★ 3 min read
Let’s talk about peanut butter. Is peanut butter bad for dogs, or OK for dogs?
Peanut butter is bad for dogs.
This may be upsetting news for some pet guardians. Peanut butter is popular for pilling medicine and stuffing dog treat toys. It’s fun to watch a dog eat peanut butter and it’s used as in ingredient in many dog treat products and supplements. But peanut butter is bad for dogs.
The good news is there other plant-based butters that are good for dogs. More about that later.
First I need to answer your questions:
1. Is peanut butter OK if it doesn’t contain xylitol, icing sugar, sugar or salt?
2. How about pure peanut butter?
3. Or organic peanut butter?
The answer to all three questions is NO. It doesn’t matter if you buy the highest quality, pure, organic peanut butter. Peanut butter is bad for dogs. Why you ask?
Because peanuts contain naturally occurring substances that are harmful to dogs:
- Phytic acid
Peanuts can also be a source of glyphosate residue, a synthetic carcinogen.
We need to talk about Aflatoxins, Peanuts and Peanut Butter
Is a peanut really a nut?
No, peanuts are not nuts.
Peanuts are seeds from the peanut plant. The peanut plant is in the same plant family as beans, peas and other legumes.
Peanuts are legumes.
Aflatoxins are naturally occurring toxic fungi. Crops such as legumes and grains (rice and other grains) are vulnerable to aflatoxin contamination. Aflatoxin contamination on legumes and grains can occur:
- On the live crop.
- During harvesting.
- During processing and milling of the crop (i.e. peanuts).
- And after you buy the product (i.e. peanuts, peanut butter).
Aflatoxins are toxic to humans, dogs and other animals.
Aflatoxins are classed as a carcinogen by the World Health Organization. Aflatoxins are not destroyed by cooking or exposure to other heat treatments.
Ingesting food contaminated with aflatoxins can cause acute severe intoxication (aflatoxicosis).
Immediate side effects of acute aflatoxicosis include:
- Kidney damage
- Liver damage
- Death, when not treated in time.
Long-term side effects:
- Liver cancer.
I’ve treated dogs for aflatoxicosis. It’s a complicated condition to treat and can have long-lasting health consequences. One of my client cases, a relative of the dog’s owner had given the dog a small amount of stale peanuts from the pantry. Those few peanuts were all it took to cause a terrible case of aflatoxicosis in a large breed dog.
A study tested peanut products over the span of 6 years (2011 to 2016). 42 percent of peanut products from the USA had contamination levels higher than acceptable safe levels.
About Lectins, Peanuts and Peanut butter
Lectins are natural carbohydrate-binding proteins present in a wide range of foods including:
- Other animal proteins
Only some lectins are harmful.
The lectins in peanuts are harmful to dogs and cats. Naturally occurring lections in peanuts cause and contribute to:
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Disruption of the gut and intestines
- Immune system disruption
- Inflammation in the body
- Autoimmune disorders including food allergies
Lectins in legumes (i.e. peanuts) are not disrupted or destroyed by heating, baking or cooking. Don’t give your dog homemade or store-bought treats that contain peanuts, or peanut better.
It’s safe to say peanuts and peanut butter are not safe for dogs.
We also need to talk about Phytic Acid
Phytic acid is another naturally occurring substance present in all plants. The amount of phytic acid varies per type of plant and plant component.
Peanuts are a “high-phytate” (phytic acid) food.
Phytic acid interferes with the absorption of iron, zinc and calcium. Over the long-term this can result in mineral deficiencies. The degree to which phytic acid may affect your dog depends on your dog’s situation. Sensitivities, vulnerabilities and the details of your dog’s diet.
Many foods contain phytic acid and provide invaluable nutritive support. But there are some phytic acid containing foods that cause more harm than good. Peanuts and peanut butter cause more harm than good for dogs and cats.
The last toxin we’ll talk about is Glyphosate
Glyphosate (RoundUp) is the most common herbicide used in the world. In 2015 the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen. Glyphosate
Since 2015 there have been many high profile suites have been filed against the manufacturer of glyphosate (Bayer – Monsanto). Monsanto recently lost a lawsuit covering an estimated 95,000 cases. As a result, Monsanto-Bayer must pay $10 billion to settle the suits. There are more cases waiting to be heard in-court.
Before planting the crop, glyphosate may be used to kill weeds. Before harvest time glyphosate applied to the crop speeds drying time. But not all peanut farmers use glyphosate.
Reduce your exposure to glyphosate residue. Buy organic peanut butter for yourself.
Don’t include peanuts and peanut butter in your dog’s diet. Replace the peanut butter with an appropriate alternative.
Dog Friendly, Healthy Alternatives to Peanut Butter
Your dog can still enjoy a small amount of plant-based butter as part of her diet. Choose one of the healthy plant-based butters I recommend (see below). Remember to choose 100% pure butters. Organic butters provide the best nutritive value:
- Almond butter
- Hazelnut butter (pure hazelnut butter, not cocoa and hazelnut butter)
- Pumpkin seed butter
- Tahini (sesame paste)
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Article and graphics by Karen Rosenfeld