Puppy or adult, German Shepherds are generally very food motivated, and a high value treat can really make training more effective. This article will explain whether GSDs can have peanut butter and provide answers to many relevant FAQs
German Shepherd puppies can eat peanut butter in small amounts so long as it doesn’t contain Xylitol or a high salt content. Xylitol is a toxic ingredient for dogs and high salt intake should always be avoided.
I’ll cover this in full detail, including how much you can give, and which brands of peanut butter are safe and unsafe.
Can German Shepherd Eat Peanut Butter?
We always want to treat our little fluff balls and peanut butter is a guaranteed winner.
But before you crack open the jar you must be aware of THREE important things: Xylitol, Salt, and Calories.
It’s also important to mention that German Shepherds can suffer from sensitive stomachs. Peanut butter has a high-fat content and this can put extra strain on the digestive system. If your adult or puppy shows any kind of discomfort after having tried some PB then it’s best to avoid it in the future, despite being a popular treat.
Xylitol in Peanut Butter
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in hundreds of everyday products like toothpaste, chewing gum, ice cream, and peanut butter. It’s okay for human consumption, but it’s considered toxic for dogs.
Xylitol can cause a range of side effects in dogs from mild discomfort to collapsing and other severe health issues. So with that being said, it’s extremely important to avoid this toxic ingredient at all times.
Unfortunately, Xylitol is classed as a “natural” ingredient, which means more and more brands are using it to replace sugar in order to label their product as “sugar-free”. This isn’t good news for our pooches and we have to be increasingly careful with treats we offer to furry friends.
The following peanut butter brands that currently include Xylitol (this may change*)
- Go Nuts Co
- Krush Nutrition
- Nuts N More
- No Cow
- Protein Plus PB
High Salt in Peanut Butter
A diet that’s too high in salt can cause sodium ion poisoning, vomiting, diarrhea, high blood pressure, tremors, and more.
Many regular brands of peanut butter add in A LOT of salt, simply to make it taste better, and I must admit, it works! (confessed peanut butter lover here) If you take a look at the peanut butter in your cupboard right now, It probably has around 60-90 mg of sodium per tablespoon. This is all unnecessary.
Fortunately, peanut butter can be made with absolutely nothing more than, you guessed it, peanuts! So if you want to use PB in some homemade dog treats or as a training reward, ensure you opt for salt-free and Xylitol-free peanut butter (at the least).
The issue with peanut butter is that it’s high in fat which means high in calories and it may reduce your pup’s appetite to the point he doesn’t want to eat his real food.
Eating too many calories throughout the day on top of his usual food may also lead to unnecessary weight gain. Any kind of excess weight can cause health issues in the long run, so this is always something to keep in mind.
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Which Peanut Butter Is Safe For German Shepherd
So now you know the important stuff, let’s discuss what kind of peanut butter will be safe for your GSD!
Fortunately, there are many SAFE peanut butter options to go for on the market today. Any peanut butter that is natural, Xylitol-free, or salt-free will be safe for your German Shepherd to consume.
Spread The Love is just one example of natural peanut butter that doesn’t contain Xylitol, salt, sugar, or any other nasty ingredient. It’s made purely from organic peanuts.
There are many more brands to choose from online and in-store, just be sure to check the label and stay away from Xylitol and Salt.
How Much Peanut Butter Can Your German Shepherd Eat?
As peanut butter isn’t actually made for dogs or puppies, there isn’t a “correct” amount for me to tell you. So all we can do is take into consideration their current diet and weight and be sensible.
As peanut butter is high in calories we should only ever give a small amount. A good way to limit the amount consumed is by only letting your puppy lick the peanut butter. A few licks of peanut butter will excite your puppy enough for it to be an effective training reward.
In my opinion, there isn’t a reason for your puppy to consume big clumps of peanut butter, licks will suffice. Gulping down tablespoons of peanut butter will likely lead to weight gain quicker than you know it.
⭐ Stick to a few licks here and there and you cannot go wrong.
When To Give Your Puppy Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is best reserved for special occasions. By limiting the number of times you offer peanut butter, your puppy will consider it to be a high-value reward, and its effectiveness increases.
⭐ Peanut butter is best used for:
- Training rewards ✔️
- To encourage eating ✔️
- To distract your puppy while trimming nails ✔️
- To distract your puppy if you need to inspect him ✔️
High-value rewards like peanut butter work extremely well for training purposes. Positive reinforcement is a powerful technique but young puppies don’t immediately understand verbal rewards like “good boy” this is when treats become important. Using a treat like peanut butter will keep your puppy’s focus and eagerness to take part in training sessions.
If your German Shepherd puppy is having trouble eating his meals, you will first need to find out why and rule out health issues. Although you should always try to find food that works well for your puppy there may be times you just need him to eat! Mixing a small blob of peanut butter in with this kibble will certainly help him finish his meal.
Another interesting way to use peanut butter to your advantage is when you need to trim your puppy’s nails. Nail trimming can be a nerve-racking moment for both pup and owner. One way to completely distract your pup is to smear peanut butter thinly on a plate and set it aside for him to lick. While your pup is peanut butter land, you have full access to control his leg and secure his paw while you safely trim his nails.
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Watch How Your Puppy Reacts After Eating Peanut Butter
Before going nuts with peanut butter (pun intended) you should always give your pup a test amount first.
Let your puppy enjoy a few licks and put the rest away. Watch him closely to ensure he doesn’t have a bad reaction. Not all puppies are tolerant of peanut butter and your pup may be in that group. If it’s destined to make him ill then you’ll be thankful for trying only a test amount first.
Ensure your puppy doesn’t show the following signs: If he does be ready to give your veterinarian a call for further help.
- Excessive itching or scratching
- Excessive sneezing
- Frequent licking
- Rashes or red patchy skin
- Unusual behavior and sudden change in temperament
Which Nuts Can German Shepherds Eat?
When it comes to nuts, some are fine for dogs to consume and some are highly toxic.
Nuts that your German Shepherd can eat include Peanuts, Cashews, and Almonds. To be on the safe side, avoid all other nuts.
As it happens, peanuts are not actually a nut! Nope, peanuts are a Legume that is considered to be an edible seed that grows in a pod from a plant! Fact Checked. (From Harvard University)
Fun facts aside let’s take a look at the nuts that are considered safe and unsafe for dogs.
⭐ Nuts that are considered TOXIC for dogs:
- Walnuts (especially “black” walnuts)
- Macadamia Nuts
- Pistachio (Fat content is too high)
⭐ Nuts that are considered SAFE for dogs:
⭐ Please remember, despite peanuts, cashews, and almonds being classed as safe for dogs and puppies, it doesn’t mean to say every dog will be tolerable of them. Your GSD puppy may be intolerable to ALL nuts and although not toxic, could still cause sickness.
If you want to try peanut butter with your German Shepherd puppy just make sure it doesn’t contain Xylitol or salt. On top of that, always start with a small tester amount first and watch how your puppy reacts. You may discover that your puppy doesn’t tolerate peanut butter very well and should therefore avoid it in the future.
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