Our dogs love peanut butter. It’s one of the most common tasty treats we give them. We use it as part of a puzzle feeder or lick mat and as a yummy treat during nail trims. We even use it to desensitise our dogs to unpleasant situations—like bath-time and vet visits.
Lately, though, a couple of brands have launched expensive “dog-friendly” peanut butter. But does your dog really need special dog-safe peanut butter? Let’s dive in.
Is Peanut Butter Okay for Dogs?
Not all peanut butter is suitable for dogs. Some peanut butter contains an artificial sweetener called xylitol which is highly toxic to dogs and cats (even the FDA warns against it). As a veterinary nurse, I can tell you, it’s a battle to treat xylitol poisoning even with the best facilities and equipment.
After a dog ingests xylitol, a massive amount of insulin gets released into their bloodstream by their pancreas, which leads to long-lasting hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar). This can result in them collapsing, having a seizure, falling into a coma and, in the worst-case scenarios, death.
Examples of peanut butter brands that contain xylitol include:
- Go Nuts Co
- Nuts ‘N’ More
- P28 foods
- Protein Plus PB
We’re not linking to them, so you don’t accidentally buy them!
Birch Sugar is Xylitol in Disguise
Birch sugar is another name for xylitol. Some US companies list it instead, presumably because it sounds more natural.
It isn’t—and it’s just as deadly for your dog.
Other Risky Xylitol Foods
While it’s a good idea to read the ingredient list of anything you plan to feed your dog, there are some kinds of food that are more likely to include xylitol.
In particular, anything that claims it is “low sugar” or “zero sugar” generally contains artificial sweeteners and potentially has xylitol added. Many “fitness” and processed high-protein foods like protein powder, protein bars, protein pancake mix, protein cookies, and other similar things boasting about how much protein they have contain xylitol. Keep them all out of snoot range.
Another big thing to watch out for is chewing gum. Most popular sugar-free brands have it.
Otherwise, breath mints, mouthwash, medications, cough syrups, and chewable vitamins all potentially contain xylitol.
What to Do If My Dog Ate Something With Xylitol?
Get to the vet, immediately! If your regular vet is closed, get to the nearest emergency veterinary hospital. This is not something that can wait for the weekend.
So, Do I Need Dog Peanut Butter?
If you read the ingredient list of the peanut butter you feed your dog, then no, you don’t need to buy a special dog-friendly one. Just make sure you are certain it doesn’t contain xylitol or birch sugar, and be very careful if it’s out of stock and you buy something else.
The dog-friendly peanut butter products available at the moment play on consumers’ concerns about xylitol and charge a premium to alleviate it. We don’t feel it’s particularly ethical or necessary, but if dog-friendly peanut butter products being more widely available prevents people from making a simple mistake and reduces the chance of pups getting poisoned, then it is doing some good.
As always, it comes down to us and our ownership styles. If you are a dog owner who gets anxious about ingredients, has difficulty reading the small print of ingredient lists, or would lose sleep over forgetting to check ingredient labels, buy the dog-specific PB. If you are concerned about the cost and check to make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol, feed your dog whatever PB you want.
In our house, we use natural peanut butter that is just 100% peanuts. Honestly, we prefer the taste, and it’s great that we can all share the same tub.
(As a general rule, we avoid having anything toxic to the menagerie in the house, just in case all three of them decide to gang up and raid the cupboards one day.)
If you have a pet product that meets our Product Review Policy and want to advertize on Bing’s Best Things, then get in touch.