Peanuts on a table.

Can Dogs Eat Peanuts?

A peanut is an edible oval seed grown on an above-ground plant. Peanuts are legumes, meaning that they have more in common with beans, lentils, and soy than tree nuts. They generally develop in pods or shells, and are roasted and served as a snack, coming in seasoned, salted, or unsalted varieties. They are a very good source of protein and healthy fats, and packed with healthy vitamins and nutrients. Most are grown in the Southern United States and South America, and they’re often used to make feed, flour, and cooking oil.

So, can dogs eat peanuts? Yes, dogs can eat peanuts and many love the taste. However, some dogs struggle to digest them, leading to nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. The fat content in nuts can also lead to pancreatitis in dogs, which can be a painful and, in some cases, fatal condition. Almonds and cashews also lead to digestive issues, so be cautious. Avoid macadamia nuts and black walnuts entirely, since these are toxic for dogs.

When considering the safety of peanuts for dogs, there are a few things to keep in mind. Equal to the previously stated pancreatitis and gastrointestinal upset is choking. Though this is a more common concern for small dogs, any dog can choke, especially if fed irresponsibly.

Many dogs like to swallow nuts whole, which could be a choking hazard or lead to an obstruction, so feed your dog smaller-sized nuts, and don’t allow them to eat more than one at a time.

Also, keep in mind that salted peanuts are not a healthy choice for dogs. They are high in sodium and can lead to health issues if eaten in large quantities. Stick to dry roasted or raw peanuts for your pooch.

Peanut Dangers for Dogs

Veterinarians often tell pet owners to approach peanuts with caution, since they’re near the top of the list of common pet allergies.

Though they are not toxic to dogs, they are high in fat, and it is much more difficult for a dog to digest fat than it is for humans. “If a pet eats too many, it could lead to a condition known as pancreatitis and a big veterinary bill,” says Bernadine Cruz, DVM.

Pets with heart disease are especially at risk, since salted peanuts can cause water retention and potentially lead to congestive heart failure.

According to veterinarian Lauren Jones, another problem with peanuts is that they are susceptible to mold, and moldy foods can cause serious neurological problems.

Can Dogs Be Allergic to Peanuts?

Dogs can be allergic to peanuts. Keep an eye out for signs of an allergic reaction, which can range from mild to severe, and include coughing, hives, sneezing, trouble breathing, red, itchy skin, bald spots, or swelling in the face or around the mouth.

If it is your first time feeding peanuts to your dog, give them only a few at first and watch for their reaction. If you notice any signs of an allergic reaction, call your veterinarian immediately.

Do Dogs Need Peanuts?

There is nothing in peanuts required in a dog’s balanced diet. What dogs do need is a high-quality AAFCO-approved dog food. Learn more about nutrition for dogs here.

What Is the Safest Way to Feed Peanuts to Dogs?

The safest way to give peanuts to your dog is to cut a nut into smaller pieces and offer it to them in bite-sized portions. They should be shelled and your dog should be monitored to ensure that they do not choke.

Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter?

Peanut butter is a spread or paste made from ground, dry-roasted peanuts. In addition to peanuts, it often contains additional ingredients, such as salt, sweeteners, or emulsifiers. In its natural state, it is safe to give to a dog and is commonly used as a treat or a way to hide oral medications. However, store-bought brands can be sweetened with xylitol, a sweetener used in many processed foods. Xylitol can be safe for humans, but toxic to dogs. If your dog ingests peanut butter, carefully look at the label to determine if it has sweeteners like xylitol. If you determine your dog has ingested xylitol, please call your veterinarian immediately. Learn more about Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs.

Are Peanut Flour and Peanut Oil Toxic for Dogs?

Peanut oil is commonly used in cooking and considered high in monounsaturated “good” fat, and low in saturated “bad” fat. Although it is not toxic, ingestion of large amounts is not good for your dog. If you determine your dog has ingested peanut oil and is showing abnormal symptoms, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

Peanut flour contains only one ingredient – roasted peanuts. It is made by grinding peanuts and removing most of the oil. It is safe for dogs, as long as they’re not allergic to peanuts in general.