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No, dogs should not eat butter but small amounts are generally not harmful. Butter is high in saturated fats, which can contribute to harmful conditions such as pancreatitis and obesity. Despite milk and most cheeses being safe in moderation for dogs, butter and buttery foods should be avoided.

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Caution: This food is generally considered risky by the veterinary community. Dogs should not eat this food and should be monitored for adverse effects.

Food Safety Safe when given rarely in small amounts.
Nutritional Issues High in saturated fats, salt contents
Potential Risks Digestive issues, obesity and pancreatitis.
Symptoms Vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, lack of appetite
Every dog is different. For specific feeding guidelines, including quantities and beneficial foods that are best for your dog, please consult your vet.

How Much Butter is bad for Dogs?

If your dog eats a small amount, like a tiny piece that fell on the floor, they should get by without any adverse effects.  More than a tablespoon and you may want to observe your dog for symptoms of intestinal discomfort.

Why is Butter Not Safe for Dogs?

Butter isn’t toxic for dogs, so they don’t run the risk of being poisoned. But butter is a calorically dense food, and since most of its calories are due to its fat content, it can cause issues. Short term effects would be pancreatitis, long term effects from butter consumption would be obesity and chronic digestive issues.

Signs Your Dog Ate Too Much Butter

  1. Vomiting is a common sign that a dog has consumed excessive amounts of fat, like that found in butter
  2. Butter can cause diarrhea in dogs, particularly worse if a dog is highly lactose intolerant
  3. Dogs may refuse to eat or show a decreased appetite if they have consumed too much butter
  4. Abdominal pain like bloating or cramping.
  5. Dogs may appear weak or lethargic if they are experiencing digestive upset or pancreatitis.
  6. In severe cases, consuming excessive amounts of fat can cause pancreatitis, which is a painful and potentially life-threatening condition in which the pancreas becomes inflamed.

What to do if Your Dog is Sick from Butter?

If your dog shows intestinal discomfort from eating butter, you can be vigilant and manage symptoms by providing water and easily digestible food. If you suspect pancreatitis, you should contact your local veterinarian immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Unsalted and unflavored popcorn is safe for dogs. However, it is best not to feed your dog buttered popcorn due to its high fat and sodium content.

  • Margarine is often touted as the healthier alternative to butter. However, it is still high in fat and can harm dogs.

About the Writer
Dan Greco , Dog Dad

Having been a dog dad for 5 years, I know how hard it is to make sure your dog gets the right nutrients and stays away from hazardous foods. With the help of a veterinarian who specializes in nutrition, I created this blog to help dog owners quickly access food information they need.

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About the Contributor
Dr. Hillary Wolfe , Veterinarian & Certified Food Therapist

Dr. Wolfe holds a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Kansas State University and holds nutrition certifications from the NAVC and CIVT. Her business, Tula Veterinary Nutrition, hosts online courses that teach owners how to cook for their pet for optimal health and longevity. Follow her on Instagram at @doctorwolfe.dvm for dog nutrition tips, recipes and insights.