Dogs can be just as much work as kids when it comes to feeding the right foods!
Knowing what your precious pooch can and can’t eat is one of the most important things about being a dog owner. Although you can’t watch what your dog eats all the time, you’re the one in charge of his meals and snacks. And sometimes a particular food might seem okay, but turns out to be a big mistake.
Fortunately, there are lots of human foods that dogs can also eat. Many dog owners are surprised to learn just how varied their dog’s diet can be when they add in ‘people’ foods.
One food that you might not have considered feeding your dog is almond butter. Almond butter is a deliciously creamy spread made from ground almonds. We humans love it as a healthy alternative to dairy-based butter, and it’s a fantastic source of healthy fats and protein. But can dogs eat almond butter?
Is almond butter safe for dogs?
Yes and no. Dogs can eat small amounts of almond and some other nut butters—but only if it’s free from artificial additives. The odd sampling of pure, organic almond butter is quite safe and can be a yummy treat for canines. It’s easy for them to eat because it’s a smooth paste, and it contains a host of valuable nutrients and fatty acids.
With that said, large amounts of almond butter—even the pure kind—can be harmful. Almonds are high in fat, which can irritate the digestive system and lead to an upset tummy. Eating excess fat can also lead to unnecessary weight gain and possibly obesity.
Benefits of feeding your dog almond butter
When given in small amounts, pure almond butter is just fine for dogs. It even has some health benefits!
Almond butter contains important nutrients
Almond butter contains niacin, also known as vitamin B3. This nutrient is important for maintaining the health of your dog’s skin, hair, eyes, and liver. Almond butter also provides small but valuable amounts of Vitamin B6 and iron which support healthy red blood cells. There’s also calcium for strong teeth and bones and magnesium for proper muscle contraction and relaxation. Almond butter even contains some zinc, which is beneficial for your dog’s immune system defenses.
Almond butter provides antioxidants
Almond butter is also a good source of Vitamin E—much more so than peanut butter.. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals in your dog’s cells. It also supports his immune system and wound healing.
Another important antioxidant in almond butter is selenium. Along with fighting free radicals, selenium is a critical nutrient for the immune system. It works well with zinc, vitamin E, vitamin B6, and linoleic acid. Adequate selenium is necessary for the normal functioning of your dog’s immune system and thyroid gland.
Almond butter contains healthy fats
The monounsaturated fats in almonds are the same type of healthy fats that are found in olive oil. These fats are helpful in reducing inflammation, as well as supporting the integrity of skin and muscle cells.
The risks of giving your dog almond butter
Almond butter is generally made for humans, not dogs. This means that many almond butter products contain all sorts of added ingredients. The worst of these include sweeteners (natural and artificial), flavors, colors, and preservatives. These ingredients improve the taste for human consumers—but artificial additives are not good for dogs (or us, really!).
Xylitol is a particularly harmful additive that’s used in many human foods and health products. It’s a natural sweetener that can be a good alternative to sugar, but it’s highly toxic to dogs. Research shows that xylitol may lead to hypoglycemia, liver failure, and even death. It's incredibly important to read labels and watch for xylitol. Avoid serving it to your dog at all costs.
Alternatives to giving your dog almond butter
While there are good nutrients present in almond butter, it’s important to note that other foods contain much higher amounts. Almond butter shouldn’t be used as a primary source for any vitamins and minerals. Remember, it’s best to keep your dog’s almond butter intake to a minimum. That means a small amount on a spoon from time to time, or a dollop added to the top of his main meal occasionally. Don’t go feeding him half a jar!
Always check the list of ingredients in a jar of almond butter before serving it to your doggo. If there’s anything besides almonds, it’s probably not a good idea to feed it to him. After all, almond butter isn’t cheap—so it’s not exactly the sort of food you want your dog developing a taste for!
If you really want to give your dog something smooth and delicious, there are plenty of safe alternatives to almond butter. Try some mashed-up banana (in small amounts) or a blueberry puree. Make him a smoothie with goat’s milk and strawberries, or get creative with a mixture of fresh green veggies from the garden!