Can dogs eat peanuts? A guide to the risks

can dogs eat peanuts

Can dogs eat peanuts? With so much confusion around ‘human foods’ that dogs may or may not be able to eat, it can be stressful knowing what foods are harmless and what foods are dangerous.

Although you can control what your dog eats each day, what about when your dog is out, and they pick something up from the floor. Or you have visitors over that insist on slipping your dog a bit of whatever they are having?

With many nuts being notoriously bad for a dog’s digestion, it can be confusing to what types are safe to give them.

However, the humble peanut is an impostor. In fact, it’s not a nut at all but part of the legume family that includes peas, lentils, and chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

Originating in South America, peanuts have been around for thousands of years and are a healthy snack that is more often enjoyed as a paste – peanut butter.

Can dogs eat peanuts?

In small amounts, peanuts are safe to give to your dog. But before you share your peanut butter sandwich with your dog, beware.

Not all peanuts or peanut butter will be suitable to split with your furry friend. Stick to plain, unsalted peanuts. And if you want to give your dog a peanut butter treat, always read the list of ingredients carefully.

 Unfortunately, some peanut butters contain artificial sweeteners like xylitol which is toxic. So if you want to share the benefits of peanuts with your dog, ensure you only treat them to plain peanut butter.

The benefits

Peanuts have an impressive nutritional profile. It’s no wonder that the average American will eat over six pounds of peanuts and peanut butter products per year.

Full of protein, heart-healthy fats, as well as several other vitamins and minerals, there’s a lot to recommend the peanut as a wholesome snack. Peanuts are an excellent source of Vitamin E, Folate, vitamin B1, and the minerals copper, manganese, and niacin.

Also rich in antioxidants, peanuts can hold their own against some fruit sources such as apples and carrots. Most dogs love the taste of peanuts. And as long as they are raw or dry-roasted, unsalted, plain, and shelled, there is no reason not to share a few with your dog.

Peanuts and peanut butter?

I haven’t met a dog yet that doesn’t like peanut butter. Generally, peanut butter is safe for dogs, but again, do read the ingredients. It may seem strange to find anything other than peanuts in a jar of peanut butter. But many now contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener extremely toxic to dogs.

The risks

Despite being safe for dogs, there are a few things that you may want to consider before feeding your dog peanuts or peanut butter.

Added flavorings, salt, and sweeteners

I’m laboring the point here, but check that what you are giving your dog is plain peanuts and nothing else. Even feeding your dog salted peanuts can harm your dog’s health in large quantities.

High-fat content

Peanuts may be considered a healthy snack, but they contain a high-fat content despite these fats being mainly the heart-healthy variety. You still need to adjust your dog’s daily food intake if you want to treat them regularly without them becoming over-weight.

Fatty foods have also been linked to pancreatitis in dogs. So if your dog does have any symptoms or is already suffering from the condition, peanuts and peanut butter is not the best choice.


Peanuts are susceptible to a fungus called Aspergillus flavus. This fungus produces a toxin called aflatoxin that is toxic to dogs as well as ourselves.

Although improved storage and handling methods have improved peanuts’ safety, never give your dog (or yourself) peanuts that are old or have been kept in warm moist conditions.


Despite being one of the top eight major food allergens for people. It seems that our canine counterparts don’t suffer the same risk of an allergic reaction. However, if you introduce your dog to any new food, it’s always worth doing so slowly with a small portion first.

Once your dog has eaten something new, monitor them to make sure that there aren’t any adverse effects.

Symptoms of nut allergies include;

  • Runny nose, itchy and red eyes
  • Itchy skin or rash
  • Digestive upsets

While it’s considered safe to feed your dog peanuts, it’s worth doing so in moderation. Most reactions are mild and but your dog could end up with an upset stomach for a day or so. Which, although unpleasant for both of you, should pass quickly.

Choking hazard

If you have a small dog, there is a slight risk of them choking on peanuts. Make sure that you remove any skin from the peanut before offering it to your dog. Or, to be on the extra-safe side, give them some peanut butter instead.

Can dogs eat peanuts?

Yes, they can, in moderation. Dogs love peanuts and peanut butter. It’s worth remembering that all foods that your dog wouldn’t normally have access to are a treat and shouldn’t become a regular part of their diet.

Peanuts and peanut butter is usually a great motivator for a dog. And they are often found in commercial dog treats brands. However, if you want an easy-to-make-at-home alternative check out the recipe below from Dog Treat Kitchen.can dogs eat peanuts

Peanut Butter Dog Biscuit Recipe with Oatmeal


  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (you can use another type of flour if your dog is sensitive to wheat)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter, chunky or smooth (I used smooth this time)
  • 1 1/4 cups hot water additional flour for rolling


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F
  2. Mix dry ingredients.
  3. Mix in the peanut butter and hot water. You may need to add more flour if the dough is too sticky.
  4. Knead the dough well.
  5. Roll out the dough into 1/4″ thickness and cut into shapes with dog cookie cutters.
  6. Bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet for 40 minutes. Please turn off the oven and let them cool overnight.

Storing: This peanut butter dog biscuit recipe makes biscuits that will last in a sealed air-tight container at room temperature for one week. You can store them in the refrigerator for 3 weeks and in the freezer for up to 6 months.

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