My Dog Ate a Stick of Butter

So, your dog ate a stick of butter. Whether they’re smart enough to open the fridge or they managed to get into the butter dish on the counter, if your dog scarfed down an entire stick of butter, they’re certainly not the first or the last dog to do so. 

But, do you have any potential side effects to worry about? What happens while they’re digesting the butter, and how can you help them? What if they ate the wrapper? And, most importantly, how can you keep your dog out of the butter stash in the future?

First of all, don’t panic. Read on to explore what to do if your dog eats a stick of butter.

Is Butter Harmful for Dogs?

my dog ate a stick of butter
My dog ate a stick of butter… should we be worried?

Luckily, butter isn’t dangerous to your dog. Most dairy products are safe for dogs unless they’re combined with chocolate or xylitol products, which can cause significant allergic reactions. In fact, certain types of cheese can provide dogs with a protein-packed treat. 

The good news is that if your dog ate an entire stick of butter, neither their life nor their health is in jeopardy. While they may experience discomfort as the butter passes through their digestive system, it’ll be temporary. 

If your dog ate an entire stick of butter, take a look at the nutrition facts on the box: How many calories are in a stick of butter that your dog ate? For small dogs, the calories in an entire stick of butter could eclipse their usual calorie count for a whole day. 

Adjust your dog’s food quantity accordingly. Skip their next meal, and deduct any remaining calorie overages from their next meal. While they may beg, their system will still be digesting their forbidden treat.

What Will Happen If My Dog Ate a Stick of Butter?

While none of the side effects of eating a stick of butter are deadly or harmful, you should monitor your dog to make sure they’re not in significant pain or discomfort. If they show signs of severe pain, take them to an emergency vet right away. 

is butter safe for dogs
Is butter safe for dogs?

The most likely side effects of eating an entire stick of butter are:

  • Diarrhea, on account of their massive fat intake
  • Vomiting, if your dog has a weak stomach or lactose intolerance
  • Bloating
  • Lethargy
  • General upset stomach (which may lead to whining)

Overall, these side effects are minor, and you can expect them to subside as soon as the butter passes through their system, which should take 24 to 48 hours. 

But, if symptoms or discomfort persist, take your pup to the vet for a quick checkup. Your dog may have an undiagnosed case of lactose intolerance, which only means you’ll have to cut down their dairy intake. 

What Should I Do?

If your dog ate a stick of butter, there’s not much to do other than comfort them and clean up after them as it passes through their digestive system. 

Your dog will likely experience diarrhea, so it’s important to let your dog outside for potty breaks as often as possible to prevent accidents. 

If your dog has an accident inside (which is common for diarrhea cases even if your dog is housebroken), make sure to clean up the diarrhea as soon as possible, especially if you have other pets or small children. If they step in a puddle, it could lead to a huge mess.

If your dog is vomiting, rub their back while they gag and immediately clean up after them. Dogs tend to eat their vomit, and you want to keep the residual stomach acid from reentering their system to prevent further vomiting spells or digestional distress.

Remember to adjust your dog’s calorie intake accordingly and keep them company while they suffer the consequences of counter-surfing. 

puppy at the vet with owners one adult one child
A cute puppy enjoying a Vet visit

Is a Butter Wrapper Safe for Dogs to Eat?

There aren’t any toxic ingredients in butter wrappers, and if your dog swallowed one along with their greasy treat, it will likely pass in their stool like anything else. In fact, the butter should help lubricate the digestive tract so the wrapper can slide through their system smoothly.

But, for smaller dogs, the wrapper can pose a choking hazard. If you notice your dog struggling to breathe or panicking, first call your Vet or local animal poisons line. They may advise you to induce vomiting (UC Davis). This procedure is most safely performed by a vet, but you can induce vomiting at home with the right concentration of hydrogen peroxide. 

As long as your dog isn’t showing signs of choking, you’ll likely notice bits and pieces of the butter wrapper passing in their stool. It should be easy to identify since their stools will be very loose as a result of butter’s high-fat content. 

But, as always, if your dog begins acting unusual if uncomfortable, visit your vet right away.

How Do I Keep My Dog from Eating Butter Again?

curly tailed basenji
Curly tailed Basenji

If your dog is regularly surfing the counters for scraps of human food, it could point to a larger issue, like an oversight in their training or nutritional imbalance. 

It’s important to train your dogs to stay off of the kitchen counters. Discourage your dog from counter-surfing by:

  1. Removing the source of the temptation
  2. Rewarding restraint and good judgment

Moving tempting items to the back of the counters will help prevent your dog from reaching them, but putting the tempting food away entirely should significantly reduce the possibility that they’ll try to snatch it off the counter. 

In addition, if you notice your dog sniffing around the countertops, don’t scold them. Instead, tell them to go to their place, and reward them with a treat when they do. They’ll make a connection between staying off of the counters and being rewarded, making them more likely to avoid the area.

You should also consider the possibility that your dog is underfed or malnourished. Some dogs will be beggars even if they’re well-fed, but make sure to talk to your vet about proper calorie intake and feeding schedules

Everything’s Better with Butter

Even if your dog is well-trained and well-fed, lapses in judgment can happen. While butter isn’t harmful to dogs, eating a stick of butter will have uncomfortable consequences for both of you. Keep a close eye on your pup, and report any unusual behavior to your vet right away.

While butter may make everything better in human food, you should do your best to keep your dog out of your stash.