Can Dogs Eat Peanuts?
Thinking about giving your dog some peanuts? Maybe you want to feed them some delicious peanut butter off a spoon? They’ll certainly thank you for it!
But is it safe?
This is a slightly more complex question than you might at first assume, so it’s important to consider all the angles. That’s precisely what we’ll be doing here in this post.
There is no simple answer to this question: dogs can eat some kinds of peanuts and not others. Peanut butter might be safe for your dog. There are big health benefits to both of these things. But there are also risks and you certainly shouldn’t overdo it!
So, let’s dig in a little deeper.
Basically, peanuts on their own are relatively safe for dogs. They are also a good source of protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamin B6, and other things. Many of these dietary compounds can also be achieved by finding a healthy food that works best for your dog.
One issue is that dogs don’t need as much of many of those things. They don’t need as much fiber, for instance, and while peanuts provide a perfectly safe amount of fiber for humans, it may be a little bit too much for dogs and cause digestion problems, constipation, diarrhea, and more issues.
The same goes for fats –too much fat can be a risk.
The other issue is that most of the peanuts that humans enjoy are not plain raw peanuts but rather peanuts that have a lot of added sugar, salt, and/or fat. Peanut butter likewise can be incredibly fatty or have a whole lot of sugar added!
The basic answer is that the closer the peanut is to being a natural peanut and the less processed it is, the more likely it is to be safe for your dog. With that said, even the most natural and un-tampered-with peanut in the world should still be enjoyed only in moderation by your dog, seeing as they can be unhealthy in larger quantities.
This post will explain a little more about how to help your dog enjoy peanut and peanut butter in a way that’s safe.
THE PROBLEM WITH PROCESSED PEANUTS
The kinds of peanuts that you enjoy from behind the bar at your local pub are not suitable for your dog.
That is because these peanuts have been roasted with extra fat, and because those peanuts have been given a whole lot of salt or sugar on top too. This makes them delicious and very satisfying for us humans, but it’s a problem for dogs that are much smaller and don’t require as much of these things in their diet.
If you give a dog too much salt, it can lead to a heart attack, muscle cramps, seizures, vomiting, or a host of other problems. And, if they eat too much sugar it can similarly cause heart failure, vomiting, nerve damage, and more.
For these reasons, you absolutely must not give your dog peanuts from a snack bag like this.
And likewise, it’s also not a good idea to give a dog peanut butter in large quantities. Peanut butter is similarly highly processed – the peanuts are crushed with added fat and will often have huge heaps of sugar on top.
Dogs do love peanut butter, though, and there are some benefits to this snack if you can give it to them safely – for instance, peanut butter is an excellent source of protein and can help your dog to build strong muscles. For these reasons, it is safe to occasionally let your dog lick just a little peanut butter off a spoon – but you should only choose peanut butter that has been kept mainly natural using healthy fats and limited added sugar. Look in organic health stores and avoid those that you find on the shelf in the big stores.
DANGERS AND ADVICE
If your dog should accidentally get hold of a bag of roasted peanuts, or if they should eat a large amount of peanut butter, then this can be very dangerous for them.
In this scenario, there are two different things that you can do to help your dog avoid a serious negative reaction. One is to encourage your dog to be sick. If you can get them to vomit, then this will empty their stomach and remove any trace of sugar and salt that can otherwise be dangerous.
Do this by feeding your dog a saline solution. This is water mixed with salt and if you place the salt into a glass of water, you can then use a syringe in order to try and squirt the solution into their mouth so that they will swallow it (it’s not easy getting a dog to drink this unpleasant mixture otherwise!).
The second option is to call your vet, who will be able to advice on the best course of action: they might recommend that you bring the dog in where they will be able to induce vomiting.
Another potential danger to look out for when giving your dog peanut butter is that they might have an allergic reaction. While nut allergies in dogs are much rarer than in humans, they can be just as lethal. Look out for heavy, labored breathing. Likewise, look for swelling, or signs of lethargy and discomfort.
Again, if your pup is having an allergic reaction, then the best thing to do is to get them to the vet and look into allergen-free dog food options.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF DOGS EATING PEANUTS
If you do decide to give your dog some peanuts or peanut butter, then there are also some benefits that they will be able to enjoy.
One is that peanuts are high in protein. Protein is highly beneficial for humans and dogs. When we eat protein, our bodies will break this down to separate out the constituent amino acids. These building blocks are then used to build muscle mass, as well as for healing wounds, and even creating the chemicals like neurotransmitters and digestive enzymes that we need to function and thrive. If you are looking to provide a more protein-rich diet, consider these grain-free dog food options.
Another benefit of peanuts is that they contain vitamin B6. This vitamin – often added to a host of different supplements – is able to encourage the body to make better use of carbohydrates. This means that the body becomes better at utilizing sugar and glucose in the body, such that our energy levels are increased and we’re able to run, jump, play, and more with greater ease.
On top of all that, peanuts are also a great source of niacin, manganese, essential fatty acids and more. All these things are beneficial for dogs – these are not empty calories!
How to Feed Dogs Peanuts
The safest way to feed dogs peanuts then is to buy them raw and in their shells. Then you can break the shells and remove the peanuts individually to give to your dogs. Feed them a few out of your hand and consider this an occasional treat with some healthy benefits – not something that you should do every day! Keep in mind that peanuts like this can still be very salty, and that they are also high in fiber and fat. Too much fiber can cause bowel problems for dogs and too much fat can eventually cause pancreatitis. Everything in moderation!
Likewise, letting your dog lick just a little bit of peanut butter that is minimally processed off of a spoon is a relatively safe way to let them share your snack.