Can dogs eat peanut butter crackers?

Dogs have been faithful family friend since millennia, being domesticated and bred for assisting humans in various activities. Over time, their specific dietary requirements have evolved from a carnivorous, meat protein-based diet to a variety of foods that humans eat on their dining table too.

As a responsible dog owner, one of the biggest mistakes you might be doing is feeding dogs human foods. It’s important to note that some foods are just not built for their bodies; some foods may cause allergies, others may cause indigestion or choking on the food. Yet others are fatal to dogs and are an absolute no-no.

But when it comes to peanut butter or peanut butter crackers, people are in a confusion. In fact, it is one of the most frequently asked questions on dog forums. Some dog parents swear by a dollop of peanut butter to help their pupper swallow their medication. Others give peanut butter crackers as a treat instead. 

Of late, a piece of news has been doing the rounds that “peanut butter can kill your dog”. There has been plenty of clashing opinions and debates on this. So we went ahead and did a little research; because misinformation on the Internet can lead you to make potentially wrong decisions. 

First things first: What do Peanut Butter Crackers Contain?

Peanut butter is a delicious spread used as a topping on crackers, cookies, bread among other bases. A single serving of peanut butter-filled cracker sandwich contains sugars, fats (both saturated and unsaturated), carbs and sugars, dietary fibre, sodium and a variety of other micronutrients. Peanut butter may prove to be a rich source of vitamins B and E and niacin. 

They key components to look out for are listed below.

Energy (kcal)34.58
Protein (g)0.8
Carbohydrate, by difference (g)4.09
Sugars, total (g)0.74
Fiber, total dietary (g)0.16
Sodium, Na (mg)50.26
Cholesterol (mg)0
Total lipid (fat) (g)1.72
Fatty acids, total saturated (g)0.34
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated (g)0.96
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated (g)0.33

The full list of nutritional information can be found here.

Clearly, the sodium content in peanut butter is really high. As a treat to supplement your dog’s protein needs, peanut butter crackers alone are not sufficient. Vets and canine experts have given the green signal to regular peanut butter as a safe dog treat. But a word of caution: an excessive dose of peanut butter can cause pancreatitis and/or make your doggo obese. So, overfeeding peanut butter crackers as treats to your dog—however lickably delicious he may find it to be—is not at all good for him.  

While you may describe yourself as a pet parent, it’s unrealistic and uncaring to think of your dogs as mini-humans. While animal nutrition bears some likenesses to the human diet, there are some items that your dog might not be OK with eating. The main culprit in the peanut butter cracker story is Xylitol.

Is Xylitol Safe For Dogs?

Xylitol has recently emerged as a substitute for regular sugar. It’s becoming popular because xylitol prevents dental cavities and plaque formation in humans. It’s also suitable for diabetic people who are looking for a natural sugar substitute, given its low glycemic index.

Apart from xylitol being used in chewable vitamins, chewing gums, breath mints, candies and sweetened processed foods, there has been an influx of peanut and other nut-based spreads in the consumer market. Unfortunately, this additive in processed peanut butter which is apparently safe for humans, has proven to be highly toxic to dogs — even if consumed in minute quantities. This means, it’s no longer easy to give a straightforward answer to the question of whether or not peanut butter is safe to be fed to your dog. 

As per a research published in 2010, dogs that happen to ingest as little as 0.1 gram of xylitol per kilogram of body weight can lead to hypoglycaemia: a rapid and dangerous drop in a dog’s blood sugar. The symptoms of this condition include staggering, appearing disoriented, collapsing, weakness, and seizures. A slightly greater dose to the tune of 0.5 g/kg xylitol can debilitate a dog’s liver cells, often even causing death. For dogs having pre-existing medical like diabetes, hepatitis, and others, they are likely to be even more sensitive to xylitol dosing.

Respond fast if you think your dog has eaten xylitol-based peanut butter crackers.

Given its toxic nature, it starts showing symptoms in your dog within 60 minutes of ingestion. Contact a veterinary expert immediately to take concrete steps.

As an extra precaution, please learn more about the dangers of xylitol poisoning in dogs and the range of products that contain xylitol. As an aware and informed consumer, this awareness will be truly crucial for you and your circle of dog lovers.

Always Read Ingredient Lists.

This goes without saying: never assume that your dog can eat the same food as you do. Make a habit of reading ingredient labels, to know if there is any component that may potentially be allergenic for your pawed buddy. Some brands of peanut butter crackers may use xylitol, so make sure you keep such treats far away from the reach of your pooch.

Dog Friendly Peanut Butter Crackers? Yes Please!

The general consensus is that peanut butter crackers, when served in moderation, can be a really healthy treat for your furry friend. In this case, make sure it has only peanuts, salt, and sugar. Absolutely no xylitol!

Canine experts say that the best bet is to go for peanut butter treats specifically targeted and made for dogs. Since they are formulated by animal nutritionists, you can be sure none of the components will be harmful for your dog. There are numerous peanut butter cracker brands available; however, you must keep in mind that peanut butter crackers, or for that matter, all dog treats should be fed to your dog in moderation. They cannot, and should not, replace a wholesome nutritious and balanced meal. Commercial peanut butter may contain too much sugar, sodium, and unhealthy fats. You can also never be sure  whether your dog is allergic to peanut butter.

The healthiest option is unsalted peanut butter or homemade peanut butter. If you can make homemade peanut butter, you have full control over the sodium levels and unnecessary additives or preservatives. Of course, the quality will also be top-notch. 

If you don’t have a good recipe for peanut butter crackers, check out this easy peasy recipe here! It’s not only dog-friendly but has all organic ingredients. Simply take a dollop of this peanut butter and spread it over salt-free wheat crackers to feed to your dog.

Conclusion:

Evidence points to the fact that peanut butter, the delicious ingredient in a peanut butter cracker sandwich, is a great source of essential micronutrients, proteins and energy. It can keep your dog’s coat shiny because of vitamin-K; it’s also drool-worthy and can help your dog swallow bitter medication. You can also feed peanut butter crackers as treats and rewards.

The only caveat is that it must not contain xylitol. Read the ingredient label in case of a commercial, store-bought treat box, to know the actual contents of such products. You should be aware of any medical conditions that your beloved dog may have, such as allergies, diabetes, cardiac disorders that may not allow him to consume peanut butter crackers.

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