Is Peanut Butter Safe For Dogs?

We all know that dogs absolutely LOVE peanut butter. But is peanut butter safe for dogs?


Unfortunately, the answer is not totally straight forward.

While many pet parents feed peanut butter to their pups as a fun treat (I mean, who doesn’t love watching their dog enjoy a sticky lick of peanut butter?), the truth is that there could be a deadly substance lurking in that coveted treat.

There are 2 main risks:


The first and bigger risk is xylitol.

If you are not already aware of the dangers of xylitol for Fido, please take a moment to take this in as this information could literally be the difference between life and a rapid death for your best friend.

Xylitol is a sweetener being used in more and more human foods these days (including many peanut butters) because it has little to no effect on blood sugar or insulin release in people.

While safe and even healthy for humans, the polar opposite is true for dogs.

Xylitol can be deadly to dogs, even in very small amounts.

Let me give you an example: The amount of xylitol typically found in one piece of gum or one breath mint is enough to make a 10 pound dog sick. And 3-5 pieces is enough to kill them.

(Please note that this is only an example to illustrate how dangerous xylitol is, and that in reality the amount of xylitol in gum and mints varies tremendously. If your dog ever eats ANY xylitol containing product, please consider it a medical emergency and get them veterinary help immediately, as early treatment is key to a good prognosis.)

When most pet parents think of human foods that are toxic to dogs, chocolate is usually the first thing that comes to mind. But the truth is that xylitol is far more dangerous because it takes so little to do so much damage.


The other risk is aflatoxin contamination.

Aflatoxins are mycotoxins (meaning from a fungus). They are carcinogenic to both dogs and humans, and are known to be toxic to the liver and promote tumor development.

Aflatoxin contamination is more commonly found in certain foods, and unfortunately for your furry friend, peanuts are at the top of that list.

The good news is that in the U.S., crops are tested and aflatoxin is not allowed in to exceed certain levels. But as we all know, things happen and recalls are commonplace, so it is a good thing to be aware of so you can make informed decisions about what you choose your furry friend


So knowing these risks, what is a loving pet parent to do? Do we cut out peanut butter all together, or is there a safe way to continue to offer this cherished treat?

As long as we know the risks, we can make informed decisions about what we choose to feed to our furry companions.

  • If you are going to feed your dog peanut butter, make sure you read the ingredients and stay clear of any products containing xylitol.
  • Be sure to re-read the label every time you buy in case the ingredients change.
  • And if you are going to feed your dog peanut butter, it is probably best to do so in moderation and as an occasional treat to limit exposure to aflatoxins.

As long as you follow these simple and sensible suggestions, it seems safe to say that peanut butter can stay on the menu to be enjoyed as a special treat by your favorite friend.

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