A guide to dogs and peanuts. Can dogs eat peanuts? Can dogs eat peanut butter? Find out which peanut butter treats are good for dogs.
When it comes to the welfare of our dogs, we take the subject seriously. And, to ensure that our pets remain happy and healthy, we have to be careful about what we feed them.
A food that is harmless to us may be harmful to our dogs. So, can dogs have peanuts and can dogs eat peanut butter? The answer is a qualified yes, dogs can have peanuts and peanut butter in moderation.
However, it’s important to understand which types of peanuts and peanut butter for dogs are okay and which should be avoided.
You may also be wondering, is peanut butter good for dogs? Let’s find out what you need to know about peanuts and peanut butter for dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Peanuts
While some nuts are toxic to dogs, peanuts aren’t one of them. In fact, the peanut isn’t a nut at all! It’s actually a legume. Fun fact: the peanut is also called a goober, monkey nut and groundnut.
Although peanuts and peanut butter are generally safe for dogs, it’s important to consider possible allergic reactions. Peanut allergies in dogs are rare, but it can happen even in a dog that has had peanuts without a reaction in the past. We’ll look at that in more detail later.
For the non-allergic, peanuts are okay but only in moderation. Can dogs eat peanuts has been answered, but can dogs eat peanut butter?
Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter
The main ingredient in peanut butter is finely ground peanuts, which are okay for dogs as long as they aren’t allergic.
However, many peanut butter brands add things like salt, sugar or other sweeteners and emulsifiers (an additive that stabilizes the consistency of peanut butter). None of those added ingredients are ideal for your dog and some of them may be toxic.
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is toxic to dogs, and it is found in some peanut butters. We’ll talk about that in more detail later.
Because of the risk of xylitol, peanut butter for dogs should be approached with caution. Read labels and stick to brands that do not add sugar or sweeteners.
Can dogs eat peanut butter has been answered, so let’s learn more about peanuts and peanut butter for dogs.
Peanuts, Peanut Butter and Dogs
Raw peanuts contain an assortment of vitamins and minerals, but they are also loaded with protein and fat.
Dogs are, evolutionarily speaking, quite recently descended from wolves. The vast majority of a wolves’ energy comes from fat and protein. Therefore, your dog should not be negatively affected by a small amount of extra fat in his diet.
But, moderation is important. Too much fat long-term can lead to obesity and pancreatitis, which is an inflammatory condition that affects the pancreas.
In the short-term, too much fat in your dog’s diet can cause diarrhea or vomiting. And, if that happens, your dog won’t absorb any of the nutrients in the peanuts or their regular food.
So, dogs can eat peanuts in moderation. But not all of the types that we eat are okay for dogs.
When Are Peanuts Bad for Dogs?
We mentioned previously that dogs can be allergic to peanuts. Symptoms of peanut allergy in dogs can include itchiness, redness, scratching and even bald patches.
If you notice any of these signs, stop feeding your dog peanuts and peanut butter and take him to the veterinarian.
If your dog is allergic to peanuts, make sure that you never leave any within his reach at home. Also, use extra caution on walks when there is trash on the ground to avoid contact with anything that might have peanuts or peanut butter residue on it.
Of course, if a dog is allergic to peanuts, they’re also allergic to peanut butter. But otherwise, is peanut butter bad for dogs?
When Is Peanut Butter Bad for Dogs?
Peanut butter is bad for your dog if it contains added ingredients. As mentioned previously, these are usually salt, sugar or other sweeteners and emulsifiers.
While sodium (salt) is essential for your dog’s health, he probably gets an adequate supply from his regular dog food. Just like in humans, excessive sodium can lead to high blood pressure in dogs, which could eventually lead to organ damage.
Check nutrition labels and look for lower sodium content when choosing a peanut butter for your dog.
Because there are no health benefits, just empty calories, it’s best to avoid peanut butter with added sugar. And it’s important to avoid artificial sweeteners.
There are at least five brands of peanut butter on the market that contain xylitol, which is extremely toxic for dogs. The brands are No Cow (formerly D’s Naturals), Go Nuts, Nuts ‘N More, Krush Nutrition and P-28 Foods. Preventative Vet lists these products as unsafe for dogs.
If your dog ingests even the smallest amount of xylitol, it can lead to a fatal drop in blood sugar levels. Before you purchase any type of peanut butter for your dog, make sure to check for this ingredient.
Even if xylitol is not specifically listed on the label, terms such as ‘sugar alcohol’ or ‘natural sweetener’ can also be referring to xylitol.
To avoid the potentially harmful ingredients in peanut butter, some pet owners prefer to make their own. But if you don’t have the time to do this yourself, you can simply purchase unsalted natural peanut butter.
Are Peanuts and Peanut Butter Good For Dogs
There are some health benefits to feeding your dog small quantities of peanuts or peanut butter.
Not only do peanuts contain unsaturated fats that are good for the heart, but it also contains an assortment of vitamins and minerals including manganese, potassium, vitamin E, biotin, folate and vitamins B3 and B1.
However, peanuts also contain a lot of fat, so you shouldn’t feed your dog more than the recommended amount. Some veterinarians suggest that it’s safe to feed your dog one or two teaspoons of peanut butter per day, while in other cases it is only recommended as an occasional treat.
It’s best to consult your personal veterinarian as they can make a recommendation based on your dog’s breed, size, health status, etc.
Can Dogs Eat Crunchy Peanut Butter
It’s best to give your dog creamy peanut butter rather than crunchy, as the chunks in crunchy peanut butter may be a choking hazard for some dogs, especially small breeds and puppies.
Peanut shells can also be a choking hazard for your dog, so be sure to keep them away from your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Salted Peanuts
If you’re snacking on salted peanuts, you might be tempted to share them with your dog. But not all peanuts are safe. Only feed your dog fresh peanuts that are unsalted.
Peanuts must be removed from their shells and should not contain any type of spice, added flavoring, artificial preservatives or additives. Those spices and flavors you love may cause stomach upset for your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Honey Roasted Peanuts?
Dogs should not eat honey roasted peanuts or any other flavored nut for that matter.
Peanuts are already high in fat. The added sugar in the honey roasted option is not the best combination for your dog.
So it’s best to keep salted and honey roasted peanuts to yourself.
We’ve discussed can dogs eat peanuts and is peanut butter good for dogs, but should you feed your dog peanuts?
Should I Give My Dog Peanuts or Peanut Butter
Your dog’s nutritional needs can easily be met without including peanuts or peanut butter in his diet. However, if you want to use it as a special treat or reward, or to hide a pill in, the nutrients he’ll receive are a fine complement to regular dog food.
It’s best to introduce any new food slowly. If your dog doesn’t react badly, there’s no reason not to give him peanuts or peanut butter on occasion and in moderation.
Dogs can develop allergies at any time, so always keep an eye out for a change in behavior or toileting habits when there’s a change in diet. Symptoms of peanut allergy include skin redness and itching. Your dog may develop a bald spot or chew on his legs and paws.
If your dog exhibits these symptoms, have him evaluated by your vet as soon as possible.
Now that you know your dog can have peanuts, how can you feed them to him?
How to Prepare Peanuts for Dogs
Dogs can eat peanuts that are raw, boiled or dry-roasted and it will not affect their health in a negative way. When purchasing peanuts, read labels and avoid added sugar and salt.
If you have a food processor, it’s easy to make homemade peanut butter for your dog.
Put two cups of dry roasted peanuts in the food processor and let it run for four to five minutes. It will go through stages as it processes, but in the end, you’ll have lovely creamy peanut butter with no added salt or sugar and most importantly, no xylitol.
Two cups of peanuts will make enough to last a while, so refrigerate it to keep it fresh.
Another great way to feed your dog peanuts or peanut butter is through dog treats.
Peanut Butter Dog Treats
Peanut butter treats are a popular choice for dogs. You can buy them or make your own.
Whichever option suits your lifestyle, check out our article dedicated to Peanut Butter Treats.
In discussing can dogs have peanuts and is peanut butter good for dogs, we learned that some dogs can be allergic. So, what are some treat alternatives for them?
Alternatives to Peanuts and Peanut Butter for Dogs
If you’re looking for an alternative to peanuts or peanut butter treats for your dog, there are plenty of options.
Carrots and apples are great snack options, just be sure to cut them into appropriate size pieces for your dog to avoid a choking hazard.
Cheese is a good option for hiding a pill in, and it makes a delicious and nutritious treat when given in moderation. Read our article about it to learn more.
Here are other articles that include alternatives to peanuts or peanut butter:
Can Dogs Eat Peanuts Summary
Peanuts and peanut butter can be delicious and healthy snacks for dogs, but there are certain risks to avoid.
The most significant risk is peanut butter that contains xylitol, which is toxic for dogs. Other than that, just try to minimize added sugar and salt in whatever peanut butter you choose.
For peanuts, stick to simple unsalted raw or dry-roasted peanuts.
Portion size and regularity are definitely factors in how these foods will affect your dog’s health. It’s best to keep peanuts or peanut butter as an occasional treat in small amounts.
Be mindful that allergic reactions can develop at any time, and consult your vet if your dog shows any symptoms such as itching and redness.
What’s your favorite way to feed your dog a peanut or peanut butter snack? Tell us about it in the comments.
This article has been extensively updated and revised for 2019.
References and Further Reading
- Clinical Nutrition Team, Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University, “What every pet owner should know about food allergies,” 2017.
- Kang, M.H. & Park, H.M., “Putative peanut allergy-induced urticaria in a dog,” The Canadian Veterinary Journal, 2012.
- Murphy, L.A. & Coleman, A.E., “Xylitol toxicosis in dogs,” The Veterinary Clinics of North America, Small Animal Practice, 2012.
- Preventive Vets
- USDA Food Database, Peanuts