol, chocolate or crunchy is not safe safe for puppies
If you do decide to use peanut butter as a treat for your dog when they are old enough, it is vital that you get a kind that is completely safe for them to eat. They can’t lick any old product off of a treat – or your head – as some may contain problematic ingredients. Watch out for the following when you next purchase peanut butter.
Not all peanut butter types are safe. Check the ingredients list for Xylitol and Chocolate which is toxic to dogs.
Peanut butter with xylitol.
This is the worst type of peanut butter that you can get for dogs. Xylitol is toxic to dogs. Unfortunately, this artificial sweetener is used in some brands to help lower the sugar content. This might be fine for humans, many of which can’t tell the difference, but you could end up putting your dog at risk.
Peanut butter with chocolate.
While this may be a must-have item in some food cupboards, it is not safe for dogs. Again, there is a toxicity issue with the chocolate content of this product. There may only be a small amount in each jar, and then a small amount on the spoon, but you don’t want to run the risk of your dog getting ill. Remember that it doesn’t take much chocolate for small dogs to get sick and it could kill them. There is no point in putting your puppy in that situation.
Crunchy peanut butter
This one isn’t as big an issue when it comes to the ingredients used. Instead, you might want to think about the size of the chunks in the peanut butter. Small dogs that wolf this down enthusiastically might not think to crunch up the chunks before swallowing. Small breeds and puppies are at greater risk of choking on the chunks, especially if they aren’t expecting them. A smooth version might be a better choice.
While some owners may groan that they can’t use some of these products, or need to start checking the ingredient on the back of the bottle, it is better to be safe than sorry. If you buy a product that is completely safe to eat, you can be sure that your kids won’t get in trouble if they use it for a dog treat by mistake. If you don’t want to give up on having chocolate peanut butter in the house, make sure it is completely out of the dog’s reach and that you label it as not safe for them to eat.
Moderation is key, whichever safe version you end up using.
Peanut butter should not be fed to puppies every day
You can’t use peanut butter as a daily treat, especially when your dog is very young. Puppies have sensitive digestive systems and slowly build up tolerances to different foods. The protein and the fat in this treat aren’t great in large amounts.
This is also true for older dogs that would lick a whole jar clean if they could. It is also important to remember that too much peanut butter could also contribute to obesity and diseases of the pancreas.
So, make note of how much your pet gets and ensure that other family members do the same. It is important that you stay on top of this to provide consistency and to avoid health issues. For example, you may have a pup that loves to beg for food and has a tendency towards overeating. This could lead to overconsumption through lots of small amounts.
Kids that don’t know any better could offer a spoon of peanut butter if they aren’t informed of the consequences. Also, make sure to tell your partner if you give the dog a peanut butter treat so that they know not to do the same that day.
How to feed peanut butter to your puppy
If you do decide to use peanut butter as a dog treat, there are different ways you can do this. A popular option is to spread some of the butter into a Kong toy. This gives smart and energetic pups a tasty reward and a way to burn off some energy. The consistency and stickiness of the butter make it perfect.
Some owners that love to bake will also use peanut butter in home-made dog treats. This can be a lot of fun for the whole family to get involved in.
Or, if there is a tiny bit in a jar that you just can’t scrape out, you can always let your dog lick it out. The great thing about peanut butter is that it is so versatile and easy to use that you can get creative.
What should you do if you think your puppy has eaten too much peanut butter or the wrong kind?
If you have any concerns about the amount of peanut butter your dog has eaten, take them to see a vet. This is essential if you think that they have eaten any chocolate or Xylitol. Dogs that gorge on the normal kind may also show signs of gastric discomfort, so your vet can help there too. Your vet should also be able to advise you on some other healthy ways to use peanut butter, some of the safest brands, or any alternatives if you decide that peanut butter isn’t for you.
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FAQs – Puppies and peanut butter
Could peanut butter give my puppy diarrhea?
Yes, there is the risk of dogs getting diarrhea from eating too much peanut butter. Excessive consumption of a lot of rich human foods isn’t good for a dog’s digestive system. They can easily end up with loose stools and an upset stomach.
Is there any risk of my puppy being allergic to peanut butter?
There is the possibility that your dog could react to peanuts. That is another reason why it is so important to test a little bit of peanut butter on puppies first. If they end up with red and itchy skin or struggle to breathe, it could be an allergic reaction.
Can peanut butter make my puppy hyper?
The question here is whether your puppy seems more excitable because they are in the process of eating a peanut butter treat, or if they seem hyper after eating the treat. Excitability is fine. You want to elicit that feeling of joy in your dog so they associate the tasty treat with a fun experience. They can jump around, bark in appreciation, wag their tails and then gobble up the butter. The problem comes when they continue to be this hyper later on. This is possible if they eat too much because of the sugar content in these products.
How much peanut butter should I put in my puppy’s Kong?
Put no more than 10% of peanut butter in your puppy’s kong or stuffable toy. Peanut butter makes a good plug to cover the opening. Stuff the rest of the kong with puppy kibble.
It is safe to offer a little bit of peanut butter to puppies from the age of 6 weeks. When you do so, try and make sure that it is a small amount so that there aren’t any unnecessary health implications. Also, try and get a product that doesn’t contain xylitol or chocolate. This can be a fun little treat on special occasions, but that is all.