Can Dogs Eat Peanuts? Are Peanuts Safe for Dogs?

Packed with protein and delicious turned into a creamy spread for a sandwich, peanuts are a favorite food of dogs and humans alike – and you’ll be glad to know that yes, dogs can eat peanuts. But if your dog has a taste for peanut butter (like many pooches do), there’s more to this topic that you should know before you keep feeding them this rich and buttery treat.

At their best, peanuts can provide a plentiful source of protein, healthy fats, vitamin E, and vitamin B6 for your dog. If you choose the wrong type of peanuts or peanut butter, though, it can become a serious detriment to your dog’s health.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about your dog’s relationship to peanuts (and peanut butter), and by the end of this guide, you’ll know exactly what to do and what not to do when feeding your canine pal.

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Peanut Nutrition and Fun Facts

Originating in South America, the peanut isn’t actually in the nut family. More properly, it’s classified as a legume – a starchy plant that’s related to beans, lentils, and peas. They’re rarely eaten raw, with most people preferring the rich toasted flavor that develops through roasting them.

Packed with protein and fats as well as a balanced vitamin and mineral profile, peanuts are used by aid groups to help fight malnutrition in impoverished countries. They’re a truly versatile foodstuff and form a major market when used for cooking oils, made into peanut butter, or roasted and served whole.

There is, however, a surprisingly large incidence of serious peanut allergies. As much as 0.6% of Americans are allergic to peanuts, and reactions can lead to hospitalization. Some schools around the United States are dedicated “nut-free” zones due to the severity of these reactions.

Health Benefits of Peanuts for Dogs

As far as crave-worthy treats for dogs go, peanuts are one of the better choices that you can make to indulge your dog with. Their high protein and rich vitamin and mineral profile can give small health benefits for your dogs, but that doesn’t mean you should make them a staple of your dog’s diet. Even with their potential health benefits, peanuts are still quite high in calories and fat, and can easily lead to weight gain or obesity if fed in excess.

bowl of peanuts
Image: Pikrepo

Can Peanuts Be Bad for Dogs?

There are a handful of dangers associated with feeding peanuts to your dog. These include:

  • Salt intake. Many roasted peanuts are salted as well, and this can easily cause problems for your dog’s health. Too much salt will tax your dog’s organ systems, so avoid salted peanuts (and salted peanut butter) at all costs.
  • Incomplete digestion. Dogs don’t digest fat as easily as humans do, so excess consumption of fat can lead to a painfully inflamed pancreas. Keep peanuts as an occasional treat, not a regular food.
  • Choking hazard. Whole peanuts are difficult for your dog to chew and can become a choking hazard if ingested too quickly or haphazardly. For this reason, it’s actually safer to feed your dog peanut butter than whole peanuts.
  • Allergic reactions. Just like humans, a small portion of dogs can have allergic reactions to peanuts. If your dog seems to have difficulty breathing after eating a peanut, rush them to your nearest veterinarian right away.

Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter?

Dogs absolutely can eat peanut butter, and most will gladly do so at a moment’s notice. And since it doesn’t pose a choking hazard in the same way that whole peanuts do, peanut butter is a better alternative as a dog treat.

To ensure that the peanut butter you choose is the best possible for your dog’s health, look for natural and organic peanut butters. This way, they’ll be free of additives and chemicals that can be harmful to your dog’s health.

dog eating peanut butter
Image: Elizabeth Foley, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts on Feeding Peanuts to Your Dog

Peanuts are a generally safe treat to feed your dog, so long as you avoid salted peanuts and make sure to feed them only in moderation. As a highly desirable treat that also carries small health benefits, peanuts and peanut butter are a much better alternative for rewarding good behavior than processed foods or high-sugar treats. Keep the servings small and infrequent, and you can use peanuts or peanut butter as a great treat for your canine friends.


Featured Image Credit: shattha pilabut, Pexels