We add butter into or onto so many different types of food basically because it tastes so good. Butter quickly helps to improve the flavor of other bland foods such as bread and rice.
This means that many of the human foods you offer your dog contain butter. This may lead you to wonder – can dogs eat butter?
In this article, we will explore why butter is detrimental to your dog’s health, how to avoid feeding butter to your dog, and if there are any alternatives to butter worth trying instead.
In this article, we will discuss:
- Is butter toxic for dogs?
- Why is butter bad for dogs?
- What happens if a dog eats too much butter?
- Signs & treatment of pancreatitis in dogs
- When is it okay for your dog to eat butter?
- What are the signs of high cholesterol in your dog?
- Can your dog eat butter alternatives?
Yes, dogs can eat butter in moderation, occasionally.
Butter is primarily saturated fat, a dairy product that can cause some dogs digestive issues if lactose intolerant.
Is Butter Toxic For Dogs?
Although incredibly tasty and a huge part of the western diet, butter is, of course, not considered a particularly healthy ingredient for people to be consuming in the quantities that we do. This doesn’t mean that we don’t or can’t eat it, though.
The same goes for our pets. Butter is not considered toxic food when it comes to dogs. However, it is certainly not good for their long-term health, and we are advised not to feed butter or human food products with high butter content to them at all.
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Your dog can and will, despite this advice, consume butter if he has the opportunity, and many people won’t think twice before offering their dog a piece of croissant at breakfast or some buttered toast from their plate.
Why Is Butter Bad For Dogs?
It is essential to understand why butter is so bad for your dog because this is what will hopefully persuade you to be more stringent when it comes to choosing what you offer your dog outside of their regular dog-friendly meals.
The main fact about butter that makes it so detrimental to ours and our dogs’ health is the incredibly high-fat content. Real butter contains 12 grams of fat per tablespoon.
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When you consider that an adult dog weighing an average of around 30 pounds should only be consuming 14 grams of fat per day, a tablespoon of butter tips them over their daily fat allowance when you include the fact that their ordinary dog food also contains.
You may think that adding a knob of butter to your dog’s food bowl isn’t going to make a difference, but if you do this regularly, then your dog will put on extra weight that he does not need.
This additional weight will lead to a whole host of health issues that could have been avoided had you not allowed your dog to overindulge.
What Happens If A Dog Eats Too Much Butter?
When your dog consumes too much butter regularly, you will start to see the negative effects on their general health.
Then further down the line, this could lead to more severe health conditions that will affect your dog’s quality of life and perhaps even cut it short.
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You may not even be aware of the daily amount of excess butter that your dog is consuming.
Just because you don’t add a knob of butter to their food bowl every day, it doesn’t mean that they are not consuming butter in other ways.
For example, if you regularly offer your dog human food titbits and leftovers, then your dog is not only lapping up the main ingredients such as cooked meat, toast crusts, and roasted veggies.
Can Dogs Eat Butter?
They are also consuming the butter that these foods have been cooked in, and the butter that these food have been topped with to make them taste even better.
Who doesn’t put a knob of butter on top of a bowl of cooked peas to melt into the dish and bring out the sweetness of the vegetable so that your kids will eat them more willingly?
This “invisible” butter content can add up and lead to your dog overeating butter over time. A universal health disorder amongst dogs that consume an excess of fat is pancreatitis.
The pancreas is an organ in the digestive system that releases enzymes to help break down food. Pancreatitis is a condition in which the pancreas becomes irritated by the overconsumption of fat.
When there is too much fat to break down, the pancreas is unable to produce enough of the enzymes fast enough to do the job, and this is what leads to inflammation, which can be extremely painful for your dog.
Signs & Treatment Of Pancreatitis In Dogs
If you are concerned that your dog may be suffering from pancreatitis, look out for the following signs, and consult your veterinarian.
- Lack or loss of appetite
- Irregular heartbeat
- Severe abdomen pain
It may not be immediately apparent that your dog is experiencing abdomen pain. You should see your dog seeming restless or finding it difficult to get comfortable, hunching their back, or crying out loud when touched.
When you observe these signs, you should take your dog to see a vet as pancreatitis is very painful and needs treatment. In the hospital, pancreatitis is treated with IV fluids and pain relief.
Once your dog has experienced pancreatitis once they will usually be put onto a low-fat diet, and they will stay on this diet for the rest of their lives.
This is because even the slightest increase in fat, for example, a small number of table snacks, can result in a relapse.
When Is It Okay For Your Dog To Eat Butter?
It is never recommended to feed your dog butter. Even if your dog is fit and has a healthy heart, cholesterol is still a significant concern, and butter has 31mg of cholesterol per tablespoon, which is a massive amount, especially for a dog.
There are a few factors that can increase your dog’s perceptibility of the effects of high cholesterol levels, for example, the breed of your dog, and if your dog has any underlying health conditions such as diabetes, adrenal disease, or hyperthyroidism.
Dogs that have a metabolism problem or suffer from obesity can also have adverse effects from the high cholesterol levels of butter.
What Are The Signs Of High Cholesterol In Your Dog?
Veterinarians refer to high cholesterol as hyperlipidemia, which translates to your dog having an excess amount of fat in the bloodstream.
The levels of fat in your dog’s bloodstream natural rise and then drop ten hours again after eating. If your dog’s fat levels remain high after twelve hours, then they are considered hyperlipidemic.
If you are wondering how you will know if your dog is hyperlipidemic, there are signs of high cholesterol that you can look out for.
Signs of high cholesterol in dogs:
- Decreased appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Cloudy eyes
- Fat deposits under the skin (these are lumps that are filled with a greasy substance)
If your dog does not suffer from a genetic predisposition or metabolic issue, then you can prevent high cholesterol only by not feeding your dog foods that are high in fat, such as butter.
Can Your Dog Eat Butter Alternatives?
When it comes to feeding your dog butter alternatives, you should first ask yourself why you feel it is necessary to find a butter alternative in the first place.
If you are looking for a delicious treat for your dog, then there are plenty of healthy foods that you can offer that you don’t have to contain any butter alternative.
Even if you are looking for a way to entice your dog to eat a portion of bland dog food that you have already bought, there are many healthier ways to do this, for example, fish oils or coconut oil.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that faux butter spreads are healthier than real butter and that it is okay to offer your dog a bit of your toast if it is spread with margarine or faux butter.
It is not healthy for your dog to consume bread in the first place. Margarine and faux butter are also just as high in fat and cholesterol as real butter, and they also contain many chemicals and preservatives.
It is much better to rely on high-quality dog food and natural treats such as fruit and vegetables, as long as they are safe varieties. Your dog will appreciate these just as much, and so will their health.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can dogs eat butter?
Yes, dogs can eat butter in moderation. Butter is primarily saturated fat, a dairy product that can cause some dogs digestive issues if lactose intolerant.
What happens if my dog eats a stick of butter?
If your dog ate the entire stick of butter, including the wax paper wrapper you should take your dog immediately to the Vet. Wax paper could block the intestine track and that amount of butter could cause pancreatitis.
Most baked goods include unhealthy ingredients like butter, sugar, salt. If your dog sneaks a cookie, he should be fine unless it has any ingredients that are toxic to dogs such as macadamia nuts, walnuts, Xylitol.
While it is very tempting to offer your dog human food titbits, don’t forget that these often contain ingredients that are unhealthy for your dog, such as butter, and these can add up very quickly without your realizing it.
Looking after your dog’s health is a much better way of expressing your love for them as you will avoid all kinds of health problems further on down the line.
This means that your dog will be able to live a full and enriched life with you free of suffering.