By Mel Lee-Smith
Published: 06/11/2020, edited: 10/13/2023
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Peanuts are a delicious pre-dinner snack for humans, but what about for our dogs? After all, most dogs love peanut butter, so surely they’d love to tuck into a handful of peanuts too?
If you’re wondering whether dogs can eat peanuts, the answer is yes — but with a few important qualifications. Dogs can eat peanuts that are shelled, unsalted, and unflavored, and your pooch should only ever eat these tasty legumes in moderation.
Keep reading to find out why.
Are peanuts safe for dogs?
Some types of peanuts are perfectly safe for dogs to eat. Others should never be given to your fur-baby.
The good news is that peanuts are not toxic for dogs, so you can share a handful of peanuts with your pet without any problems. However, please note that dogs should only ever eat peanuts that are:
Dry-roasted or raw
Unsweetened and unflavored
And due to their high fat content, peanuts should only ever be eaten in small quantities.
Are peanuts good for dogs?
You might be surprised to learn that peanuts can actually offer a handful of nutritional benefits to your canine pal.
Peanuts are rich in protein and a good source of healthy fats for dogs. They also contain vitamins B6 and E, niacin, potassium, and phosphorus, so they’ve got more to offer than just a taste that many dogs love.
Check out the table below for a breakdown of some of the key nutrients found in peanuts.
Nutritional content of unroasted peanuts per 100g portion
- Water: 6.5g
- Energy: 567kcal
- Protein: 25.8g
- Total fat: 49.24g
- Carbohydrate: 16.13g
- Dietary fiber: 8.5g
- Sugars: 4.72g
- Calcium: 92mg
- Iron: 4.58mg
- Magnesium: 168mg
- Phosphorus: 376mg
- Potassium: 705mg
- Sodium: 18mg
- Niacin: 12.066mg
- Vitamin B6: 0.348mg
- Vitamin E: 8.33mg
Source: FoodData Central
Risks of peanuts for dogs
While peanuts can offer some health benefits for dogs, there are also several risks you should be aware of before feeding them to your pup:
They're high in fat. Too much fat in your dog’s diet can cause an upset stomach and other digestive problems. If eaten regularly, high-fat foods can also lead to potentially deadly pancreatitis. That’s why dogs should only ever have peanuts occasionally, and only ever in small amounts.
Salted peanuts have too much sodium. Excess sodium consumption can cause a wide range of serious health conditions for dogs, some of them life-threatening. With this in mind, you should never feed salted peanuts to your dog.
Flavored peanuts could contain dangerous ingredients. Flavored peanuts should also be avoided as they may contain harmful chemicals or ingredients that are unsafe for dogs to consume.
Peanut shells can cause digestive problems. Peanut shells are difficult for dogs to digest and can potentially cause tummy troubles for your pet. Only give your pooch peanuts with their shells removed.
Allergies. Finally, just like humans, some dogs can also be allergic to peanuts. Symptoms can include itchiness, redness, bald spots, and in severe cases anaphylaxis, so monitor your pup for any signs of an adverse reaction.
How many peanuts can my dog eat?
The key word you need to remember here is “moderation”. Peanuts are a “sometimes food” and should never form a major part of your dog’s diet — they’re a treat, not a meal.
As a general guide, 4 to 5 peanuts a couple of times a week is a safe amount to feed to your furry friend. Just remember to remove the shells before serving peanuts up to your dog, and introduce them to your dog gradually in case they have a negative reaction.
Can dogs eat peanut butter?
While we’re on the topic of peanuts, it’s also worth taking a closer look at whether peanut butter is safe for dogs to eat. Once again, the answer is yes — but with some very important caveats.
Many peanut butters make a great treat when you want to spoil your dog, and putting peanut butter and some kibble inside a puzzle toy is a wonderful boredom buster. But make sure you read the label closely.
Peanut butter that contains xylitol, a sugar substitute used as a sweetener, is toxic to dogs and should never be given to your fur-baby. Products that contain added sugar or are high in salt should also be avoided.
That’s why the safest option is to make your own peanut butter at home. It’s easy to do and allows you to control exactly what your pup eats. And just like peanuts, it can make a safe and delicious treat for your dog.
A high-quality diet is essential for keeping your dog happy and healthy. Digestive problems and food allergies can be expensive to treat. Compare pet health insurance plans to save more than $270 a year on vet care.