This article explains whether German Shepherds can safely eat peanut butter and what owners should be aware of. All advice has been assessed and approved by a qualified veterinarian.
Yes, German shepherds can eat peanut butter as long as it does not contain Xylitol (artificial sweetener) or a high-salt content. Keep in mind, however, not every GSD will tolerate peanut butter, especially those with sensitive stomachs.
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?
According to PetMD, many peanut butters are safe for healthy dogs to eat.
However, the peanut butter should NOT contain Xylitol, high salt levels, or other additives or preservatives.
You must also consider the possibility of your GSD having their own intolerance to peanuts.
Let’s run through 3 important things to consider when feeding peanut butter to your German shepherd:
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 Xylitol is considered highly 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 You Give?
As peanut butter isn’t actually made for dogs or puppies, there isn’t a “correct” amount…
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 small amounts.
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 GSD 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 GSD Peanut Butter
It’s best to reserve peanut butter for special occasions when training or rewarding. Not only will this help keep peanut butter appealing, but it will avoid accidental weight gain (as peanut butter is high in calories).
Peanut butter is best used for:
- Training rewards
- To encourage eating (infrequently mixed in with meals)
- To distract while trimming nails
- To distract while inspecting body, fur, skin (or for brushing)
High-value rewards like peanut butter work extremely well for training purposes, especially before puppies understand verbal rewards like “good boy” for quite some months. Using tasty treats proves to be particularly important throughout this stage.
If your German Shepherd isn’t eating his meals, you will first need to find out why and rule out health issues. After this, getting him to eat could be as simple as mixing in a small blob of peanut butter with this kibble. This works like a charm for most.
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 GSD Reacts After Eating Peanut Butter
Before going nuts with peanut butter you should always give your German Shepherd 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! (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: Not every dog is tolerable of the safe nuts, even though they are declared “safe”. Dogs may have their own individual tolerances. Always give a very small test amount first, and observe your GSD carefully for 30 minutes.
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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