Human foods, especially high-fat foods, have always been a hazard to dogs’ health. Instead of health benefits, they have been mostly associated with disadvantages. So, dog owners are worried about their dogs consuming a major fat source, butter. Will butter hurt the dog? or is it safe if a dog eats some of it in small quantities?
Can Dogs Eat Butter?
Whether one can let a dog eat butter or not cannot be answered in a Yes or No. While consuming butter is not bad in the sense that it does not contain any toxic components, it’s not healthy either. High-fat content and calories make it unsafe for the dogs. So even when one says butter has healthy fats in it, it’s still not safe to add it to the dog’s diet.
Are All Varieties Unsafe?
When feeding your dog, we recommend avoiding all types of butter. All varieties of butter obtained from animal sources, in particular, should be avoided because they are high in lactose and saturated fats. Plant-based butter or vegan butter, on the other hand, are better for dogs since they contain unsaturated fats or good fats. If fed in small amounts, almond butter is the healthier choice between peanut butter and almond butter. Although most dogs enjoy peanut butter, store-bought varieties should be avoided since they may contain preservatives and artificial sweeteners such as Xylitol, which are toxic to dogs.
A canine’s favorite food is buttered bread. If your dog is sensitive to gluten in bread or lactose in butter, you should be very careful when feeding it to him. Whether it’s salted butter or unsalted butter, it’s still a butter high in fat contents therefore, should be avoided altogether. Even though cocoa butter is a plant-based butter, it should never be given to your dog. It contains theobromine, a chemical that can cause toxicity in dogs, although it is present in little concentrations in butter.
Is Margarine Bad for Dogs?
Margarine is generally considered a better option than butter because it is based on vegetable oil, which is actually unsaturated fat and less harmful than butter’s saturated fat. But significant amounts of margarine are still harmful to the dogs. Such a high amount of fats can lead to an upset stomach and bloating in your furry friend. Moreover, margarine is loaded with different preservatives and chemicals which are harmful to the dog’s health. Therefore, such fatty foods should be avoided in your pup’s diet as much as possible.
Can Dogs Eat Ghee?
Ghee is the clarified butter. It can be fed in small amounts to lactose-intolerant dogs because all the milk contents are removed during the clarification of ghee. Many pet owners have noticed an improved body function after they added a little bit of ghee to their dog’s diet. It is rich in antioxidants and makes the immune system stronger. In addition, butyric acid in ghee is known to improve digestion. It also improves the health of the brain, eyes, and bones because it is rich in vitamin K. Ghee is also used as a topical agent or for giving a massage to the dog; it thus makes the fur coat and skin of the dog healthier.
Is Butter Bad for Dogs?
If a dog eats food having butter and seems to enjoy it, the dog owner needs to stop feeding him. Once a dog becomes addicted to foods that taste delicious, it becomes difficult to keep them away from him. Consider the following harms and choose something more nutritious for the sake of health benefits.
Butter is made by churning milk. Dairy products contain a carbohydrate called lactose in it. It does not absorb in the blood until an enzyme -- lactase breaks down. If a dog doesn’t produce lactase in its body, it is said to be lactose intolerant.
Undigested lactose is fermented by bacteria that produce gas, and as a result, the dog suffers bloating. It can also disrupt the dog’s digestive system causing stomach cramps, loose stools, and vomiting. If a lactose intolerant dog eats butter, he will suffer all these digestive system issues.
Can Dogs Eat Butter With Lactose Removed?
Lactose-free butter seems a better idea for most dogs, but they are still high in fats. Following reasons and their associated diseases exclude butter from the list of dog foods.
Too Many Calories
Butter has significant amounts of calories, almost 717 calories per 100 grams. With that being said, jars of butter can serve as high-energy foods for underweight dogs if they are not lactose intolerant. They can technically eat butter, but most healthy dogs are prone to:
If dogs consume more calories than they burn, they can become obese. Obesity doesn’t come alone; it brings a lot of other problems with it, such as increased risks of diabetes, cancers, and kidney stones. All of these contribute to a decreased lifespan.
Risk of Dementia
If dogs eat butter in large quantities or regularly, they can develop the risk of dementia in them. Dog’s dementia, also known as CCD (Canine Cognitive Dysfunction), has similar symptoms to that of Alzheimer’s disease in humans. Studies have shown that CCD is associated with the large contents of saturated fats in the blood in addition to the factor of aging. You will notice apathy, disorientation, dullness, confusion, irritability, and loss of appetite in your canine companion. All these symptoms show that your dog is mentally ill.
Too Much Fat
If your dog eats butter frequently, it’s not a good sign. You should be aware of the possible side effects that may appear with time. Too much fat, whether saturated or unsaturated, is likely to cause several diseases in dogs. The dog’s digestive system is unable to digest large amounts of fats, and it may lead to intestinal blockage, loose stools, or other gastrointestinal issues. Apart from digestive disorders, fatty foods also cause other problems like;
Increase in Cholesterol Level
High-fat diets like butter can cause hyperlipidemia in different dogs, the most common form of which is elevated cholesterol levels in the blood. High cholesterol levels will be the cause of weight gain in dogs and lead to various nervous and metabolic disorders. In some dogs, the digestive system cannot digest cholesterol and other fats efficiently; the resulting fats enter the bloodstream and combine with the proteins to form lipoproteins that can’t be broken down any further. It can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, blurry vision, hair loss, and seizures in severe cases.
Another reason that makes the butter bad for dogs is the risk of heart diseases. These cardiovascular diseases can be indirectly due to abdominal obesity or directly due to fatty plaque deposition in blood vessels or hypertension. Due to the large consumption of foods high in fats like butter, dogs become prone to the risk of heart attack, arrhythmia, and chronic heart failure. As an owner, you are responsible for the safety of your pet. Avoid any food that can harm his cardiac health because a healthy heart means a healthy dog.
High-fat diets have been linked to an increased incidence of numerous cancers in animals, including dogs, most important of which are prostate, mammary, and colon cancers. This is because the large amounts of lipids stimulate the growth of these cancers and are also involved in the rapid spread of the malignancies showing metastatic effects. In addition, although lipids are important in various cell metabolic pathways, too much lipid can harm the cell. This is because the tumor-suppressing genes are not expressed properly if a cell produces and accumulates large quantities of fats.
When fat accumulates in the body, it puts stress on the joints, causing the cartilage’s rubbing. Excessive rubbing can cause inflammation in the joints called arthritis. It can result in the degeneration of the cartilage leading to severe pain and stiffness. In addition, it can make the dog lose its temper several times a day. He says no to playing and exercising. Small movements can make him get irritated. Cold weather can make the condition even worse.
Remember that cartilage doesn’t restore easily. Usually, the rate of cartilage growing back is negligible. The only solution to arthritis is some painkillers that are temporary. So, don’t give your dog butter and high-fat foods to protect him against arthritis.
A study conducted at the Mayo Clinic at Phoenix showed that belly fat can result in acute pancreatitis. Though it was demonstrated in the human body, the same can occur in dogs. Increased inflammation can cause fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. The severe condition can cause death.
Risks of pancreatitis increase if a dog ate cocoa butter as cocoa has theobromine. Dog’s body is unable to metabolize this compound and end up developing pancreatitis accompanied by abnormal heartbeat and seizures.
My Dog Has Licked a Butter Wrapper; What to Do?
Most adult dogs eat butter or lick the wrapper and don’t show any symptoms of ill health. If a dog consumes a low-fat diet, one lick won’t harm them. Keep an eye on small dogs and take them to a veterinarian immediately as soon as they show lethargy or signs of stomach pain.
My Dog Ate Butter Stick, What to Do?
Pet dogs have the habit of eating away the owner’s food if you placed a stick of butter on the kitchen counter and went to take out something from the refrigerator and found no butter on the counter. If no one else’s home beside the dog, he is the only culprit of eating butter.
It might be fine after eating the whole stick of butter, but it can result in a potentially life-threatening condition for the pup. Moreover, if it was frozen, an entire stick of butter can also cause a choking hazard.
So a question of “How much butter can dogs eat?” doesn’t arise. It should be avoided at all costs. A dog occasionally eating a bit of butter is perfectly fine as long as he is not lactose intolerant.
Butter is neither toxic nor healthy. It doesn’t contain any toxic chemical compounds like chocolate and xylitol, but it also provides no nutritional value. Instead, it adds empty calories and a lot of fats to the dog’s nutritional chart.
A dog licking some butter occasionally might be fine, but it should not be made a part of the dog’s regular diet. Regularly adding butter to the food counts as a poor diet. Though eating regularly for a few days might be fine, it can give fatal results later on. If you love dogs and want them to stay healthy and fit, keep butter out of the dogs’ reach.