This is a guest post by veterinarian and writer Dr. Jennifer Coates.
Dogs love peanut butter! But, as is true with many things in life, moderation is the key. The best way to indulge your dog’s taste for peanut butter is to use it as a treat rather than as a major part of his diet.
Treats of any sort, including those containing peanut butter, should only be given in small amounts over the course of the day. Weight gain and obesity are a huge health problem for dogs, so make sure not to overdo it. And don’t risk creating an imbalance in your dog’s diet by letting treats take center stage.
The good news for owners is that there are many healthy ways to satisfy a dog’s taste for peanut butter.
People eat peanut butter. Can owners make homemade treats for their dogs using peanut butter and other ingredients that they already have on hand? Of course! Homemade treats have the additional benefit of containing fewer additives and preservatives than do most store-bought foods, and owners can “tweak” the recipes to better fit their dog’s needs.
Here are a few excellent recipes for homemade peanut butter dog treats. Store any homemade treats in an airtight container in the refrigerator, or freeze them if you need them to last longer than a week or so.
2 tablespoons oil
½ cup peanut butter
1 cup water
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 ½ cups white flour
Preheat the oven to 350° F (175° C).
Combine oil, peanut butter, and water. Mix in flour, 1 cup at a time, until it forms a dough. Knead the dough into a firm ball and roll to ¼ inch thickness. Cut into 3 to 4 inch pieces. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Makes 2 ½ dozen cookies.
2 ½ cups whole wheat flour
½ cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons peanut butter
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350° F (175° C).
Whisk together the flour, eggs, pumpkin, peanut butter, salt, and cinnamon. Add water as needed to help make the dough workable, but the dough should be dry and stiff. Roll the dough until it is about a ½ inch-thick and cut into ½ inch pieces. Bake until hard, about 40 minutes. Makes about 25 treats.
1 to 1 ½ cups flour
¾ cup oatmeal
¼ cup wheat germ
¼ cup crunchy peanut butter
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup honey
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup water
Preheat oven to 325° F (165° C).
Combine all ingredients and mix on low until blended. Form into tablespoon-sized balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten balls to ¼ inch thick using tines of fork. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Makes about 20 cookies.
1 banana, peeled
1 cup oat flour
⅔ cup rolled oats
½ cup dried parsley
3 tablespoons peanut butter
1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 300°F (150° C).
Put banana in a large bowl and use a spoon or potato masher to mash it thoroughly. Add oat flour, oats, parsley, peanut butter, and egg and stir well to combine. Set aside for 5 minutes.
Roll mixture into 24 balls, using about 1 tablespoon dough for each; transfer to a large parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Use the back of a spoon or the heel of your hand to press each ball into a 1 ½ to 2-inch disk. Bake until firm and deep golden brown on the bottom, 40 to 45 minutes. Set aside to let cool completely. Makes 2 dozen.
Commercially-Available Peanut Butter Treats
For owners who don’t have the time or inclination to make homemade treats for their dogs, there are many commercially-prepared peanut butter treats to pick from. Everything from traditional biscuits to bones, hooves, rawhides, and rubber toys filled or flavored with peanut butter are available. Here is a sample of what can be found locally or over the internet.
Castor & Pollux Organix peanut butter flavor dog cookies are all natural and contain 95% organic ingredients. They are low in calories at only about 8 calories per treat and can be broken into smaller pieces when necessary. This makes them ideal for training, rewarding good behavior, or in any situation where you find yourself giving a lot of treats throughout the day.
Organic Chicken, Organic Peas, Organic Brown Rice, Organic Oats, Organic Barley, Organic Chicken Fat naturally preserved with mixed Tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), Natural Chicken Liver Flavor, Organic Natural Peanut Butter Flavor, Organic Flaxseed, Rosemary Extract
Zuke’s makes a similar product; their Peanut Butter n Berryz Mini Bakes are very small biscuits that are also less-likely than other, larger treats to cause weight gain when fed frequently. They have only 5 calories per biscuit and can be broken in half for even more guilt-free feeding. They are all natural and contain no wheat, corn, artificial flavors, or by-products.
Ground Oats, Rice Bran, Peanut Butter, Blueberries, Potatoes, Oat Fiber, Blackstrap Molasses, Oil Blend (sunflower, olive and canola), Natural Vegetable Flavors
For dogs that are at risk for joint problems like osteoarthritis, a peanut butter treat that contains glucosamine can be a much anticipated delicacy while also helping to maintain joint health and mobility. NutriVet’s Hip & Joint Level 1 Peanut Butter Wafers are an excellent choice in these circumstances. They come in small, medium, and large sizes to fit all breeds.
Glucosamine Hydrochloride (from shellfish)
Brewers Dried Yeast, Chicken Meal, Distillers Dried Grains with Solubles, Dried Cane Molasses, Dried Egg Product, Dried Skimmed Milk, Fish Meal, Ground Peanuts, Ground Whole Wheat, Malted Barley Flour, Poultry Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Salt, Sodium Metabisulfite (Dough Conditioner), Wheat Flour, Wheat Germ Meal
Longer Lasting Treats
Kong Dog Toys
The Kong Company makes a peanut butter paste as well as human grade peanut butter in a tube that can be squirted into their nearly indestructible rubber toys.
You can get fancy and stack different treats in a Kong, or go straight PB. After filling it up, put it in the freezer. It’ll keep your dog busy for a long time.
In conclusion, there is a peanut butter dog treat out there that is right for almost every dog and every situation. Why not pamper your pooch today?