Dog holding bowl with mouth begging for food

Key takeaway

Dogs can eat peanuts and they can be a healthy treat in moderation, but they can’t eat all peanuts. When feeding peanuts to your pet, they should be raw, deshelled, and unsalted to ensure they don’t have a bad reaction to them.

If you're someone who loves sharing food with your dog, you already know that some foods are safe for them and others aren't. Of course, you should always be careful feeding your pet human food since it isn't always healthy for them. However, most dogs love peanut butter, and there are even dog toys made to dispense peanut butter to help stimulate your pet. So, you may think peanuts are safe for dogs because they love this spread. However, not all peanuts and peanut butters are safe for your pet.

Peanuts are packed with protein and vitamins, but that doesn't mean you should offer your pet peanuts all the time. However, feeding your pet certain types of peanuts can be a great way to supplement their diet and keep them healthy.

Can Dogs Eat Peanuts?

Owner feeding dog peanut butter

The short answer is yes; dogs can eat peanuts. Peanuts are not bad for dogs because they contain vitamins and are high in protein and healthy fats. Depending on your dog's preferences, they may prefer peanut butter instead of hard, crunchy peanuts.

Peanuts and peanut butter can both be beneficial for your pet. However, you should only give your dog raw, unsalted peanuts and have the shells removed. Keep in mind that there are risks to feeding your dog peanuts and peanut butter, which we'll discuss more in-depth later. Of course, you should also only provide your pet human food in moderation. Overfeeding your dog peanuts can lead to stomach problems, like dog diarrhea.

What Kind of Peanuts Are Good for Dogs?

Some peanuts are bad for dogs. As we've mentioned, only feed your pet peanuts that are dry roasted, raw, unsalted, and de-shelled. If your dog happens to eat a few salted peanuts you dropped on the floor, they should be fine, but never directly feed your pet salted peanuts.

Salted peanuts have high sodium levels that can be harmful to pets, especially smaller dogs. Peanuts also contain high levels of fat, which can cause digestive problems if your dog eats too much. Moreover, peanut shells are bad for dogs because they’re a choking hazard.1

Overall, peanuts are safe for dogs.1 However, always check the ingredients in peanut butter before feeding it to your dog. While many brands have taken the harmful ingredient xylitol out of their peanut butter, you should always verify it's not included. Xylitol is a substitute for sugar that's toxic to dogs, especially in large quantities.

Xylitol is safe for humans, but when dogs ingest xylitol, it is absorbed into the bloodstream and can release insulin from the pancreas, resulting in a decrease in blood sugar levels.2 Untreated, these low blood sugar levels can become fatal.

While peanuts are a great source of protein, your dog needs to eat animal-derived protein to stay healthy since they are carnivores. Peanuts may be a good treat, but they shouldn't be used in training and only be given in moderation. Overfeeding your pet peanuts can result in obesity or an upset stomach that causes them to stop eating. So, if your dog won’t eat, overfeeding can be the culprit.

How Many Peanuts Can Dogs Eat

How many peanuts you feed your dog will depend on how much they weigh, but you should only feed your dog a few peanuts at a time and try not to make a habit out of it. So, this means not giving your pet peanuts as a meal or during daily training sessions. While they can be a tasty treat, moderation is key.

Always check with your vet before you give your dog peanuts or anything else meant for human consumption. Your vet can let you know if your dog will be able to safely consume peanuts and what the correct serving size is to ensure they won't gain weight.

Additionally, your vet can tell you whether or not your dog is allergic to peanuts. Believe it or not, some dogs are allergic to peanuts like humans. You can ask your vet to conduct a skin test to determine whether or not you can feed your dog peanuts or peanut butter.

Side Effects of Dogs Eating Peanuts

While peanuts are considered safe for dogs, your pet may still experience side effects when they eat them. These can include:

Potential side effects of feeding dogs peanuts

  • Nausea or vomiting: Peanuts are high in fat, which dogs have a more challenging time digesting. If your dog starts vomiting within a few hours after consuming peanuts, try to give them some water and monitor them frequently to ensure they do not have an allergic reaction.
  • Allergies: Dogs can be allergic to peanuts. If your dog is coughing and wheezing after consuming peanuts, take them to an emergency vet as soon as possible because they may be having an allergic reaction.
  • Choking: Peanuts are small and can easily become a choking hazard. Moreover, nuts can be too hard for dogs to chew, especially if they're accustomed to eating canned food. Always watch your dog when feeding peanuts to ensure they're not choking.
  • Salt poisoning: As we've mentioned, you should never feed your pet salted peanuts. If you feed your pet too many salted nuts, they can get salt poisoning because of the high sodium content.

How to Feed a Dog Peanuts

Now that you know the answer to “can dogs eat peanuts?”, it’s time to learn how to feed them to your furry friend. If you think peanuts are safe for your dog and want to see if they'd like them, always ensure they're deshelled and raw. While peanuts are considered safe for your pet, you should avoid feeding them as a meal. Instead, you can give your pet peanuts as a rare treat or put peanuts or peanut butter into homemade treats or treat-dispensing toys.

When looking for peanuts at the grocery store, always read the packaging label to avoid added sugar or salt. The label should also tell you if the peanuts are raw and de-shelled.

Tips for feeding dogs peanuts

When shopping for peanut butter, always read the ingredients to ensure there's no xylitol, added sugar, or salt. You can also find single-ingredient peanut butter that only includes peanuts and is safe for dogs. Additionally, there are many brands that make pet-safe peanut butter just for dogs. You can often find these peanut butter spreads at your local pet store.

You can even feed your pet peanuts by putting them in some delicious dog treats. If you've ever wanted to make your dog their very own treats, you can start by making peanut butter dog treats.

If your dog has ever had a reaction to peanuts, including nausea and vomiting, or shown signs of allergies, it's best to avoid giving your dog peanuts or peanut butter. Fortunately, there are a few alternatives if you want to offer your dog a healthy snack, including carrots and apples.

What Foods Are Toxic to Dogs?

While peanuts are not bad for dogs when they're fed correctly, many other human foods are harmful. As a pet parent, it's important to know what you can and can not give your pet. While it's better to avoid feeding your dog any human food altogether, we understand that sometimes you want to share with your beloved animal companion. In any case, it's always good to know which foods dogs should not have under any circumstances. These are the common dog poisons to avoid.

Foods toxic for dogs

Onions, garlic, and chives

Everything in the onion family can be toxic and fatal to dogs, regardless if it's cooked or not. If your pet eats large amounts of onion or garlic, seek immediate veterinary attention. While a big dog may be okay if they eat a small piece of onion that fell to the floor, you don't know how they'll react.

Chocolate

If you've ever wondered, "can dogs eat chocolate," the answer is no. Chocolate contains a stimulant that's toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure, so it's best to avoid sharing your chocolate desserts with your pet.

Macadamia Nuts

While peanuts are generally safe for dogs, macadamia nuts are a different story. Macadamia nuts are toxic and can affect your dog's nervous system when consumed.

Corn on the cob

Dogs can eat corn, but they should never be given corn on the cob because it can lead to an intestinal blockage or they can choke on it.3 If you want to give your dog a little bit of corn, make sure that you scrape it off the cob and that it doesn't contain seasoning or butter.

Artificial sweeteners

As we've discussed, dogs should never eat peanut butter containing xylitol. However, xylitol isn't just in peanut butter; it's used as an artificial sweetener throughout many different types of foods, especially those labeled as low-fat or sugar-free.

Alcohol

Under no circumstances should dogs have alcohol. If your dog accidentally drinks alcohol, monitor them closely and contact your vet for further assistance.

Grapes & raisins

Most dog owners know they should never feed their dog raisins or grapes because they can cause liver and kidney damage. While the exact toxin in grapes and raisins hasn't been identified yet, it's best to keep them away from your precious pet.

Coffee

Coffee is toxic to dogs, so it's never a good idea to let your dog eat coffee, whether it's brewed or not. If your dog is mischievous, never leave your coffee cup unattended. While a few licks may not hurt them, it's not worth the risk. Additionally, even if your pet hasn't had enough coffee for it to be toxic, they can still get anxiety from the caffeine. If they're showing signs of dog anxiety after accidentally sipping your coffee, consider taking them to the nearest emergency vet.

Final Notes

In this article, you learned that dogs can eat peanuts if they're raw, unsalted, and de-shelled. However, you also learned that peanuts don't make an ideal training treat for your pet and should only be given in moderation. While many dogs will be able to eat peanuts without any gastrointestinal problems or allergic reactions, some dogs should not eat peanuts. If you're not sure whether peanuts are safe for your pet, consult a veterinarian for an allergy test.

Dutch offers telemedicine for pets, allowing you to seek expert veterinary care from a licensed veterinarian from the comfort of your own home. Whether you want to know how to supplement your dog's diet or want to help your dog with allergies or behavioral issues, Dutch can match you up with a vet who can answer all of your questions.

References

  1. Burke, Anna. “Can Dogs Eat Peanuts?” American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, 5 Dec. 2019, www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-peanuts/.

  2. “Paws off Xylitol; It's Dangerous for Dogs.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/paws-xylitol-its-dangerous-dogs.

  3. Staff, AKC. “Can Dogs Eat Corn?” American Kennel Club, American Kennel Club, 23 June 2021, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-corn/.