In the battle of the nut “butters,” which one reigns supreme? Many people are fans of the humble peanut, and their pooches would wholeheartedly agree. After all, what’s more classic than a peanut butter and jam sandwich? Today, culinary artists are elevating this standard breakfast and lunch bag classic to an entirely different status with peanut butter finding its way onto burgers and even into elegant desserts. When it comes time to slip a pill into your dog without Fido noticing, peanut butter is often the food that comes to the rescue. Simply coat the pill well with this sweet, sticky substance, and Fido hardly even notices the medicine that goes down with his tasty, peanut-y treat. But peanut butter isn’t the only nut-based butter in town. Almond butter is rising in popularity; perhaps largely precipitated by the growing number of people allergic to the delicious offerings of the peanut. Is almond butter good for your dog? Which nut butter takes top prize in the hearts and cupboards of American consumers—almond butter or peanut butter?
A Comparison of Nuts
Like its counterpart, the peanut, almonds are packed full of nutrition. A high source of lean protein, adding a handful of almonds to your daily diet is an excellent way to stay satisfied. However, as is also the case with peanuts, almonds have a high calorie count. For this reason; whether it is a human or a canine enjoying this delicious nut, moderation is key.
Neither almonds nor peanuts are toxic, but they are both high in fat. Since dogs in particular are prone to pancreatitis from consuming abnormally high fat foods, eating large amounts of any type of nut butter places your dog at risk for this painful condition which most often requires veterinary intervention to treat. But any nut butter is a double whammy when it comes to fat since the ground nuts are combined with oils to create that delicious creamy spread we have come to know and to love.
But it’s not just the fat content that can pose problematic for our dogs. Many nut butter formulations contain a substance called Xylitol. Xylitol is a plant-based alternative to sugar. Since many people and their pets find unsweetened nut butters to be unpalatable, sugars or sweeteners are added to round out flavor. Xylitol is often used in peanut or almond butters touted as “reduced-fat” or “calorie-reduced” options. However, Xylitol is toxic to dogs. Even a trace amount can trigger irreparable kidney failure in a dog. For this reason, you must very carefully read every label before purchasing any nut butter that you intend to share with your dog.
When it comes to both vitamins and minerals, nut butters pack a powerful punch. Among the things these powerhouse nutrients will do is improve your dog’s coat, skin, and nails. Almond butter also provides a significant source of calcium which will help to strength your dog’s skeletal system. Not to be outdone, peanut butter has many virtues of its own. Peanut butter is chock full of Vitamin E and is known to be a natural immunity booster.
Price point also affects consumer buying decisions. Almond butter is typically a far more expensive nut butter when compared to its more family-friendly cousin peanut butter. However, almond butter takes top honors in nearly all categories including being the spread which contains the most fiber, the healthiest fats, and the most vitamin and mineral enriched.
By comparison, peanut butter tops the charts in two areas: price and protein amounts. Still, in moderation, both are excellent choices for a snack…for yourself or for Fido!
Other Types of Nut Butters
It is important to note that there are many different types of nut butters but not all of them are suitable for canine consumption. Any type of nut can be made into a spread. However, peanut and almond butters are the only two that are considered to be safe options for your dog to enjoy as a snack or treat.
Macadamia nuts, walnuts, and pistachios are all nuts that can be made into butters but should never be fed to dogs. Macadamia nuts, in particular, are extremely toxic and could result in the death of your best canine pal. For best results, always stick to nut butters that are vet approved and safe for dogs to consume in limited quantities.
Side Effects of Too Much Almond or Peanut Butter
If your dog gets into your peanut or almond butter stash without your knowledge, there are some problems that could befall him. Here is a list of some of the most common symptoms dogs who have eaten too much of a safe nut butter experience:
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Excess gas
If you’re finding the room suddenly seems a little “bluer” than it did, your canine companion might be to blame. Dogs who consume too much peanut or almond butter will have a buildup of gas in their system leading to bouts of flatulence.
Consumption of a product high in fats can trigger pancreatitis, a health issue which causes the pancreas to become inflamed rapidly. If you suspect your dog may be suffering from this condition, it is important that you seek veterinary treatment immediately. Pancreatitis can be painful and life-altering, so time is of the essence.
What is an Acceptable Amount of Peanut or Almond Butter for a Dog?
Peanut or almond butter consumption should be regulated according to the size of your dog. As an average, you should limit the amounts of these nut butters to no more than one to two teaspoons per day.
Can Your Dog Safely Eat Peanut Butter or Almond Butter?
Yes, he most certainly can! Though both are nutritional powerhouses, research shows that almond butter takes the edge when it comes to the nut butter that provides the most health benefits for your dog. When it comes to taste, take your pick. You can’t go wrong!