There are lots of reasons to stop feeding your dog peanut butter … fungus and aflatoxins, harmful fats, sugar, glyphosate and lectins. But it’s a common go-to treat for dogs. So here are some healthier alternatives to peanut butter that will help you in the treat department. They’re also useful for disguising pills if you’re giving your dog supplements or medication
And even though these are healthier and safer for your dog than peanut butter, they still contain fats so don’t overdo the extra calories.
7 Peanut Butter Alternatives For Your Dog
As well as being treat-worthy, all of these alternative butter options offer varying nutrients for your dog. You can combine several together for maximum benefit.
- Almonds: Almonds are a good source of vitamin E, magnesium and riboflavin (aka vitamin B2). Your dog can eat almond butter but not all dogs can digest it. It’s best to limit it to small amounts.
- Cashews. Cashews contain heart healthy fats as well as copper, magnesium and manganese. They have a high fat content so feed small amounts. A good amount is about 3-4 cashews or 1 tsp for a 20 lb dog and about a handful or 1 tbsp of cashew butter for a 50-60 lb dog.
- Pumpkin Seeds: Pumpkin seeds are a natural dewormer. They’re also rich in manganese, vitamin K, zinc and phosphorus.
- Chia Seeds: Chia seeds are e a good source of fiber, protein, calcium, iron and magnesium … and they’re high in omega-3 fatty acids as well as fiber.
- Sunflower Seeds: Your dog will get plenty of vitamin E, selenium, niacin, B vitamins, fiber, protein and iron. The seeds should be shelled, raw and unsalted for sunflower seed butter.
- Hemp Seeds. Hemp seeds are easily digestible by your dog. They’re filled with antioxidants, are high in protein and provide 9 amino acids. They also provide a healthy balance of omega 3 and omega 6 fats including gamma linolenic fatty acid (GLA), which has anti-inflammatory properties. Hemp seeds are also rich in phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, iron, zinc, potassium, copper, vitamin E and B vitamins.
- Sesame Seeds. They contain zinc, selenium, copper, iron, vitamin B6, and vitamin E … all great for immune system support … as well as calcium and magnesium.
How To Make Nut Butter For Your Dog
A high speed blender does the best job but any blender or food processor should be able to create healthy nut butters that you can stuff into a kong for a challenging treat for your dog. Roasted seeds or nuts work the best for making nut butter. Roast raw nuts on a baking sheet in a 350F oven for 5-12 minutes until slightly golden. Add roasted nuts to your food processor or blender and mix until they become a creamy butter. They’ll form a meal and then get clumpy before becoming creamy. It could take about 10 minutes. You might even want to add a quarter of a banana to add to the creaminess. But be sure to refrigerate and use it up in a day or 2.
Some nuts and seeds blend better so combine them for the best effect. Here are some combinations that work well.
- Cashews and sesame seeds and/or hemp seeds. Try ⅓ cup of cashews with a ⅓ cup of sesame seeds and ⅓ cup of hemp seeds.
- Chia and Hemp Seeds. Use ⅓ of a cup of each.
- Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds. Use a ½ cup of each.
Once you find combinations and textures you like, you can increase the amounts so you’ll have more on hand. Keep nut or seed butters refrigerated for up to 3 weeks so the oils don’t go rancid.
But not all nuts are good for dogs.
Nuts and Seeds to Avoid Giving To Dogs
You want to avoid giving your dog the following:
- Any type of chocolate covered nut.
- Black walnuts. English walnuts are generally safe but be careful with black walnuts. These can cause poisoning from moldy husks. The mold is a potent fungal neurotoxin. Symptoms are tremors and seizures. Immediate medical treatment is needed if your dog eats black walnuts.
- Pecans. Like black walnuts, the mold from pecans can contain tremorgenic mycotoxins. This can lead to seizures or neurological issues.
- Pistachios. They’re not the best nut for dogs either. They do contain natural melatonin. But they are also prone to aflatoxin mold that can cause liver failure. And they contain urushiol, which is the rash-causing chemical in poison ivy … so they could cause an allergic reaction.
- Macadamia nuts. They are extremely dangerous for dogs but it’s not known exactly why. If a dog eats more than 2g of nuts per kilogram body weight he needs immediate medical attention. Symptoms include vomiting, ataxia, weakness, hyperthermia and depression. They can lead to paralysis within 12 hours.
- Any nut or seed butter with xylitol. If you buy pre-made nut butter products, always check the ingredient label for this sugar substitute. Xylitol can cause life-threatening hypoglycemia in your dog. It’s much better to make your own to control the ingredients and ensure it’s safe for your dog.’
As you see, there are lots of healthier peanut butter alternatives so your dog won’t ever be without some nutritious nutty treats.