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October 21, 2020 4 min read

Here at Cooper's Treats, we love peanuts, peanut butter, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and peanut brittle. There's something about the flavor of a peanut that's just so satisfying and makes it go perfectly with everything from chocolate to jelly. Our dogs would always love to get a lick of that peanut butter or a peanut or two from the floor, so today we're going to ask if that's safe - can dogs eat peanuts?

CAN DOGS EAT PEANUTS?

For the most part, yes, dogs can eat peanuts. They do have some risks from a health perspective due to high fat content, though, so it's important that they only be given to your dog in moderation. Unlike many other nuts, though, peanuts are not directly toxic to dogs. Nonetheless, it's best to keep an eye on your dog after the first time she has peanuts (or any other food) to see if she shows any signs of stomach or digestive issues. If so, peanuts may not be for her. And of course if you have any questions about what is and what's not okay to give to your dog, your best resource will always be your vet, who can talk to you not only about the food, but also about the specific health and dietary needs for your dog.

We should also clarify that here we're talking about plain peanuts, either raw or roasted. Once you start adding other things like salt to them, then they're a very different story.

CAN DOGS EAT PEANUT BUTTER?

Like peanuts, dogs can have peanut butter, but it does come with the same concerns about high fat content. Additionally, because peanut butter typically has other ingredients besides just peanuts, you have to be careful about what's in the jar. Oils and salts are always going to be problematic and are often included. 

And of course flavored peanut butters (especially chocolate) are almost certainly a bad idea and should be kept away from your pup. Further, snacks with peanut butter are generally a no-no because many of them have chocolate (and even if they don't, they're likely to have significant amounts of added sugar). 

ARE PEANUTS GOOD FOR DOGS?

Peanuts have a number of health benefits for dogs. First of all, they're high in protein. Beyond that, they have both vitamin B-6 and vitamin E, along with niacin and healthy fats.

Peanut butter is much of the same - it's definitely a snack that packs a serious nutritional punch for your dog (though of course as with all snacks, it should only be a small part of your dog's diet and should be accompanied by nutritious meals).

peanuts

RISKS OF GIVING PEANUTS TO DOGS

We mentioned above that peanuts have healthy fats, which are good. Unfortunately, even those good fats can turn bad if you overdo it. Too much fat can lead to pancreatitis, which is a serious condition for dogs. It bears repeating that just because peanuts and peanut butter make great snacks for dogs doesn't mean they replace a healthy, balanced diet. Most veterinarians recommend that snacks of all kinds comprise no more than 10% of any dog's diet. They should be accompanied by healthy, nutritious food.

The other thing to be aware of when feeding your dog peanuts or peanut butter is what else they're prepared with. When it comes to peanuts, while most of us love ours salted, you probably know that salt isn't good for dogs (or humans, but we can handle it better than our pups), so make sure you go for plain peanuts. And of course things like honey roasted peanuts are definitely out of the question. Needless to say, peanuts dipped or covered in anything get a big thumbs down as well.

Checking the ingredients is doubly important when it comes to peanut butter. The biggest thing to look out for on the label is an artificial sweetener called xylitol. Even small amounts of xylitol can be very dangerous for dogs, so stay far away from it. Beyond that, you should avoid anything that's labeled with "natural sweeteners" or "sugar alcohol" as these can both refer to xylitol. 

And of course beyond xylitol, you should be looking out for the usual suspects - don't get peanut butter with salt or sugar in it. The key to all things peanut or peanut butter related is simplicity - if the only ingredient is peanuts, you're okay. Once you start adding this, that and the other, you're much more likely to have something that may be delicious but is also terrible for your pup.

SO CAN DOGS EAT PEANUTS?

Dogs can definitely eat peanuts, and they can definitely eat peanut butter. The key is to make sure that you keep it simple. Peanuts should be plain - they can be raw or roasted, but no salt, no honey, no sugar, just peanuts. The same goes for peanut butter - it should just be peanuts ground up without anything added to it (especially xylitol - we can't stress that enough).

Just remember that even though peanuts are perfectly fine for your dog, they are very high in fat, so make sure you serve them in moderation. As for peanut butter, it's great to pair it with something that has a bit less fat and can add a nice change in texture or flavor. Peanut butter smeared on a banana is good, as is peanut butter on celery. 

And if you're looking to make your peanut butter last a bit longer, putting it into a toy, such as a Kong, that makes it harder to get at, is a great idea because it not keeps your dog occupied, it also adds a bit of mental stimulation. If you want to go a step further, fill up a Kong with peanut butter and then freeze it - now you've got a tasty treat that will last a very long time!