Can dogs eat butter? Yes, butter is safe for dogs to eat, but just because it is edible for your dog does not mean it is healthy for him. Butter does contain vitamins A and B12, but its potential side effects, such as increased cholesterol levels, should not be overlooked.
Continue reading to find out why you should think twice about feeding your dog butter.
Is It Safe to Feed Butter to Dogs?
When it comes to feeding human food to dogs, one of the biggest fears of pet owners is the danger of poisoning. Butter isn’t toxic to dogs; therefore, it is safe for them to eat.
However, this does not mean that you should regularly include it in their meals. Can butter make a dog sick? Yes. If a dog has eaten butter excessively, it can make him ill and raise many health issues such as:
1. Unhealthy Weight Gain
Butter comes from the fat and protein components of milk. It has a high-fat content and is extremely loaded with calories. A 100 gram serving of butter contains about 50 grams of saturated fats and 700 calories.
If dogs consume too much butter, it can fatten them up, which leads to obesity. Gaining excessive weight may seem harmless at first. However, it contributes to the numerous developments of canine diseases such as diabetes and arthritis.
Hence, butter should be kept away from dogs, especially canines with problems maintaining a healthy weight.
2. Lactose Intolerance
Most adult dogs become lactose-intolerant as they reach maturity. Once puppies are weaned from their mother, their ability to break down lactose from milk gradually wanes.
As a by-product of milk, butter is considered a dairy product and contains significant amounts of lactose. Consuming it may trigger lactose intolerance in dogs and cause digestive upset.
Most common symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, flatulence, and bloating. Get your dog checked by the vet if he shows these signs.
3. Increased Cholesterol Levels
Butter contains 31 milligrams of cholesterol per tablespoon. This amount is extremely high, especially for dogs. It can alarmingly raise cholesterol levels, heightening the risk of cardiovascular diseases in dogs.
Dogs with metabolic diseases such as diabetes or hypothyroidism should not be given butter. Their conditions already make them vulnerable to heart problems. Adding fatty food into their diet elevates the danger.
Butter is high in fat, which is not good for your dog’s digestive system.
Pancreatitis refers to the inflammation of the pancreas. This organ in the digestive system is tasked with releasing enzymes that break down food.
Although pancreatitis can be treated, it can reoccur if affected dogs are fed even the smallest amount of fat. In rare cases, it can become a life-threatening disease as it may cause internal bleeding.
Does Butter Offer Any Health Benefits to Dogs?
Butter does have some health benefits to dogs, but these are scant at best. Some naturally cultured butter is rich in vitamins A and B12. However, these nutrients can be acquired from other healthier foods than butter.
Butter has meager health benefits and several drawbacks. If we go back to the main question, “Can dogs eat butter?” the answer is quite clear. It would be best if butter is not given to dogs.
How Much Is Too Much?
As we have mentioned earlier, serving large amounts of butter is bad for dogs. Keep in mind that when we say large amount, 1 tablespoon of butter is already considered too much since it contains 12 grams of fat.
A mid-sized dog weighing 13.6 kilos (30 pounds) needs around the same grams of fat per day.
So how much butter can a dog eat? A small slather of butter is already pushing the fat limit. Be sure to offer it to your dog in small quantities to safeguard him from the health problems we have stated earlier.
What Types of Butter Are Dangerous for Dogs?
Dog owners should be careful when sharing butter with their dogs. Some types of butter can cause more damage to your dog’s health because of the toxic ingredients they contain.
Can Dogs Eat Margarine?
No, margarine is bad for dogs. It is mistakenly regarded as a healthier alternative to butter; however, this is far from the truth. Margarine contains high levels of fat and cholesterol, just like butter. It is also full of preservatives and other unhealthy ingredients.
Can Dogs Eat Unsalted Butter?
Yes, dogs can eat unsalted butter, but in small amounts. It is a better choice than the salted variety, which is high in sodium. Letting your dog consume too much salt can result in kidney failure.
Can Dogs Eat Butter If Sweetened?
No, sweetened butter can be dangerous for dogs. Some brands use a sugar substitute called xylitol. This ingredient is highly toxic to dogs and may fatally lower their blood sugar levels. Without prompt vet care, xylitol-poisoned dogs may lose their life.
Can Dogs Eat Cocoa Butter?
No, cocoa butter isn’t safe for dogs. It is extracted from the chocolate liquid, which contains theobromine, which is toxic to dogs.
Mild side effects can range from vomiting and appetite loss. On the other hand, severe poisoning has many deadly symptoms, including tremors, seizures, and collapse.
Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter?
Yes, peanut butter is safe for dogs provided that it is sugar-free. Some sweetened peanut butter has xylitol, which can cause poisoning in canines.
It would be best to opt for homemade peanut butter as a dog treat. It is a safer option since you know what ingredients are used to make it.
Help! My Dog Ate Too Much Butter!
Did you find your dog eating a stick of butter? Be prepared to handle bouts of digestive problems, including vomiting and diarrhea, within a few hours. However, these issues will go away after 2–3 days.
If your dog is a small breed, he can be in danger of intestinal blockage. Symptoms of this life-threatening condition include bloating, abdominal pain, appetite loss, whining, and weakness. Take him to the vet clinic immediately if he shows these signs.
To alleviate your dog’s upset stomach, withhold his food for 24 hours. Make sure to give him small amounts of water while he fasts to prevent dehydration.
Stomach problems mean frequent potty accidents. It would be best to limit your dog’s access around the house. Keep him inside a room or a playpen so he will not eliminate in other areas of your home.
Changing your dog’s diet is often needed to help ease his tummy troubles. If your dog eats regular kibble, it will upset his stomach further. Thus, feed him bland food such as boiled chicken and white rice since this is more digestible.
Maintain this kind of diet until the symptoms of your dog’s digestive issue subside. Then slowly transition him back to his old diet since bland food does not offer sufficient nutrition.
If the symptoms persist for more than 3 days, bring him to the veterinary clinic for medical treatment. Also, an immediate vet check-up is needed if your dog ate butter while still in its wrapper, as it can cause life-threatening stomach obstruction.