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My Dog Ate A Stick Of Butter! Should I Panic?

Key Takeaways

  • Although butter is not toxic to dogs, consuming large amounts can lead to serious health issues like pancreatitis.
  • If a dog accidentally consumed butter, especially along with the wrapper, you should watch for signs of distress such as lethargy, vomiting, or diarrhea. Take your dog to the vet if these symptoms are present.
  • Dogs with pre-existing medical conditions like lactose intolerance, pancreatitis, diabetes, and obesity should not be fed butter because of its high fat content.

If a dog ate a stick of butter, he will likely be okay. Butter is not toxic to dogs, but if consumed in large amounts, he may be at risk for medical issues such as pancreatitis. Pups with lactose intolerance may also get stomach upset from butter no matter the amount.

I trained my dogs not to beg or just take stuff they shouldn’t. But even the most cautious dog owners, like me, has likely found that their pup has gotten into the trash or stolen a food item once or twice. And even the most well behaved dogs have a way of getting into things they shouldn’t. But what if that is an entire stick of butter? Should you be worried? Learn what repercussions to your dog’s health there may be if your dog ate a stick of butter and when you should contact your veterinarian.

Note: if your dog is not acting normal or is showing adverse symptoms, quit reading and contact your vet now!

Why Would My Dog Eat Butter?

Many animals, dogs included, gravitate towards high-calorie foods. Wild animals know food scarcity quite well and stock up on calorie reserves to sustain them through lean times. While domesticated pets are accustomed to getting enough to eat, these primal instincts are part of their nature.

Besides that, butter often has a saltiness to it, which dogs find delicious!

Is it Bad if a Dog Eats Butter?

This is often the first question a person will ask themselves if they realized that their dog consumed butter when they weren’t looking. Being a common household staple like many foods, a cute yet conniving carnivore may find one lying around and steal it out from an unsuspecting owner. We know that many human foods, like chocolate and onions, are bad for our pets [1], but what about butter?

Butter on bread.

We all know that butter is a dairy product made by churning cream. So, is butter bad for dogs? Well, butter has a high-fat content like its plant- and oil-based counterparts such as spreads and margarine. Anything this high in fat will be harmful to canines and humans alike when consumed in large quantities. Fats are the most calorie-dense foods. These in particular average between five to eight hundred calories per 3.5 ounces (100 grams)!

Foods with high caloric content are not always bad and have their place as long as they are used in moderation and are part of a balanced diet. Keep in mind that many vitamins necessary to sustain normal body function and metabolism need fats to be absorbed into the body, such as the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Likewise, important antioxidants like Omega 3, 6, and 9 are fat-based. If you are wondering how you can give your dog complete dog nutrition, the best fresh dog food in the market today offers customizable meals.

Therefore, butter is not inherently bad for a dog, but it’s not necessarily good for them, either. It is edible food, so it’s not like your dog ate cocoa butter that could potentially be laden with chemicals. However, I would still not add it to my dog’s diet. Being high in calories, large amounts of it over time will cause the dog to gain weight and lead to obesity—a growing concern for humans and pets alike. Like their human counterparts, dogs that are obese are predisposed to diseases like arthritis and diabetes.

Butter in white bowl.

Besides the weight issue, dogs often have difficulties processing dairy because most of them are lactose intolerant. Lactose, the naturally-occurring sugar in milk and other dairy products, can cause bloating, upset stomachs, and loose stools or diarrhea. Therefore, large amounts of dairy in adult dogs are unhealthy for their digestive system. While puppies thrive on their mother’s milk, this is not the same.

Finally, a sudden increase in fat consumption can lead to inflammation of a dog’s pancreas. This condition, known as pancreatitis, is not only painful but can be fatal. Symptoms include not wanting to eat, vomiting, and stomach pain. While the first two symptoms can be easy for you to spot, the third may not be so obvious. If you notice these symptoms, you need to take your pet to the vet as soon as possible to rule out this condition or get it treated before it progresses.

If you happen to offer your dog human food from time to time, and this includes butter spread on foods, be aware that some of the foods that it’s traditionally spread on could also be harmful to your pet. For instance, small amounts of toast or bread are acceptable, but an entire cob of corn is not.

Can Eating Butter Kill My Dog?

Unwrapped butter.

If your dog ate a stick of butter, it is doubtful that she will die. Unlike foods like certain nuts or grapes, butter is not toxic to dogs. Dogs eating butter isn’t odd, but even in moderate amounts may cause an upset to their digestive system especially to those that are lactose intolerant. If your dog ate a considerable amount, consult your veterinarian to see what he says about the situation, just to be safe. While unlikely, pancreatitis is a concern and needs to be dealt with immediately.

When Should I Be Worried About My Dog Eating Butter?

If you think your dog ate a stick of butter, there are some steps you should take:

  • Remove any other butter or foods in the vicinity of your pet.
  • Try to determine exactly how much butter the dog ate.
  • If you don’t know exactly when the dog ate the butter, try to narrow it down.
  • Call your vet and give them all of the information you know about the dog eating butter and anything else he may have ingested along with it. 
  • Follow your veterinarian’s advice.

Depending on the breed and size, as well as if a dog suffers pre-existing conditions, your vet may recommend you to bring your pup in to be checked. For some larger breeds or otherwise healthy animals, your vet will likely instruct you to keep an eye out for signs of trouble, such as issues with the digestive system. For example, if you notice your pet not wanting to eat, acting lethargic, or experiencing vomiting or diarrhea, these are causes for concern and enough reasons to take him into the vet’s office. Most symptoms will occur within four hours of ingestion, so be especially vigilant during this time. 

What Can My Vet Do if My Dog Ate a Stick of Butter?

If the dog ate a large amount of butter, your veterinarian might have to induce vomiting to reduce any adverse impact to the animal’s digestive system and hopefully avoid a more severe issue like pancreatitis.

If your pet consumed the butter within four hours of the office visit, inducing vomiting could be accomplished with an injection. Making a dog vomit will help remove the butter from the digestive tract and prevent further complications. However, you should never induce vomiting in your dog at home, as in some cases, it can be harmful. 

If it has been more than four hours since the dog ate butter, inducing vomiting will not help. This is because the food has already made its way well into the digestive system. Most dogs will be okay or may just have an upset stomach. 

If your pooch is known to have digestive issues or even just a sensitive stomach, the symptoms may be more severe. If this is the case, medical intervention may be necessary, which is why it is imperative to keep a close eye on your furry friend.

A clinical evaluation will allow the veterinarian to assess for dehydration, pain, fever, or any other problems that the excess fat may cause. For example, if pancreatitis is suspected, there may be a need for some blood tests. In worst cases, admission to an animal hospital may be necessary so that a professional can administer medications to help relieve nausea and pain. If your dog has become dehydrated, she may need an intravenous drip.

The good news is that dogs eating butter is generally not serious, and most animals recover quickly! If you are at all concerned, getting your beloved pet the help she needs immediately is the right course of action.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dogs Eating Butter

A dog eating anything unexpected can cause anxiety in loving pet owners. Here are some of the common questions regarding a dog eating butter:

What will happen if a dog eats a whole stick of butter?

It’s usually not a massive cause for concern if you discovered that your dog ate a whole stick of butter, especially if you have a large dog that is otherwise healthy. That said, eating a large amount of fat can cause stomach discomfort, vomiting, diarrhea, and in some instances, pancreatitis. Contact your vet immediately if you have a smaller dog or one with known health issues.

How much butter can a dog eat?

Butter should not be a staple in a dog’s diet, nor should you feed your dog butter regularly. Small amounts here and there are not likely to cause harm. Be aware that most dogs are lactose intolerant, and high amounts of fat can lead to obesity and other serious health issues.

Is butter poisonous to dogs?

Unlike foods like grapes, certain nuts, onions, and other foods that are poisonous to dogs, butter is not.

What if my dog ate a stick of butter with the wrapper on it?

In this scenario, a large breed dog eating a butter stick in a wax wrapper will likely get rid of it naturally. However, if a tiny dog consumes butter with wrapper or the wrapper is made from a different material like foil, you will need to watch the animal closely for signs of intestinal blockage. As it is a choking hazard, check that your dog’s throat is not blocked and he is breathing normally.

My dog ate butter, and now she’s throwing up and has diarrhea. What should I do?

Call your veterinarian. Let him know how much butter the dog ate and when. Depending on the situation, the vet will likely tell you to keep a close eye on your pet but may have you bring her in for evaluation.

All my dogs eat butter if offered, so I use it to give them pills. Is this okay?

Dogs can be finicky when it comes to taking medicine, and desperate pet lovers everywhere try to use any trick they can to get their furry friends to take their meds. You may want to use butter to make a pill seem more appetizing. Before you do, you will want to consult with your veterinarian to see if this is safe for your particular pet. Also, keep in mind that some medications need to be taken on an empty stomach, so using food to bribe the animal can be counterintuitive and reduce the pill’s effectiveness.

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