Peanut butter has long been an easy treat for our canine friends. Who doesn’t get a good laugh out of watching their dogs lick peanut butter that’s stuck to the roof of their mouth, or smearing it on the bath tub so they don’t fuss while getting a bath? While most peanut butters are safe to feed to your dog, there are a few things you should keep in mind this National Peanut Butter Day.

Peanut butter can be a healthy, nutritious treat for dogs when given in moderation and made with dog-safe ingredients. Protein, healthy fats, vitamins B and E, as well as niacin (vitamin B3) are all present in peanut butter. While most peanut butters are safe for dogs, there are a few ingredients you should avoid. The most important ingredient to avoid is a sugar substitute called xylitol. While xylitol is harmless to humans and can even be found in products such as toothpaste, the chemical can be deadly to your dog. Xylitol causes your dog’s body to rapidly fire insulin, which causes a decrease in blood sugar, or hypoglycemia. Popular peanut butter brands that contain xylitol are Go Nuts Co., Krush Nutrition, Nuts ‘N More, P28 Foods, and Protein Plus PB — do not feed these to your dog!

If you have accidentally fed your dog peanut butter containing xylitol, take your pup to the veterinarian immediately and beware of symptoms such as weakness, collapse, staggering, poor coordination, seizures, pale gums, rapid breathing, weak or rapid pulse, or change in body temperature. On the way to the vet, you can rub corn syrup or maple syrup on their gums to help raise their blood sugar.

Additionally, choose a peanut butter that is unsalted and low in sugar. Some dogs have easily-upset digestive systems, and it’s best to avoid these ingredients to ensure they don’t become sick or develop weight-related illnesses.

When is too much peanut butter, or snacks in general for your pet? Follow is the 10% rule. Snacks should never make up more than 10% of your dog’s diet. So while peanut butter can be a fun and enriching occasional treat for your pet, to avoid health issues like pancreatitis and obesity, it is best to feed it in moderation.

Once you’ve chosen a safe peanut butter for your pet, follow this home recipe to make delicious peanut butter treats for your dog to celebrate National Peanut Butter Day!

    • Ingredients:
      • 1 cup whole wheat flour (or a gluten-free substitute if your dog has a sensitive stomach)
      • ½ cup creamy or crunch peanut butter
      • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce or mashed bananas
      • ¼ cup vegetable/chicken/beef stock or broth
    • Combine ingredients and cut into cookie or dog bone shapes!
    • Bake in the oven at 350’ for 18 minutes.

Peanut butter is just one of many tasty and nutritious treats for dogs that you may already have at home. Try these other dog-approved snacks, so long as you stick to the 10% rule: apples, bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, cranberries, cucumber, mango, oranges, peaches, pears, pineapple, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, celery, green beans, peas, and spinach!