Peanut Butter for Dogs. A Sticky Subject

Just a small amount of peanut butter is enough for a LickiMat treat

Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter?
Peanut butter is a very popular treat for dog. It is very widely used on LickiMats as a long lasting treat. Because of its sticky nature it keeps pets busy for quote a while, without having to give too much. It is also perfect as a treat making ingredient. Blended into some yoghurt, smashed banana or pumpkin it makes a great topper and easier to clean that straight peanut butter on a LickiMat.

Speaking of which, one of my tips with peanut butter is to mix a tablespoon in a boiling hot water, say around 1/4 cup. That way it pours on or at least spread on easier and cleans off better too.

And which LickiMat is best with peanut butter? If it's straight peanut butter, then I would suggest LickiMat Soother. With its bristly surface it will make it last longer by only using a spoon or two. Wobble would work well too. If you blend peanut butter with say, smashed banana and the treat is a bit chunkier, then I would recommend LickiMat Buddy or Playdate.

When I use LickiMat Splash with my dog, peanut butter or cream cheese are my go-to items. Stick on well to the natural rubber making bathtime and grooming a bit more pleasurable.

All to often pet owners are confused to whether peanut butter is safe for dogs, or if you should even be using it at all. Here's an article written by a vet. Hopefully it clears up some of your questions.

Peanut butter is among the all-time favorite treats of dogs of all ages. However, just like all treats, peanut butter should be given in moderation. There are also important facts about peanut butter that pet owners should be aware of before being too generous with this mouth-watering treat.
Peanut butter is rich in protein, fats, and vitamins B and E. For dogs, unsalted peanut butter is recommended as high amounts of salt can have negative effects on dogs. Homemade peanut butter  is also a healthy option because these products don’t contain additives like artificial food color, preservatives, and extra sugar.

Although most peanut butter products are safe for dogs, it is still recommended that pet owners should check out the list of ingredients. Some manufacturers are using the sweetener xylitol which is a common sugar-substitute. The ingredient is commonly added to sugar-free products like candies, chewing gum, and baked goodies. While it is safe for humans, xylitol is very toxic to dogs.

Xylitol Alert
Are you aware that the toxic dose of xylitol in dogs is lesser than that of chocolate? When dogs consume xylitol, it triggers a cascade of events that start from the rapid release of insulin to a rapid decrease in the levels of blood sugar. This can lead to hypoglycemia, which can occur within 10-60 minutes after the dog consumes xylitol. Without prompt medical intervention, this situation can be life-threatening.

Your best bet in protecting your pet dog against xylitol toxicity is to make a habit of checking the label of peanut butter products or any other product that may contain xylitol as one of the ingredients. You should also keep products that contain xylitol out of your pet’s reach.
If your pet has eaten food that contains xylitol, call your veterinarian ASAP. Keep a close eye on your pet for any symptoms associated with xylitol toxicity such as collapse, staggering, weakness, in-coordination, and seizures.
Serving suggestion. Mix peanut butter with low fat natural yoghurt

How much peanut butter is OK for dogs?
The exact amount generally varies between dogs and between peanut butter products. Be sure to check out the calorie count that can be found on the product label. For small dogs, the general recommendation should be no more than ½ tablespoon of peanut butter daily; 1 tablespoon is recommended for larger breeds of dogs.

Since peanut butter contains considerable quantities of fats and proteins, excessive consumption can increase your pet’s risk to piling on the pounds. There is also the risk of developing serious health issues like pancreatitis. To be safe, it is recommended that you consult your veterinarian and ask for his advice especially if your dog is suffering from diabetes, pancreatitis, food intolerance, and other health issues.

However, dogs suffering from certain health issues like pancreatitis, or those breeds that are more predisposed to developing pancreatitis should NOT be given peanut butter because the high-fat content can only worsen their condition. Dogs that are overweight or obese, with kidney problems, or are on special diets should not be given peanut butter without consulting your veterinarian.

Dogs enjoying neat peanut butter and peanut and yoghurt blend

How about peanut butter and jelly for dogs?
While peanut butter is generally OK for dogs, jelly is a no-no. Why? Jelly and jam, for that matter, have a lot of sugar and some jelly products contain xylitol. Some types of jelly are also made of fruits that are harmful to dogs, such as grapes. Increased sugar intake can subsequently increase your pet’s risk of become obese or suffering from diabetes.

How to give peanut butter to your dog?
Peanut butter can be given in several ways—let your dog lick it from a spoon or your finger, or spread it on the LickiMat. Your dog will enjoy getting out every last bit of peanut butter from the LickiMat’s surface design.   It will also give your dog minutes of licking pleasure while keeping them occupied for a considerable length of time.

Aflatoxin in peanut butter
Aflatoxin belongs to a group of naturally-occurring mycotoxins that are produced by the fungus Aspergillus. Mycotoxins are among the top carcinogens on earth and they are known to be hepatotoxic, which means they are toxic to the liver. In laboratory animals, aflatoxin has been demonstrated to cause liver cancer, which could also happen to dogs. There are peanut butter products sold in supermarkets and health food stores which have been found to contain high levels of aflatoxins.  The best thing to do  to protect your pet from aflatoxins is to check the list of peanut butter products that have been found to contain the toxic substance.

Written by Merliza Cabriles, General Veterinary Practitioner 

LickiMat Disclaimer
These recipes are not a daily balanced diet. They are not designed to replace a dog’s daily meal. Like all dog treats, serve only as part of a healthy balanced diet. Check with your vet first to ensure these food suggestions are suitable for your pet.

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