The short answer: It depends.
The long answer: Raw, unadulterated, unsalted peanut butter with no additives is a great treat for your dog. Use it to hide medicines (your pooch will gobble it up!), or use it as a distracting treat while you clip her nails. Peanut butter is a good source of protein and fiber.
However, many peanut butter brands include a sugar-free sweetener called xylitol – an ingredient that is lethal to dogs. Just 0.1 gram of xylitol is reported to cause life-threatening low blood sugar to a dog within 10 minutes of consumption.
Therefore, instead of store bought peanut butters that you might not be sure of, use homemade peanut butter or one that is free from xylitol. Just make sure to read the ingredients. Limit your dog’s peanut butter intake so he doesn’t end up with a bad case of pancreatitis.
What to do if your dog accidentally eats peanut butter containing xylitol: Go to your veterinarian immediately. Xylitol releases high amounts of insulin from your dog’s pancreas, which can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and/or liver failure. Keep an eye on your dog and see if he exhibits any symptoms of poisoning such as weakness, staggering, collapsing, vomiting, lack of coordination, and/or seizures. Increased liver enzyme activities and liver failure may show up only after a few days of xylitol consumption.
In summary: Your dog can occasionally eat peanut butter as long as it’s free of xylitol. Your best bet is to make your own protein-packed spread, or buy homemade ones that don’t contain additives and high amounts of salt or sugar that are all bad for your pooch. If you’re not 100% certain about the ingredients of your peanut butter spread, it’s best not to feed it to your dog. Just because it says “all natural” or “no artificial sweeteners” on the label, doesn’t automatically mean it’s devoid of harmful ingredients for your pup.
Aside from xylitol-free peanut butter, discover which other food dogs can safely eat in our “can dogs eat” category.