Can Dogs Eat Peanuts?

PetMD Editorial
By PetMD Editorial
Published: October 18, 2022
Can Dogs Eat Peanuts?

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NOTE: Always check with your veterinarian before giving your dog any new foods, especially “people foods.” What might be okay for one dog might not be good for your dog, depending on multiple factors, such as their age, health history, health conditions, and diet. Dogs on prescription diets should not be fed any food or treats outside the diet.

You may have heard that you can give your dog xylitol-free peanut butter to help them take pills, but what about whole peanuts? Which types are safe, and which aren’t? And how many should you feed your dog?

Here’s what you need to know about whether peanuts are safe for dogs.

Are Peanuts Bad for Dogs?

If your dog has eaten a few peanuts, no worries! They are not toxic to dogs. However, there are a few concerns to watch out for when feeding them to your dog to keep them safe and healthy. 

Peanuts that aren’t shelled can become a choking hazard for dogs, or even cause an intestinal blockage. Peanuts also have a high fat content, which can cause pancreatitis. And eating too many on a regular basis could lead to health problems like obesity.

Can Dogs Be Allergic to Peanuts?

You may be wondering whether dogs can be allergic to peanuts, since it’s an issue for many people. But only one case has ever been reported of a dog with a confirmed reaction to peanuts. So while it can happen, it is extremely rare.

Can Dogs Eat Shelled Raw Peanuts?

Yes, in small amounts, dogs can eat plain, raw—or dry roasted—peanuts that have been shelled. Make sure they don’t have any salt or other seasonings, or coatings like chocolate, xylitol, or nutmeg—which are all toxic to dogs. 

There is one concern, however, with raw peanuts. Because they grow in hot, humid environments, they can develop a fungus called aflatoxin. If a dog ingests this fungus, it could cause acute liver failure. 

This risk can be minimized by feeding your dog human-quality peanuts. The safest product would be plain, shelled, dry-roasted peanuts, and check the expiration date. 

Can Dogs Eat Boiled Peanuts?

It’s not a good idea to feed your dog boiled peanuts. They usually come with lots of salt or Cajun-style seasonings, which are very unhealthy to dogs and can cause an upset stomach or long-term health problems. 

Boiled peanuts also still have the shells on, so if your dog ate some, the shells could be a choking hazard or cause an intestinal blockage. 

Can Dogs Eat Roasted Peanuts?

Yes, dry roasted peanuts are the best type of peanuts for dogs to eat, if they are plain and shelled. 

However, do not give them honey-roasted peanuts. Any kind of peanuts with added ingredients or seasonings will not be healthy for your dog, and depending on the ingredients, they could be toxic. 

Is Peanut Butter Safe for Dogs?

Peanut butter is safe for dogs, if you choose the right peanut butter. Many people will use it as a special treat or to hide pills that their dog needs to take. 

Make sure that you only use peanut butter that does not contain xylitol. Xylitol is very toxic to dogs, and occasionally you’ll find it in peanut butter. Always check the ingredients label first. 

The best type of peanut butter to feed your dog has no added sugars and salts, which can cause health issues over time such as obesity and diabetes

Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter Snacks That Are for Humans?

The same caution must be used if you are considering sharing your peanut butter snack with your pup—such as peanut butter crackers, peanut butter pretzels, or peanut butter and jelly. 

Again, all of that delicious salt and sugar could harm your dog over time, causing weight gain and perhaps leading to diabetes, arthritis, and even heart disease. Jelly contains a bunch of sugar, and some may contain xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. 

It’s not wise to feed your dog unhealthy foods when they also love dog-safe, healthy fruits and veggies as well. 

Should Dogs Eat Crunchy Peanut Butter? 

It shouldn’t make much difference whether your dog eats creamy, smooth peanut butter or crunchy peanut butter. The peanuts in crunchy peanut butter are ground up fine enough that they should not pose a choking hazard.

Does Peanut Butter Give Dogs Diarrhea or Make Them Constipated?

Peanut butter is high in fiber. This can help your pup poop if they sometimes struggle with mild constipation. However, too much fiber in any dog’s diet can cause an upset stomach and diarrhea

How Many Peanuts Can Dogs Eat?

Even healthy treats like peanuts and peanut butter should only make up 10% of your dog’s diet. The other 90% should come from a well-balanced dog food diet. Here are some general guidelines for safe portion sizes. 

Keep in mind that with any diet change or addition, it’s always best to consult your veterinarian about the proper portions for your individual dog’s diet. 

Extra-small dog (2-20 lbs.) Examples: Yorkies, Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, Pugs, Shih Tzus

  • 1-2 peanuts
  • ¼ tablespoon of peanut butter twice a day

Small dog (21-30 lbs.) Examples: Basenjis, Beagles, Miniature Australian Shepherds

  • 2-3 peanuts
  • ½ tablespoon of peanut butter twice a day

Medium dog (31-50 lbs.) Examples: Basset Hounds, Border Collies, Australian Cattle Dogs, Siberian Huskies

  • 5-6 peanuts
  • ¾ tablespoon of peanut butter twice a day

Large dog (51-90 lbs.) Examples: Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Australian Shepherds

  • Handful of peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter twice a day

Extra-large dog (91+ lbs.) Examples: Newfoundlands, Bernese Mountain Dogs, St. Bernards, Great Pyrenees

  • Large handful of peanuts
  • 1 ½-2 tablespoons of peanut butter twice a day

What Happens If Your Dog Ate Too Many Peanuts?

Overeating can cause stomach problems for your dog. The high fat content in peanuts can also cause pancreatitis. Some stomach issues to watch for are:

  • Decreased appetite or loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Acting depressed
  • Looking uncomfortable
  • Gulping or licking their lips, the air, or objects
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Severe acute shock
  • Severe depression

If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.

How to Give Your Dog Peanuts

If you’re ready to safely feed your pup some peanuts or peanut butter, we’ve got some fun tips for you. 

Peanuts as Snacks for Dogs

Make sure to feed your dog peanuts that are dry-roasted or raw and plain, and always remove the shell. Feed them in the portion sizes listed above, in moderation.

DIY Peanut Butter Treats for Dogs

Here are a few links to some special DIY doggy treats made with peanut butter and other dog-safe ingredients. 

  1. DIY Dog Treat: Mini Peanut Butter “Mousse” Pies
  2. Halloween DIY Dog Treat: Peanut Butter Cups for Dogs
  3. Banana, Peanut Butter and Yogurt Raw Smoothie for Dogs

Dog smoothies—or just plain peanut butter—can be stuffed into your dog’s KONG toy and frozen for a refreshing cold treat later. 

Featured Image: iStockPhoto.com/gerenme


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