Can Shih Tzus Eat Peanut Butter? Yes!

Can shih tzus eat peanut butter? A Shih Tzu licking their lips in front of a blue background

Do you feel guilty when your Shih Tzu watches you smear creamy JIF peanut butter on a freshly toasted piece of bread? Maybe you’ve considered — or even have — shared a tiny taste. But can Shih Tzus eat peanut butter? Is peanut butter even safe for dogs?

Yes, Shih Tzus can eat peanut butter. But, due to additives like Xylitol, not all brands of peanut butter are safe.

Aside from the toxic additive, the amount of peanut butter—plus your Shih Tzu’s stomach sensitivity—will determine if you should give your Shih Tzu peanut butter.

Here’s a breakdown to help you decide if peanut butter is right for your Shih Tzu.

  1. Xylitol in Peanut Butter Can Be Deadly In Dogs.
  2. Understanding Your Shih Tzus Dietary Requirements.
  3. Is Peanut Butter OK for Shih Tzus?
  4. Why is Peanut Butter Bad For Shih Tzus?
  5. What are the best treats for Shih Tzus?
Can Shih Tzus eat peanut butter? A brown Shih Tzu at home looking up at the camera

Xylitol in Peanut Butter Can Be Deadly In Dogs.

If you’ve ever questioned those hard-to-pronounce ingredients on a food label, you were right to do so. Today, human foods are packed with artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and fillers that don’t harm us but can be dangerous for our dogs.

Xylitol — a common sugar substitute in human foods — is highly toxic to dogs.

Often hidden in confusing names, like xylite, anhydroxylitol, 1,4-Anhydro-D-xylitol, D-xylitol, and xylitylglucoside, a small amount of Xylitol given to dogs can cause:

  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Liver Failure
  • Seizures
  • Diarrhea
  • Death

Sadly, Xylitol poisoning cases in pets more than doubled between 2015 and 2020 due to a massive increase in the use of Xylitol in foods.

Most peanut brands — including the big brands like JIF, Skippy, and Smuckers — don’t use Xylitol.

Signs to look for in Xylitol poisoning are:

  • Rapid breathing
  • A drastic change in pulse (weak or rapid)
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Trouble walking or standing
  • Change in body temperature
  • Pale gums

Call your veterinarian immediately if you see any of these signs in your dog.

Understanding Your Shih Tzu’s Dietary Requirements.

A whopping 56% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. While lack of exercise contributes, the most significant issue causing obesity in dogs is overeating. 

Overeating is usually considered too much food and not what it actually is, too many calories.

The suggested serving size of your dogs’ regular meals fulfills their daily caloric needs. Adding additional treats — which we all do — often puts our dogs in a calorie surplus.

Is peanut butter OK for Shih Tzus?

Peanut butter is a heart-healthy, fat-friendly nutritious food. 

With all three macronutrients — carbohydrates, protein, and fat — in one serving, peanut butter is full of healthy vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, B3, B6, folate, magnesium, copper, and manganese.

  • Vitamin E supports fat metabolism and cell function.
  • Vitamin B6 assists in immune response, gene activation, red blood cell and nervous system functions, regulates hormones, and generates glucose.
  • Magnesium supports muscle and nerve functions and is responsible for muscle energy production.
  • Manganese activates enzymes that help carbohydrates and proteins to absorb and digest.

Aside from vitamins and minerals, peanut butter is also rich in fiber and protein.

Snacks high in fiber are perfect diet foods since they cause you to feel full, while the amino acids in protein promote muscle development, tissue repair, and a healthy coat and skin.

How your Shih Tzu’s digestive system processes the peanut butter while maintaining a healthy diet will be the ultimate test.

Why is peanut butter bad for Shih Tzus?

Shih Tzus have sensitive stomachs. When introducing foods into your Shih Tzu’s diet, start small and observe how they process the new food.

Although it’s full of healthy fats, peanut butter should not be a regular fixture in your dog’s diet; consider it when hiding medication or for the occasional treat.

Depending on the size and exercise level of your Shih Tzu, their daily dietary needs are already small.

Adding a high-calorie treat can push your dog’s daily caloric intake into a surplus. A calorie surplus is when the number of calories consumed is higher than the number of calories burned, leading to weight gain.

The high calories are less concerning when fed in moderation or as a treat after a long walk.

Healthy snacks for Shih Tzus. A Shih Tzu staring at a small dog bone treat.

What are the best treats for Shih Tzus?

Fruits and vegetables are excellent healthy snacks you can provide your Shih Tzu daily.

Dogs love crunchy carrots, the sweetness of apples, a snap of green beans, cooling cucumber slices, or the creaminess of mashed sweet potatoes.

These fruits and vegetables are all low in calories and high in nutrients. 

Foods high in phytochemicals, like broccoli, berries, carrots, cantaloupe, and apples, may decrease the risk of developing certain cancers, heart diseasehypertension, and diabetes.

What vegetables are good for Shih Tzus?

  • Cucumber: Cucumbers are 96% water and low in calories, making them a refreshing and healthy snack for dogs — 4 calories per 1 ounce.
  • Zucchini: Zucchini is a healthy vegetable for dogs and is low in calories. It’s also a good source of vitamins A, B, and C — 5 calories per 1 ounce.
  • Carrots: Carrots are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber for dogs. They’re low in calories and a perfect way to keep your dog’s teeth clean — 12 calories per 1 ounce.

What fruits are good for Shih Tzus?

  • Watermelon: This juicy fruit is 90% water and is low in calories, making it a great summer snack for dogs. Be careful to remove the seeds before feeding watermelon to your dog — 9 calories per 1 ounce.
  • Strawberries: These low-calorie sweet berries are 91% water and a good source of fiber and protein — 9 calories per 1 ounce.
  • Cantaloupe: This sweet melon is also high in water content and low in calories — 10 calories per 1 ounce.

Some fruits, like cranberries, can also help if your Shih Tzu suffers from hypothyroidism. High in iodine, cranberries help produce the T4 hormone, which is suppressed in dogs with hypothyroidism.

Final thoughts.

We all want our beloved pups to experience the delicious foods we love. But, you should avoid high-calorie foods and focus on healthy fruits and vegetables.

So, when considering can Shih Tzus eat peanut butter, the real question is, should Shih Tzus eat peanut butter? In moderation, peanut butter is a high-protein tasty treat your Shih Tzu will enjoy.

Peanut butter is a great reward when training or hiding pills and medication, but so is watermelon.

Whether it’s a treat of peanut butter, fruits, or vegetables, any food you feed your Shih Tzu outside their regular diet should be in moderation. Test with small amounts, then gradually add more.

Does your Shih Tzu have a favorite treat? Share this article and what treat your Shih Tzu loves most.

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