Peanut butter is one of the most fun things you can give your dog. From the owner’s perspective, it can be sort of fun to watch a dog try to get all of the peanut butter, where it easily sticks to the rood of their mouths.
For the dog, the simple spread is not only a great-tasting treat but is also full of all of the nutrients and fiber that they need for good health. However, there are some peanut butters that can threaten their life; the sweetener xylitol can induce hypoglycemia in dogs, making it important for owners to be very careful about the spreads they choose for their pets.
What Makes Peanut Butter Good For Dogs?
At its most basic, peanuts are roasted and mashed to obtain the paste; peanut oil is the remainder of the process. A little salt is then added for flavor and preservation, and the end product is usually jarred for later use. Modern techniques can make the spread a little creamier and easier to spread, and peanuts can be added to the spread to shift it from “smooth” to “crunchy”. The spread has been a favorite since the Aztecs and Incas; George Washington Carver may have extolled its virtues but it was Marcellus Gilmore Edson who received the patent for the paste in 1884.
Peanut butter itself is full of nutrients. The spread is ridiculously well-rounded, providing a wide range of nutrients. That range starts with protein and fiber, but it also has folic acid to promote cell growth and magnesium to help cells metabolize B complex vitamins. It also provides a wide range of vitamins to keep your dog healthy and looking good. For those looking for a protein substitute to take the place of meat, peanut butter makes for a welcome choice, especially as it can be made almost purely out of peanuts and does not require a lot of equipment to make.
What Is The Downside?
Peanut butter, even that offered by a wide range of store brands, has no real downside. Some dogs are allergic to peanuts, and so that needs to be watched for; if a dog shows signs of discomfort or skin problems, then you should stop giving them peanuts. The fats in peanut butter can also present a problem for dogs as well; this can most often result in diarrhea if the dog is getting too much of the spread for the dog. Compared to other snacks that a dog may be offered by its owner, it is one of the safer snacks.
However, owners need to pay special attention to the ingredients section. Xylitol is an unfortunately common additive to peanut butter to make it sweeter; while humans have no problems eating it, it can cause hypoglycemia in dogs. In humans and dogs, blood sugar levels are controlled by the release of insulin from the pancreas; while insulin is generally a good thing, if there is no sugar in the system then the release of insulin can lower blood sugar levels dangerously, possibly putting the dog in a coma or killing it. Xylitol can create such an issue within 10 to 60 minutes, making it something dogs need to avoid.
But What About Palm Oil?
A number of peanut butters do contain palm oil. While it is problematic for those trying to limit foods to those with ecologically sound ingredients, palm oil in and of itself can be okay for canines. Generally, in the amount used, palm oil can be good for brain and heart health, as well as help ensure that the coat is shiny and soft; it can also help with dry or flaking skin. It also has antioxidants that protect against signs of aging, such as arthritis. However, if too much is used it can act as a laxative and cause various forms of indigestion.
It should be noted that some manufacturers use sustainable palm oil, so do some research for companies that use the product.
What Can Peanut Butter Be Used For?
Besides a really nice snack and a potential meat substitute, peanut butter has a number of options for dog owners. It can also be used to hide pills as the taste and smell hide most pills from the sharp senses of the dog’s nose, allowing the owner to sneak in pills no matter how skeptical the dog is. Lastly, and this is mostly for the owner’s benefit, the peanut butter sticks to the roof of the canine, providing some amusement watching it try to remove the sticky paste. For those looking for a great reward for obedience, peanut provides a near-ideal snack.
It can also provide ample distraction if used correctly, making it great to use when the dog is getting a trim or having its nails cut. For those who have a problem getting the dog into a tub for washing, you can spread some peanut butter on the tiles; the dog will go in to get the peanut butter and then you can trap it there for the bath. For an owner looking for a way to get a dog into an area that the dog may be hesitant to get into, peanut butter provides an excellent way to accomplish that, especially if the brand is the dog’s favorite.
Interactive toys are a major favorite, but require some sort of snack to be placed within them for the dog to be interested in it; peanut butter provides a great target. The dog will solve a wide range of puzzles in order to acquire the peanut butter, sometimes making for an entertaining flurry of activity. If you really want to make things interesting, put the peanut butter in the toy and then freeze it; this prolongs the interest as the dog must help the peanut butter thaw in order to get the most out of the toy. In essence, a little spreads out the time that the dog will play with it.
What Peanut Butter Brands Are Safe For Dogs?
Fortunately, there are a number of safe peanut butter brands for dogs. While you should always pay attention to the ingredients list for anything you are feeding your dog, generally most peanut brands keep things simple. As such, while they may add preservatives, they rarely add other ingredients. This is a function of public relations: As parents have become nervous about things added to their children’s food, they have been keeping a special eye on certain products they deem especially pure, and one of those products is peanut butter.
The advantage to pet owners is that this means that peanut butter companies have been especially wary of additives with any sort of special health risk. While they may use sweeteners, they prefer to use sugar and honey rather than artificial sweeteners like xylitol. It should be noted that they may add sodium-based preservatives that can potentially raise the sodium levels of your dog’s blood, those can be easily screened for if you look at the ingredients list. As such, most peanut butter brands are safe for dogs, especially most organic brands.
Can Dogs Eat Jif Peanut Butter?
Jif has been the largest peanut butter in the United States for the last forty years, making it natural for dog owners to ask, “Is Jif peanut butter good for dogs?” The brand began a Big Top peanut butter but was bought by Proctor and Gamble in 1955. P & G reformulated and rebranded Big Top so as to better compete with Peter Pan and Skippy; in 1958 Jif was released, with both Creamy and Crunchy brands. In 1991, they released Simply Jif, which had lower sodium and sugar than their regular spreads. It is usually sweetened with sugar and molasses.
Can I give my dog Jif peanut butter? Yes; it is arguably one of the better brands. While there is no “Jif Peanut Butter for Dogs”, Jif peanut butter is safe for dogs, with no xylitol in its products. Most dog experts have no problem giving Jif glowing reviews when it asked, “Is Jif peanut butter good for dogs?” For dog owners asking, “Can puppies have Jif peanut butter?” the answer is usually a resounding “yes”. Obviously, Jif is safe for dogs but not if they have an allergy to peanuts; for dog owners looking for a solid candidate for a good snack food, Jif is probably the best candidate.
Is Skippy Peanut Butter Good For Dogs?
While Skippy peanut butter is good for dogs, owners may have different issues with the peanut butter. In 1925, Percy Crosby trademarked the name “Skippy” to protect his comic strip, graphic novel, daytime radio serial, and movie. However, Joseph L. Rosefield used the name for his peanut butter from 1932 onward, despite losing the case for its ownership in 1934. While Rosefield won the trademark in 1946 due to Crosby being committed and the passing of the Lanham Act, the heirs of Crosby have been litigating for the return of the trademark through its changes in ownership.
While there is no xylitol in Skippy peanut butter, owners may have an issue with the palm oil. While all owners will ask, “Is Skippy peanut butter good for dogs?”, the palm oil in it may be the real problem. While Skippy peanut butter is good for dogs, and even the palm oil itself has advantages for the canine, of all the Skippy peanut butter ingredients xylitol may be the least of its problems. Again, when it comes to Skippy peanut butter xylitol is not an issue; it does not have any. The problem is to what degree dog owners see palm oil as an issue.
Does Peter Pan Peanut Butter Contain Xylitol?
While there is no xylitol in Peter Pan peanut butter, there are other issues for the peanut butter producer. Interestingly, it was originally packaged in a tin can with a turnkey and a reclosable lid but changed to glass due to metal shortages in World War II. It was also the first peanut butter to be sold in plastic jars.
Also of note is in August 2007 it was announced that Disney’s Peter Pan would become the official mascot of the peanut butter, as well as other related characters; Tinker Bell had been used in the 1950s ads. While the company had used a more feminine version of Peter Pan, who had long hair and a green skirt, this was a better fit for the company.
Like Skippy, of the Peter Pan peanut butter ingredients, xylitol is not an issue; it has none. However, it does have palm oil and more sugar than normal. Again, while palm oil only becomes an issue for dogs if they eat too much of it, allowing it to become a laxative, the political issues surrounding the oil may be an issue for some dog owners. Also, the added sugar may be a problem, especially for those looking for a good peanut butter for their puppies, as it may create diabetes, dental issues, and contribute to hyperactivity. In short, it is not a bad choice but there are better options.
Is Justin’s Peanut Butter Safe For Dogs?
For those wondering, “Can dogs eat Justin’s peanut butter?” the answer is a conditional “yes”. Founded by vegan and outdoorsman Justin Gold in 2004, the company was picked up by Whole Foods Market and has retained its organic status since then. The good news is that Justin’s peanut butter only has two ingredients, peanuts and palm oil, but the palm oil may make it debatable for those looking to avoid the problematic ingredient. Otherwise, it is second only to Jif peanut butter due to its very short ingredient list.
How to Make Your Own Peanut Butter
Should you want to make your own peanut butter, you have two options: in-store and at-home. A lot of stores, especially community co-ops, offer customers an opportunity to make their own peanut butter through some sort of grinder available near where it sells the peanuts; all you need to do is decide how much you are willing to carry out the store. Note that other nuts are available for grinding, and the store may be set up for them as well. This gives you the opportunity to try other kinds of nut butter; bear in mind the dog’s allergies before bringing nut butter.
If you decide to do so at home, it is actually pretty easy: You can use any food processor with a puree function. Take the roasted nuts, make sure that they have been peeled and cleaned, and then put them in the food processor. Chop them up until they are at a fine consistency, and then puree until you are happy with the consistency. Keep in mind that this is tough on the food processor, so frequent breaks are advised in order to make sure that the motor doesn’t break. This can take a while, maybe as long as ten minutes, possibly longer, so be advised that it does take some patience.
Once you have it at the consistency you like, jar it and put it in a cool, dry place. As it does not have preservatives, it should be good for about a month. Be aware that oil may separate from the peanut butter; usually, it is best if you just mix it back into the peanut butter, even though this can be a little stiff. However, for those looking to make sure that they have peanut butter on hand that is safe for their dogs, this is arguably the best way to secure it you can then use it however you want, be it on bagels, toast, or even as a snack or reward for your dog.
Peanut butter is arguably one of the best things you can feed your dog: It is full of protein, has just enough sugar to be interesting, and has enough fiber to make digestion better for dogs. It also contains a lot of the right vitamins and other building blocks that a dog, or even a puppy, needs. However, not all peanut butter spreads are equal, and some feature the sweetener xylitol, which can create hypoglycemia in dogs. While certain brands, such as Jif Peanut Butter, are safe for dogs, owners need to be aware that not all brands are good for their dogs.