While many nuts are a serious no-no for dogs, it’s always good to know that the most popular kind of nut also happens to be one of the safest for them.
Sharing snacks with man’s best friends is one of life’s greatest joys, but knowing the facts is just as important.
Can dogs eat peanuts? Yes, they can – but make sure you know how best to help your furry friend to make the most of them.
Are peanuts good for dogs?
Although peanuts are mostly harmless for dogs to eat, it would be a little remiss and inaccurate to suggest that they are good for your pet.
Dogs have very different ways of gaining nutrition from their food than their masters do, and because human beings are primates, we get a lot of goodies out of eating nuts that dogs do not.
As such, there’s no one blanket answer to those who wonder can a dog eat nuts – each kind of nut has to be addressed on a case by case basis.
Some kinds of nuts are toxic to dogs, which is a scary thought indeed. Yet as anyone who’s ever seen an internet video of a dog contending with a sticky bit of peanut butter can tell you, peanuts are certainly not toxic to these animals at all.
However, it’s certainly not advisable to go handing out your bags of peanuts to your dog, and not a good idea to give them peanuts that still have their original natural shells on.
Yet, even so, many of the prepackaged and processed peanuts people enjoy have not got much better to offer your dog.
That’s because the artificial additives, not to mention plenty of additional salt, can make peanuts quite a guilty pleasure indeed for dogs.
Of course, we human beings enjoying these snacks are susceptible too, but dogs especially don’t digest the kind of fats found in peanuts very well.
Overindulging in peanuts may well make a dog sluggish and chubby over time.
And of course, high levels of salt and sodium don’t do dogs many favors either – in extremely bad cases, it can cause terrible issues for a dog’s pancreas.
Luckily, if you’re sensible in how you share your peanuts with your dog, you can avoid these kinds of issues – and peanut butter, although bringing with it a heightened sugar risk instead of a salt risk, can sidestep a lot of these issues too.
For the best results, stick to dry roasted peanuts that are free from salt, and don’t go dishing peanuts out to your dog in large amounts – no matter how pleading the look he or she gives you seems to be.
Health benefits of peanuts for dogs
Unusually, nuts get to be considered a healthy option for a dog’s diet – ordinarily, most kinds of nuts should be avoided as dog food.
However, peanuts are an exception to the rule, and better still, offer many of the same perks to your pooch that they do to human beings.
Even though a lot of the fats that are packed into peanuts are much more difficult for a dog to digest than a human, those are at least considered the more healthy kinds of fat, promoting growth.
Better still, peanuts have plenty of protein inside, good for growing dogs, reinforcing the tired old legs of our more revered and elderly canine friends, or just keeping dogs of all ages with a clean and glossy coat of fur.
Peanuts also contain Vitamin E and Vitamin B6, the latter of which is very important in helping your dog release energy.
All these various vitamins can help boost your dog’s immune system, but please do remember that your canine companion needs these kinds of foods in far smaller quantities and portions than we do.
Dogs will likely need very little encouragement when adding peanuts to their diet, as they’re often keen to try something new, and certainly can see that you’re likely enjoying them.
However, it’s always good practice to turn any new food you introduce to your dog into a bonding exercise and learning curve, especially for puppies.
Introduce peanuts to your dog bit by bit, and help them understand that this intriguing new treat is something to be enjoyed every so often or for good behavior – not all of the time.
How many peanuts can a dog eat daily?
If your dog were able to speak, he or she might remark on that subheader as something of a challenge rather than an inquiry!
After all, any tasty new snack your dog discovers is going to be something they can’t get enough of.
And of course, we all know just how much dogs love to eat peanut butter.
Whichever way you approach this issue, there’s no way your dog is going to want to go easy on peanuts once they’ve been introduced to them.
Yet ideally, you as the owner of your dog ought not to be feeding peanuts to your dog daily. They’re more to be considered an occasional treat more than anything else.
While there are plenty of health benefits as already discussed – vitamins, protein and the like – these can be given to your dog through other foods that don’t come with the kinds of negatives that dogs eating peanuts can experience.
A handful of no more than five, especially for smaller dog breeds, is a very acceptable treat for your dog to enjoy every few days or so, if not once a week.
Your dog might sometimes look at you as though you’re being a little stingy, licking his or her chops expectantly and waiting for some more – but as far as their nutritional needs go, what you’re offering is positively decadent!
Besides, by restricting the levels of salt and sugar that enter your dog’s diet, you’re helping him or her to lead a longer and healthier life.
Dogs who get tummy aches become very unhappy, even downright grumpy, and peanuts eaten to excess can certainly cause stomach grumbles of the less encouraging variety in your pet.
What to do if your dog eats a peanut
Dogs are loving and loyal, but there’s no denying that they often have an agenda all their own when it comes to sneaking snacks or getting into where they ought not to be.
And of course, if a group of friends is standing around talking and one of them drops some food, you’ll never see anything move faster than your dog’s reaction.
As such, there’ll likely be occasions in which your dog helps him or herself to a peanut or two without your go ahead.
Although it’s been advised to not spoil dogs with peanuts, little incidents like this are fine – although naturally, it’s a good idea to discipline your dog so that he or she understands that helping themselves to food isn’t allowed.
It’s more concerning, however, if your dog has managed to get their nose into a much larger bag of peanuts, or perhaps sent a bowl of them spilling off the kitchen counter and is happily lapping up the treasures that just fell all around them.
The good news is, your dog isn’t in any immediate danger unless he or she is eating far too fast – perhaps to conceal the evidence of their crime?
In these scenarios, as with any situation in which your dog eats something far too quickly, you should be mindful that your dog doesn’t block their airways and choke themselves.
This is particularly problematic in young dogs and puppies who haven’t learned their limits yet – but can also be an issue for any dog who has decided to eat raw peanuts that are still in their shells.
Those thick outer casings aren’t designed to be eaten, so don’t be surprised if your dog starts coughing fragments of them back up – it can be a little dangerous.
A cheeky dog who eats far more than his or her fair share of peanuts is likely to get a stomach ache for their trouble, so keep an eye on them.
If the peanuts were salted, offer plenty of fresh water to drink too – not to reinforce their behavior, but to make sure that the salt content of the peanuts isn’t dehydrating them.
Dogs run this risk far more than people do.
Dogs have got it lucky in finding a nut they can eat without any fears for their health.
Yet despite this, the fact that peanuts are safe for dogs to eat isn’t an excuse for them to eat them endlessly without reprieve – no matter what they might prefer.
The salts, fats and overall makeup of peanuts can be hard to digest, as can high sugar content in some brands of peanut butter.
As such, peanuts and peanut butter are treats for dogs to be shared sparingly, rather than daily.
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.