These days, it seems like there’s a “national day” for everything, from Alien Abduction Day to National Apricot Day. However, one of these unique days has grabbed the attention of the veterinary community and dog owners — National Peanut Butter Day.
Honored on Wednesday, January 24, this day recognizes this American food staple in most U.S. citizens' cupboards. However, it’s a little-known fact that peanut butter wasn’t popular until the 20th century, and before that, it was largely considered animal feed. This might explain why dogs go crazy for the creamy spread. Let’s explore the benefits of peanut butter for dogs, and why you don’t need to hesitate to give them a little taste when making your next PB&J. (Stay tuned because we have a special snack at the end!)
Packed with Vitamins
Peanut butter is safe for dogs to eat in moderation and serves as an excellent source of vitamins that help everything from muscles to eyesight.
Peanut butter includes:
- Vitamin E – Essential for maintaining healthy muscles, eyes, and skin, and can even help prevent arthritis.
- Vitamin B7 – Helps maintain healthy skin, coat, and nails.
- Vitamin B3 – Assists the metabolism of fatty acids and boosts brain function.
- Vitamin B9 – Promotes healthy fetal development.
Peanut butter also contains essential minerals that are important for a well-balanced diet. It contains magnesium, which aids energy production and, therefore, helps with difficulty walking, muscle pain, and seizures. Peanut butter also contains manganese, which dogs need to metabolize proteins and carbohydrates. Finally, it’s high in phosphorus to keep your dog’s bones and teeth strong.
What to Watch Out For
When treating your dog to a bit of peanut butter, reach for the unsalted or all-natural version. High sodium levels can lead to health issues, and the extra sugar in regular peanut butter is best avoided. Also, check ingredients for Xylitol, which some manufacturers have swapped for natural sugar. This can be life-threatening to dogs.
Following the 10 percent rule with peanut butter is a great idea, meaning treats shouldn’t comprise more than 10 percent of your dog's daily calorie intake – combined. So, if you’re also giving your dog treats for good behavior, their peanut butter intake should be very small. In addition, due to its high-fat content, too much can lead to health conditions like pancreatitis.
A Little Goes A Long Way
Chances are, your dog appears in the kitchen as soon as they hear the lid being twisted off a jar of peanut butter. Indulge them in a small taste without worry, or make them a special, healthy, safe treat!
Safe Homemade Peanut Butter Dog Treats Recipe
Treat your furry friend to something special with these easy-to-make, dog-friendly peanut butter treats! Packed with the goodness of peanut butter and made without xylitol, these treats are a safe and delicious snack for your pup. Remember, moderation is key to keeping your dog healthy and happy.
- 2 cups whole wheat flour (or substitute with oat or rice flour for gluten-sensitive dogs)
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1/3 cup unsweetened, natural peanut butter (ensure it’s xylitol-free)
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
- 1 egg
- Preheat Your Oven: Set your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Mix Dry Ingredients: Combine whole wheat flour and oats in a large mixing bowl.
- Add Wet Ingredients: Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients and add in the peanut butter, warm water, honey (if using), and egg. Stir until a dough forms. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour.
- Roll Out the Dough: Lightly flour your working surface. Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness.
- Cut-Out Treats: Use a cookie cutter (bone-shaped or any other fun shape) to cut out the treats. Re-roll and cut the scraps until all the dough is used.
- Bake the Treats: Place the treats on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until they are golden brown.
- Cool Down: Let the treats cool completely on a wire rack before giving them to your dog.
- Storage: Store the treats in an airtight container for up to a week, or freeze them for longer storage.
Always check with your vet before introducing new treats into your dog’s diet. Serve these treats in moderation, especially if your dog is not used to homemade snacks. With these homemade peanut butter dog treats, you’ll provide a tasty snack for your dog and the peace of mind that comes with knowing exactly what’s in their treats. Enjoy baking, and watch your dog’s tail wag in delight as they savor these homemade goodies!
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