Butter is a condiment that can elevate the flavor of the simplest to the fanciest dishes you prepare. When added to toast, it is comfort food, and when added to steak, it is a rich delicacy enjoyed by many.
Like you, your furry friends also enjoy the high-calorie, salty and tasty condiment. So much so that they would not miss an opportunity to wolf down some butter when you are not looking.
But does butter have a place in your dog’s diet? Does it provide them with any nutrients? What do you do when faced with the issue of – a dog ate sticks of butter with a wrapper? Let us get some answers.
What is Butter Made From?
Butter is traditionally made from churning cows’ milk or cream. It contains about 80% of milk fat. There are also low-fat versions of the condiment available in the market. But even they have 40% milk fat in them. Butter is a high-calorie food. Did you know 100 gm of butter can contain over 715 calories?
There are salted and unsalted versions available. In addition, one can make it from the milk of other animals like sheep, goats, or buffalo.
You may have also come across the product nut butter, but know that they have no relation to the traditional butter. Nut butter is made by blending nuts like almonds, walnuts, peanuts, or cashew with water. You can then spread the paste on a toast like normal butter. Unfortunately, these kinds of butter are also high in fat content.
Is Butter Toxic for Dogs?
No, butter is not toxic for dogs. Milk is the core ingredient required for making butter. As the condiment is a dairy product, your dog may be intolerant to butter.
The product is high in saturated and trans fat. It is low in protein and contains minor amounts of calcium and phosphorus. So, there are no real health benefits of giving your dog butter.
A little lick now and then may not harm your dog, but it certainly does not mean the dog gets free reign to eat a whole stick of butter.
Should You Give Butter to your Dogs?
Delicious but high-fat and high-calorie is what describes butter the best. As we have seen above, butter is not toxic for your dog. A small amount may not harm them, but does that mean butter deserves a place in your dog’s diet?
Here are reasons you should not be giving butter to dogs.
Weight gain in dogs is a growing problem. An unhealthy diet is a major contributor to the issue. For example, if you regularly include plain butter or food prepared using butter in your dog’s diet, it can negatively affect their health.
The same goes for unsalted or reduced-fat butter. Yes, the fat content is reduced but still high for your pet.
One should monitor obesity in dogs as it brings along a host of other risks. For example, obese dogs have a higher probability of developing health concerns like hypertension, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and cancer.
2. Digestive Issues
Milk-based products are one of the leading food allergens in pets. Dogs, especially adults, cannot produce the enzyme known as lactase, which is essential for digesting dairy products. So when you regularly feed the dog butter, or it gets its hand on a stick of butter, it can lead to an upset stomach.
The pancreas is responsible for producing enzymes that aid digestion. Most of the fat in your pet’s diet is processed by its pancreas. The more fat it consumes, the more its pancreas has to work. The over-working organs can get inflamed, and the resulting health condition is known as pancreatitis.
If your dog develops pancreatitis, you may notice symptoms like vomiting, fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain, among others.
How About Peanut or Almond Butter?
Nut butter has become famous in recent years. Peanut butter has become a staple in every home. Almond butter has earned the reputation of being the healthiest nut butter available.
It should be ok to give your dog these nut butter as a treat once in a while. However, please note that these types of butter are still high in fat and salt. So, moderation is necessary. If you eat nut butter, do not let the dog lick clean your spoon every day.
An important consideration from your end, read the ingredient list to ensure there are no artificial sweeteners like xylitol. Even small quantities of these sweeteners can cause serious health issues in dogs.
Dog Ate Stick of Butter With Wrapper – What Can Happen?
If your dog has found itself a whole stick of butter and scoffed it down along with the wrapper, then you need to look out for symptoms. If your dog’s condition worsens, a trip to the vet might be unavoidable.
Here are symptoms your dog can show on consuming large amounts of butter.
Butter can irritate your dog’s stomach. If it has difficulties digesting the butter, the dog is likely to throw up. It might also show signs of stomach pain.
Keep the pet in a separate space where you can clean up the vomit easily. Vomiting can lead to dehydration, so ensure the dog’s water bowl is full.
Please do not give them any food for a few hours. Overloading the digestive system can further worsen the situation. If the vomiting persists, give your vet a call.
Loose or runny stools are another symptom to watch out for. If your dog is lactose intolerant, then diarrhea, bloating, and stomach pain are some of the first symptoms that you will notice.
Take the dog outside. Expecting them to hold their poop when they are suffering from diarrhea would be futile.
Like in the case of vomiting, diarrhea can leave the dog dehydrated and tired, so have water ready. Once your dog’s condition settles, it would be best to feed them a diet that goes easy on the digestive system – for example, plain, well-cooked chicken and rice.
3. Loss of Appetite
The high-fat content in the butter can irritate your dog’s stomach. Consuming way too many calories in one go can make your dog feel uneasy. If the condiment has not left the body, either through vomiting or pooping, it will sit heavy in the stomach, causing your dog discomfort.
Their digestive system might be working overtime to break down the fats. Thus, the dog may seem tired and refuse to eat even its favorite food.
When your dog eats something quickly or more than required, it might feel nauseous. However, it cannot tell you that it feels queasy or sick. So, nausea presents itself in different ways in dogs.
For example, the dog might be restless, or it may excessively drool or lick. Nausea is often accompanied by the signs mentioned above.
If the dog’s condition does not improve, it is best to take a trip to the vet’s clinic.
5. Intestinal Blockage
If the butter wrapper is made from wax paper, the item might pass through the dog’s digestive system and come out as poop. This, though, might not always be the case.
If you have a large dog, it may be better able to handle the wrapper material. If you have a smaller dog, the wrapper might cause intestinal blockage. If the dog has a swollen tummy, is constipated, is refusing to eat, and has lethargy, the vet can find the source of the issue.
For example, an ultrasound or X-ray can find the location of the blockage. The dog might likely need surgery to eliminate the blockage.
What to Do Next?
If your dog ate a sticks of butter with the wrapper, monitor them for any physical or neurological symptoms.
If you catch your dog in the middle of eating, take the butter away from them immediately. Do not let them scoff down any remaining product. Try to measure how much butter they have already consumed. This information can help the vet decide on treatment options.
If the pet shows symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, lethargy, and abdominal pain, then consult with your vet. If possible, take the butter packaging to the vet. The ingredient list can help the vet determine what is wrong with your dog.
Some dogs might experience slight discomfort or not show any symptoms at all. They might be able to tolerate that amount of butter. Please note, though, that do not consider this as a sign to feed your dog butter. It is still a condiment that should be kept away from dogs.
What Treatment Options Are Available?
If the butter has been sitting in your dog’s stomach for less than four hours, the vet might induce vomiting. However, please do not try to induce vomiting on your own. It may worsen your pet’s health.
Antidiarrheal agents or probiotics might be prescribed to soothe diarrhea and better intestinal health.
If your pet is dehydrated, the vet may give it an intravenous drip to regain its fluid levels.
In case of severe intestinal blockage, your dog might need to have emergency surgery.
Why Should You Think Twice Before Sharing Food with Your Dog?
Human foods like butter, sweets, candy, or fatty meat, do not have a place in your dog’s diet. You might think that your dog might enjoy food cooked with butter as you do. But a dog’s palate is not as sophisticated as a human’s. The pet will not be able to tell the subtle richness apart in its food.
These high-fat foods can unnecessarily pressurize your dog’s digestive system. In addition, a long-term unhealthy diet can affect your dog’s overall health and longevity. Thus, it is best not to feed table scraps to your dog.
If you have questions about their diet, talk to your vet, who can recommend healthy dog food available in the market and alternative home meal options.
Dog ate a stick of butter with the wrapper? Now you know what to do next.
If there is any butter left, take it away from the dog. Next, monitor the dog’s behavior and watch out for symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, swelling, lethargy, nausea, and loss of appetite. Then, contact your vet; they can decide on further treatment options.
Do not keep butter lying around. If your dog is in the process of obedience training, it is best not to cook around them. Ensure your dog cannot easily get to the pantry; keep it locked.
Heather Abraham is a professional blogger who owns two dogs, a cat, a parrot, and a leopard gecko. She has a connection with animals since she was a child. She shares her love for all pet breeds and provides information on pet food, toys, medications, beds, and everything else.
She is committed to learning about the internal workings of animals. Her work permits her to work closely with knowledgeable vets and obtain practical expertise in animal care. When she is not working, her love of animals continues in her writing. Her goal is to educate and uplift readers who also have a passion for animals through her writing.