Peanut Butter For Dogs

Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter

Is Peanut Butter Safe for Dogs? The simple answer to that question is yes, except if there is xylitol (Toxic to dogs), also labeled as birch sugar. If you decide to give Peanut Butter, it should be just peanut butter unsweetened and with no salt added.

Is Peanut Butter Good For Dogs

The real question is whether peanut is good for dogs to consume. Should peanut butter be fed to dogs? The answer to that question is more complicated and leans towards no. Peanut Butter is not the greatest or a healthy addition, and dogs are probably better off without peanut butter.

There are now hundreds if not thousands of products for dogs with peanut butter included as an ingredient.

Peanut Butter is used in a wide variety of dog treats, whether it's your relatively standard dog biscuit; it's in some dog jerkys. Peanut Butter is included in countless canine supplements. It’s in at least one raw dog food. It’s used by a decent percentage of dog CBD companies. It's used in bone broths, goats milk, Kefirs, dog "yogurt", and ice cream. There are even several companies that make dog-specific peanut butter.

Peanut Butter is also commonly recommended as a pill pocket. Many people recommend using peanut butter as something to fill a Kong or cover a lick mat for mental stimulation.

Canine Obesity

Before discussing whether we should be giving peanut butter, it’s important to talk about canine obesity, which is a genuine problem and contributes to several other health conditions.

A 2.5-year study between January 2016 and June 2018 conducted by Banfield reported that 31.6% of dogs were overweight. Which they acknowledge is likely an underestimate.

A 2018 Clinical Survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention found they found that 36.9% of dogs were classified as Overweight, while 18.9% were classified as obese. Due to COVID-19, they are conducting a new survey for 2022.

Peanut Butter Nutritional Value

Peanut Butter is around 52% Fat, 22% Protein, and 17% Carbohydrates. Peanut butter is also a good source of many essential vitamins and minerals, but so are many other foods and treats that you can give.

Peanut Butter Caloric Density

That being the case, Peanut Butter is not really something we should generally be adding to our dog’s diets, especially in the quantities used to cover a lick mat. Due to the high fat content, peanut butter is extremely calorie dense with one tablespoon of Whole Foods ORGANIC CREAMY PEANUT BUTTER (not a heaping tablespoon) or 16 grams (.56 oz) providing approximately 105 calories based on Atwater Factors or 97 based on Modified Atwater Factors.

¼ Tsp 8.75 kcals
½ Tsp 17.5 kcals
1 TSP 35 kcals
½ TBSP 52.5 kcals
1 TBSP 105 kcals

To put that in perspective, 1 Tablespoon of Peanut Butter Equals about


0.220 cups Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach Turkey & Oatmeal Dry Dog Food
0.246 cups Farmina Lamb & Blueberry Adult Medium & Maxi
0.246 Cups Honest Kitchen Grain Free Beef Clusters
0.258 cups Natures Logic Canine Beef Meal Feast All Life Stages Dry Dog Food
0.252 patties Primal Beef Patties
0.294 patties Stella & Chewy’s Chewy’s Chicken Frozen Raw Patties

The Caloric density of peanut butter is one of the reasons why we never considered using peanut butter as a method of providing various beneficial herbs. It is also why we will never make a Peanut Butter Yogurt despite many people asking for a peanut butter yogurt. Still, calories aren't the only issue with using peanut butter. 

Fatty Acids Omega 6 to Omega 3 Ratio

To be labeled complete and balanced, the Maximum Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio is 30 to 1. Most foods aren’t that high, but almost everyone agrees that the ideal Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio is considerably lower. While there is disagreement about the ideal ratio, most agree it should be less than 10 to 1, with even more advocating for less than 5 to 1, and some advocating for even lower ratios. The reason why the ratio matters is that omega 6 fatty acids are inflammatory, while omega 3s are anti-inflammatory. So the balance between the 2 is extremely important.

Generally speaking, when we are looking at adding fats to a dog’s diet, we are usually talking about adding more Omega 3 Fatty Acids, and more specifically, EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA mostly come from Marine Sources, with some limited exceptions. There is also some research around supplementing MCTs, but the potential benefits of adding MCTs are different than those of EPA and DHA.

The reason why you want EPA and DHA is that the conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA is low in dogs and almost non-existent in cats.

The fact that dogs can convert ALA is one of the reasons why EPA and DHA are not required per AAFCO even though the NRC has adequate and recommended amounts for EPA+DHA. The other reason is limited data demonstrating that it is truly an essential nutritional requirement (possibly severe consequences when not included in the diet) in adult dogs.

It’s important to remember the minimums are based on not developing a nutritional deficiency instead of what the optimal levels should be to support health and well-being. That being said, there is plenty of literature demonstrating the benefits of adding both EPA and DHA to our dogs and cats' diets.

One thing to pay attention to on your dog or cats’ food is whether they are only reporting total omega 3's while also using plant-based oils such as Flax or Canola oil (primarily ALA)

This is part of the debate around the value of the omega 6 to 3 ratio becuase a 5 to 1 ratio, where the omega 3s are mostly ALA, is vastly different than a 5 to 1 ratio, where the omega 3s are mostly EPA and DHA.


Effect of Peanut Butter on Omega 6 to Omega 3 Ratio

When we look at peanut butter, the Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio is 438 to 1. AKA mainly Omega 6 Fatty Acids. So not the fats that we want to add. Just one tablespoon of peanut butter (Not Heaping) can drastically increase the Omega 6 to Omega 3 Ratio. This can be especially concerning if the food you are currently feeding is already on the mid to higher end of the allowable ratio. To put this in perspective

Let’s say you are feeding the Raised Right Pork. According to their website, it is 368 Calories per cup. That specific formula has an Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio of 3.59 to 1. When we add one tablespoon of peanut butter, it jumps to 6.03 to 1.

Note this food has a much lower omega 6 to omega 3 ratio than many if not most, pet foods across all pet food categories.

While The benefits of fish oils aren’t strictly related to lowering the omega 6:3 ratio of your pet's diet; it is one of the benefits. When giving peanut butter to dog’s it does greatly reduce or eliminate that specific benefit.


Peanut Butter is also a good source of copper. However, research has shown that the levels of copper in dog food may already be too high. As of right now, there is no maximum amount, and the copper is rarely listed on food.

What this ultimately means is that we should seek to limit the amount of additional copper we are providing in the form of treats and supplements, and this means limiting the amount of copper-rich ingredients.

    Beneficial compounds within Peanut Butter

    Peanuts and Peanut butter are a rich source of many compounds that can be beneficial, such as Genistein, Daidzein, Resveratrol, and Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA). Still, these compounds are also found in high amounts in plenty of other foods.


    This isn’t to say you should never give peanut butter to your dog, but that Peanut Butter should be given very sparingly and in small quantities.

    There are better options than peanut butter. There are better options with fewer calories, there are better options as it relates to the omega 6:3 ratio.

    Covering a Lick Mat in Peanut Butter is unquestionably not the best option. We lightly covered a small lick mat in peanut butter, and it came out to 91 grams or 597 Calories or more than 1.5 cups of most commercial pet foods. Just 16 grams raised the omega 6 to omega 3 ratio by 2.44. Just think of what a lick mat will raise it to.

    If your dog is currently overweight, prone to obesity, or a breed prone to obesity (Labradors), then it’s probably best to skip peanut butter altogether. 

    As just one teaspoon equals around 4.5% of the daily calories we might expect the average 30lbs dog to consume to maintain their body weight, and out of all of the videos on the internet that we have seen none of them come even remotely close to one teaspoon.

    The reason for labradors specifically is that many of them have a genetic deletion in the POMC gene (More Prevalent in-Service Dog Lines). This turns off the I’m full switch and is the reason why if you have a Lab, they always appear to be hungry.

    The same would apply to dogs that have hip dysplasia or arthritis. If you have a dog that needs medication regularly and has been using peanut butter to sneak the dog his or her medication, then it's important to try and find better alternatives, especially when it comes down to the inflammatory effects of the omega 6s fatty acids.  

    Alternatives to Peanut Butter for Medication

    • Freeze Dried Sardines and Freeze-Dried Mackerel
      • Using them as Pill Pockets is one of the reasons we offer them as Chopped.
    • Salmon Skin Rolls (Pockets)
      • This is something we will be releasing shortly. They are sized specifically so that you can put most medication into the middle
    • Canned Food
    • Baby food (Make Sure to Read the ingredients)
    • Canned Pumpkin
    • Ground Meat
    • Part of a Hardboiled Egg