Is peanut butter for dogs
a healthy treat or a toxic food. Let me help you make a wise decision for your
If you’re not a label reader those peanut butter ingredients may surprise you.
I don’t want to be all doom and gloom but it can be a toxic food for dogs and I’ll sleep better at night if you understand the dangers.
Either we forget reading labels is an important part of shopping for family and pets or we do read labels but don't have a clue what the ingredients are or how to pronounce them.
Peanut butter is one of the top dog treats whether given by spoonful or included in cookies, biscuits and chews.
And because a peanut is not a nut at all, what the heck is it?
Peanuts are a legume (in the bean family) but unlike their cousins, they grown underground which leads to two of the five dangers of peanut butter for dogs (and humans as well.)
Just peanuts right? Heck no, and I'll tell you the exact ingredients of an American top seller in a minute. First let's talk about what's wrong with peanut butter.
Danger #1 – Mold
By its very nature, it is common for peanuts to have various molds on them. Mold is a fungus. So is yeast. Dogs don’t need mold added to their bodies and if your dog has ever suffered from dog ear yeast infections, it makes matters worse.
One type of mold in peanuts is called Aspergillus flavus which leads us to
Danger #2 - Aflatoxins
The mold Aseprgillus flavus produces a carcinogenic (produces cancer) substance called aflatoxin. You’ve probably heard of that when they do peanut butter recalls. What you may not know is this.
Even though the USDA is suppose to test every truckload of raw peanuts for aflatoxin; and any containing aflatoxin levels of more than 20 parts per billion destroyed, it makes me nervous. First, I don't want any carcinogenic substances in my food and if they're checking so well why are there peanut butter recalls so often?
It seems every year or two there is a huge recall of peanut
butter reminding me of the bad dog food recalls. Then there are smaller recalls where you notice in the nut butter section of the grocery store that a brand is completely emptied out as if it sold out instead of taken off the shelf. There are no signs, no notices and if you bought a jar the day before too bad for you.
Plus peanuts are normally cooked at a high temperature and then hold little nutritional value, so why do we bother?
Danger #3 – Sugar
If you are a fan of Skippy or Jiff I assure you they are a bad choice of peanut butter for dogs. If you want to risk the mold that’s one thing but sugar for dogs is a big no-no. Sugar is food to yeast and the number of dogs with skin problems and ear problems due to yeast is rising. Enough dogs are getting diabetes as it is, and diet has much to do with it. (See wheat flour, the other sugar.)
Danger #4 – Hydrogenated Oil
This processed fat is heated to a high temperature then steam distilled to get the rancid smell out of it. It's used because it's cheap and never "goes bad". Of course it already is bad but without the smell we don't know. The body knows. This trans fat slows the thyroid (if soy based), accumulates in our cells (think heart attack and disease) and because it's unnatural it cannot be converted to energy. In short, trans fats are poisons, just like arsenic or cyanide. Plus they make us fat!
Danger #5 - Mono and Diglycerides
I just learned something new. Double checking my information before I wrote this page (always important) I found both Mono and Diglycerides are ...hydrogenated oils! Sneaky move. By splitting up the amount of this stuff into 2 parts, it appears there is less of it.
Here's the peanut butter ingredients list for Jiff copied directly from their website:
MADE FROM ROASTED PEANUTS AND SUGAR, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: MOLASSES, FULLY HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OILS (RAPESEED AND SOYBEAN), MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES, SALT.
It also notes 2 tablespoons of the stuff gives an adult person one quarter of all the fat needed per day and its not all useable fat so it doesn't count! Yuck! Please pass up on these ingredients for your entire family.
I was coaching a woman with two big dogs who suffered from diarrhea. She totally changed their diet yet the diarrhea continued. Exasperated, I told her to tell me EVERYTHING that her dogs ate even though it seemed repetitive to her.
Turned out she'd been stuffing their Kong toys with peanut butter every morning before she left for work. It was such a habit, she didn't think about it.
Guess what? Once she stopped the peanut butter, the diarrhea stopped as well and her dogs began to heal.
If peanut butter for dogs is out, what
else is there? If you must stuff and your dog has no digestive issues ever, use real nut butters with a single ingredient such as almond butter.
I've also been known to rub the inside of a Kong toy with coconut oil. Now there's a healthy fat with healing powers.