For professional dog breeders knowing what is safe or not safe for their dogs to eat is not an issue. But for us who just got into the hobby, or our dogs just got pregnant we may be wondering whether some of these human foods are good for soon-to-be-born puppies. Below is some research I did learn about Peanut butter.
Can a puppy eat peanut butter?
Yes, puppies can in general eat peanut butter as long as it does not have xylitol and is unsalted. Peanut butter is a great source of protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and niacin to puppies. However, peanut butter should be fed in moderation as too much can lead to health issues.
To know how much peanut butter your puppy or dog will need to consult your vet, some dogs or puppies may have some health conditions such as diabetes or food sensitivity issues.
What to know before Feeding Peanut Butter to Puppies
Most peanut butter is normally safe for puppies that do not have any underlying health issues.
However, you should be very wary of any peanut butter that has a substance known as xylitol.
In the past, manufacturers did not use xylitol in the manufacture of peanut butter, they used sugar.
But in recent years, people have been avoiding products that are sugary based. Consequently, manufacturers have turned into xylitol as a sugar substitute.
Most sugar-free products such as chewing gums, baked goods, chewable vitamins, breath mints, and toothpaste now use xylitol.
Do not worry though, xylitol is not harmful to human beings but it is very toxic to dogs and is actually life-threatening.
When a dog or puppy consumes xylitol, its body will respond by releasing insulin. What follows is a decrease in the amount of sugar in the dog’s blood, a condition called hypoglycemia.
Hypoglycemia is very dangerous and can even be life-threatening if left untreated. Xylitol’s dangerous effects can set in between 10 to 60 minutes from the time of consumption, making xylitol very fatal.
The good news is that you can prevent putting your puppies or dog’s life in danger.
Before buying any peanut butter for your dogs ensure you check the ingredients first and avoid any peanut butter that has xylitol listed as one of its ingredients.
In case your dog or puppies consume peanut butter with xylitol call your vet immediately.
Some of the signs of xylitol poisoning include
- Lack of coordination
Salted peanut butter though not poisonous, should also be avoided if you can as high levels of sodium can cause health issues to puppies and adult dogs.
Making your own peanut butter is even better since you will have control of what ingredients you use.
When to Give Puppies peanut butter
The best age to start weaning your puppies is at the age of 8 weeks approximately 2 months assuming that each month is made of four weeks’ source. Some sources also state 4 weeks is a good age to start weaning your puppies. source
In general, it means that the best age to start giving your puppies peanut butter is at the age of 4 weeks, and you should make sure it is a soupy gruel.
The primary goal of weaning your puppies is to make sure you set them to a growth pace that ensures they are strong dogs once they mature.
A good and well-formulated diet should
- Promote optimal growth
- Stregthen immunity
- Reduce or eliminate chances of contracting obesity
- Prevent Orthopedic diseases
What is the Normal growth rate for puppies
For small and medium-sized dogs breeds, they should attain maturity at the age of 10 to 12 months. For larger breeds of dogs such as rottweillers and Great Danes, it takes about 18-24 months to grow to maturity.
However, growth rates are normally not the same among different breeds and are usually influenced by the environment, genes, and nutrition.
Among these three factors nutrition plays a major role in a puppy’s body composition and immunity development.
The quality and amount of feeds offered to puppies can differentiate maximal and optimal growth Sources.
Optimal or Maximal Growth Rate
When rearing your puppies you might be wondering which form of growth is better between maximal and optimal growth rates.
For any dog breeder who aims to produce high-quality breeds of dogs, they should aim for optimal growth instead of maximal growth rate.
The optimal growth rate is better since it is slow and steady allowing your puppy to attain all the growth requirements in different stages while avoiding obesity and excessive weight gain.
The maximal growth rate, on the other hand, means that the puppy grows faster. Owners that adopt this method normally feed their puppies a diet full of fats and will overfeed their puppies most if not all the time.
Risks that come with maximal growth rate include a shorter life span, obesity, and deformities as most puppies do not get the right diet.
Nutritional Value of Peanut butter to Puppies
The table below shows the nutritional value of 100 grams of peanut butter.
Benefits of feeding Peanut Butter to Puppies
Proteins are one of the most important nutrients to consider and always check in the diet of your puppies.
When you are starting to wean your puppies of their mothers’ milk, you should ensure you feed them high protein food.
Which should decrease as they age, the recommended protein content for puppies is between 22-32 % per dry matter fed to them.
This range of protein content will promote optimal growth and should not be exceeded. source However, consult your vet always as different dogs may have different nutrition requirements.
Avoid feeding puppies food meant for adult dogs, the nutrient requirements are not the same at all.
Peanut butter is a great source of protein if fed moderately. It should, however, be mixed with other healthy treats such as bananas to increase its nutritional value, and fed sparingly as most treats and snacks if overfed will result in health issues.
Puppies are normally very active, this means that they will need a constant supply of energy to keep with their bodies’ energy demand.
Peanut butter is well loaded with fats, that act as a good source of essential fatty acids. Fats are a good source of energy for growing puppies and also come with fat-soluble vitamins.
Fats are also important in maintaining your puppy’s skin and coat health. Actually, puppies that do not get enough, fats in their diet normally have a coarse and suffer from skin lesions.
However, like all nutrients fats should be offered cautiously, too many fats can lead to health issues such as developmental orthopedic disease and obesity.
As a rule of thumb only feed about 10-25% fat content in your puppy’s dry matter intake.
Growing puppies require calcium in their diet, and most importantly for the large or giant breed of dogs.
It is very important to for you consult your vet if you are planning to breed large or giant dog breeds, their calcium requirements are quite different from the small or toy breed dogs such as poodles and chihuahua.
Feeding your puppies’ peanut butter can provide them with calcium but should not be a replacement for their calcium supply.
Peanut butter is also a great source of phosphorus but should not be used as a staple source of phosphorus.
Phosphorus facilitates the following functions
- Skeletal structure
- energy metabolism;
- acid-base balance, DNA
- locomotion DNA and RNA structure
Magnesium is also very important in the health of puppies’ and facilitates the following functions
- Enzyme functions
- mineral structure of bones and teeth
- stability; hormone secretion
- hormone secretion and function
- muscle and nerve-cell membrane
Potassium facilitates the following functions in puppies
- Acid-base balance
- nerve impulse transmission
- enzymatic reactions
- transport functions
Puppies need various vitamins in their diet for optimal growth. Vitamins will facilitate the development and function of the immune system, reproductive system, nerve and muscular coordination, and so on.
The table above shows vitamins that your puppies can get from eating peanut butter.
Risks of overfeeding Peanut Butter to Puppies
As the saying goes too much of anything is poisonous, and peanut butter is no exception.
Peanut butter contains a lot of sugar, feeding too much peanut butter to your puppies can lead to health complications such as obesity and pancreatitis.
Therefore, to be safe only feed peanut butter that is xylitol and salt-free and feed it moderately.
How to feed Peanut Butter to Puppies
First and foremost check the ingredients of the peanut butter before feeding and ensure it is xylitol-free.
After validating your peanut butter does not have xylitol you can follow the following steps to feed your puppies peanut butter.
Though your puppies may be a bit young to know how to feed on toys such as Kong toys. You can start training them for toy feeding.
You can smash some banana pieces, one or two, and then mix it or blend it with a teaspoon of peanut butter or as directed by your vet.
Fill up your kong toys with the mixture and then refrigerate them before feeding your puppies.
When feeding toy feeding can be a great way to train your puppies. The downside of this method is that it will only work for puppies that have some experience eating dry food.
Scoop and feed method
This method is as easy as it sounds all you need is a spoon to scoop peanut butter and feed to your puppy, alternatively, you can use your finger and let your puppies lick it.
This method will work for puppies that can take solid food without issues.
Mix peanut butter in Puppies’ food
For puppies that are just being weaned from their mother’s milk, mixing peanut butter in their food is the best way to fed peanut butter.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I give my 2-month-old puppy peanut butter? Yes, you can give your 2-month-old puppy peanut butter just make sure it has no xylitol and is sodium-free. Additionally, only feed peanut butter moderately as it has a high sugar content that may cause health issues if overfed.
What can I stuff my puppy Kong with? You can stuff your puppy’s kong toy with dog-safe treats such as peanut butter and bananas.
Can you give a 6-week old puppy peanut butter? Yes, you can give your 6-month-old puppy peanut butter just make sure it does not have xylitol and is sodium-free. Secondly, feed peanut butter moderately as incases it is overfed it may cause health complications.
While peanut butter is safe for dogs and puppies alike, it should only be fed in moderation. Too much of it can cause health complications that can hinder your puppy’s development.
When buying peanut butter for your puppies or dogs always ensure it does not have xylitol, this substance can have life-threatening implications if not treated or diagnosed immediately.