Can Dogs Eat Butter? What Dog Parents Need to Know

Can Dogs Eat Butter

While spreading creamy and rich butter on your toast, your pet canine may be begging for a taste with its puppy dog eyes. So you give in and give your pup a teaspoon of cow’s milk butter. However, should you be doing this? Is butter safe for dogs to eat? The answer is yes, dogs can eat butter, but the more important question is, should they?

Butter may not be toxic or poisonous to dogs but that doesn’t mean your pup should eat a whole stick. A lick or two of unsalted butter is fine, but anything more than this can cause a host of health issues in your dog. Why is this so and what should you do if your dog has chomped an entire tub of butter?

Read more to find out if butter is bad or good for your dog, and what you must do when it’s ingested in a large quantity.

Can Dogs Eat Butter?

Butter is a dairy product typically used as a spread to bread, or used in cooking and baking. It is usually made out of cow’s milk that has been churned, which is a process where the solid fats are separated from the liquid. Butter can also be made out of sheep or goat’s milk, but the most common is cow’s milk, which is the most prevalent and accessible.

It is completely safe for dogs to eat butter but only in small quantities. When consumed in large quantities or frequently, it can cause several health issues that include stomach upsets, vomiting, and even pancreatitis (will be discussed later).

Butter Nutritional Facts

There is much debate about whether butter is good or bad for humans. There’s a discussion about butter being high in cholesterol so it’s bad for humans who are at risk for heart disease and high blood pressure, while there are some proponents that say butter is good for humans because it contains high levels of calcium from cow’s milk.

Whether it’s good for humans or not, it’s a completely different discussion when it comes to dogs. Dogs have different bodies than humans and can’t absorb the same nutrients in butter compared to its nutritional benefits to humans. There are more drawbacks for dogs than benefits, but for the sake of information regarding the general nutritional facts of butter, here is a list of the nutrients found in 1 tablespoon or 14 grams of butter:

Calories = 102

Total Fat = 11.5 g

Vitamin A = 11% of RDI (Reference Daily Intake)

Vitamin E = 2% of RDI

Vitamin B12 = 1% of RDI

Vtiamin K = 1% of RDI

Butter also contains trace amounts of protein, Vitamin D, potassium, phosphorus, and sodium.

Butter is basically made of about 80% saturated fat, which is bad for overall health. This means only small quantities are ideal for consumption for both humans and dogs.

Dogs may beg for buttery treats

4 Reasons Why Butter is Risky for Dogs

Let’s discuss 4 reasons why butter is not ideal for dogs to eat.

Lactose Intolerance

Most dogs are lactose intolerant, which means they do not have the enzyme in the digestive system that is needed to break down the lactose content found in milk and other dairy products. Because of this, lactose remains in the stomach creating excess gas, which leads to several stomach issues, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.


Because of the high levels of saturated fat in butter, frequent or large butter consumption can increase your dog’s risk for obesity. When your dog is overweight, it puts him at a risk for several health problems, such as cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, joint problems such as arthritis, and other health issues.


Some butter products are not made of pure butter and may have added preservatives and ingredients that may be toxic to dogs. One of which is xylitol, which is an artificial sweetener that is known to be toxic to dogs, and consumption can be fatal.


Pancreatitis occurs in dogs when they have consumed a meal with high levels of fat. This disease causes the pancreas to be inflamed, which can be life-threatening.

What To Do If Your Dog Consumes a Large Quantity of Butter

Butter on bread – did your dog steal some?

If your dog has eaten a tablespoon or more of butter, here are signs you need to watch out for. If your dog shows any of these symptoms, you should bring your furry friend to the vet:

Loose Stools

Loose stools or diarrhea can be a sign that your dog is lactose intolerant. It could also mean your dog did not respond well to the butter and has caused it abdominal pain and stomach upset.

Vomiting and Loss of Appetite

These two signs are symptoms of pancreatitis, especially if they are accompanied by abdominal pain. Pancreatitis is a painful condition and if your dog is moaning with pain and not eating after having consumed butter, take it to the vet immediately.

Weight Gain

If you constantly feed butter to your dog and it has gained weight, as well as showing signs of lethargy, your dog may be suffering from high cholesterol levels and you need to have it checked by a vet.

Related Questions

Is butter bad for dogs?

Yes, butter is bad for dogs because it can cause several health issues such as stomach upset, increased risk for obesity, pancreatitis due to high levels of saturated fat, and risk for poisoning.

Can my dog eat salted butter?

Salted butter is double the risk because large amounts of sodium can lead to a dog becoming dehydrated.

Can my dog eat ghee instead?

Ghee is clarified butter with the lactose taken out. While it can be safe for consumption for lactose intolerant humans, dogs should stay away from eating it since it still contains high levels of saturated fat.

Butter is not toxic to dogs but just because it’s safe to eat, doesn’t mean your dog should. It is high in fat, which can lead to pancreatitis if your pup has eaten an entire tub of butter. It can also lead to stomach upset, which can include diarrhea, and if left untreated, your dog could suffer from dehydration, which can be fatal.

You can give your dog a small taste of butter or it can have a lick or two, but anything more than that can be a health risk. Yes, butter is delicious for both humans and dogs but they have no nutritional value for canines and pose a risk to your dog’s health. The best thing to do as a pet parent is to prevent your dog from consuming butter altogether.

Image Credits

Pexels – Butter

Unsplash – Dog wants butter

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