Donation Item Spotlight: Peanut Butter
By Brittney Kunst
The most sought after in-kind donations at animal shelters are typically linens, food, litter, and treats. While these contributions are absolutely essential to caring for our 3,500 animals a year, there is a wide variety of household items on our wish list that make excellent donations–some you might not expect. Canned tuna, spices, scents, bleach, dish soap, laundry detergent, office supplies, and paper plates are used daily at Midcoast Humane. But one of the most valuable and most loved donation items at our shelter is one that probably isn’t the first to come to mind: peanut butter!
How do animal shelters use peanut butter?
Peanut butter is used basically every day at Midcoast Humane! It can be used to hide medications, build trust, and the gooey gold is an M.V.P. in our Animal Enrichment Program. Animal enrichment is all about preventative care. Our goal is to reduce animal stress, encourage positive behaviors, and improve overall welfare by providing opportunities for animals to perform natural behaviors. Every dog at Midcoast Humane has an enrichment plan, no matter how long his or her stay with us.
Midcoast Humane cares for over a thousand dogs each year, and just about every single one of them enjoys some peanut butter during their stay with us. That’s a lot of peanut butter! (We actually spend over $1,000 on peanut butter every year, on top of donations of peanut butter that we receive.)
Dogs build positive associations with their new environment through rewarding experiences. Smeared peanut butter and hidden treats help dogs warm up to shelter life. Dogs also bust boredom by chewing on ice treats or puzzle feeders!
What’s so great about peanut butter?
Figuring out why dogs love peanut butter is a big question! It’s likely that there are both behavioral and biological components as to why peanut butter is so loved by dogs. People have a tendency to share peanut butter with their pooches even if they don’t regularly share ‘human food’. As a result, dogs form a positive association with peanut butter from a young age. Nutritionally, peanut butter has a lot to love- salt, fat, and protein! In the wild, these ingredients would make for a high-value food.
Although the exact reason may be unclear, what we do know is that we love it and they love it!
If you’re buying some peanut butter…
Next time that you’re picking up a jar of sticky goodness, please consider grabbing an extra jar for the very thankful dogs at Midcoast Humane!
Brittney Kunst is the Intake Supervisor for Midcoast Humane and coordinates enrichment activities for our animals.
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