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Are Peanuts and Peanut Butter Safe for Dogs?

Picture of dog with peanut butter on its nose

Though many dogs trot out the puppy dog eyes whenever a plate of food appears, conscientious dog owners only want to feed their dogs the highest quality and most healthful foods for them. While some people foods are perfectly fine for dogs to enjoy in moderation, others can lead to health complications or are even toxic. Care must be taken in determining which foods you can safely give your dog and which must be avoided all costs.

If you’ve ever sat down with a piece of peanut butter toast and seen the look in your dog’s eyes, you know that dogs love peanut butter. While peanut butter is typically safe for dogs to consume so long as the peanut butter in question does not contain the substance xylitol which is toxic to dogs, many owners question whether or not peanuts in their more natural form will pose any problems for their best canine pal. Can you safely feed peanuts to your dog? 

Facts About Peanuts

It’s natural for dog owners to be concerned about feeding nuts to their dogs. While some nuts are safe for dogs to enjoy, others such as macadamia nuts are poisonous to dogs, and thus, cannot even be fed in minute amounts.

Peanuts, however, are completely safe for dogs to enjoy. Typically, dogs are introduced to the peanut family via peanut butter, a substance that most dogs really enjoy. While peanuts in small amounts are not harmful for dogs, it is important for owners to note that peanuts are high in fat. Excess consumption of this type of nut can potentially cause health issues such as nausea, diarrhea, and even pancreatitis. Thus, when introducing peanuts to a dog, moderation is key.

When selecting the type of peanuts for dog to enjoy, it is important that you avoid any that contain added salt. Salted peanuts often contain far more sodium than a dog’s body can tolerate well. Added salt has a dehydrating effect on the body, but more than this, it has the potential to lead to a type of salt poisoning which can be fatal for dogs.

Care must be taken to avoid products containing nuts or nut butters that were formulated for human consumption but that may contain ingredients that are not safe for dogs to eat. Peanut butter cups are largely comprised of peanut butter, but they do also contain chocolate, a substance which is poisonous to dogs.

Many peanut butters do contain xylitol today. Xylitol is a plant-based sugar alternative which is low calorie, making it an extremely attractive option to dieters. However, even in the most minute quantities, xylitol is poisonous to dogs. Dogs who consume even a few granules can experience xylitol toxicity and die from this small amount of exposure. The importance of avoiding this chemical cannot be overstated.

The best way to avoid xylitol-laced products is to be certain to carefully read the label of every product you purchase. The terms “natural sugar” and “sugar alcohol” are two others to keep an eye for as these are often indicative of the presence of xylitol under another name in the product. Xylitol is also found in other daily use items such as toothpaste, candies, vitamins, and even breath fresheners such as gum, mints, or breath strips.

While peanuts may be safe for dogs to enjoy, keeping portions in check is still very important. The occasional peanut given as a treat will not pose any problems for your dog. However, to give large amounts of peanut butter or peanuts on a daily basis may lead to serious health complications.

If you are considering allowing your dog to enjoy peanuts now and again, it is always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian to ensure you err on the side of caution when you ration your peanut treats. Better safe then sorry as pancreatitis is extremely painful for your dog and is entirely preventable. Your dog can have his cake and eat it too. You just need to exercise proper peanut portion control.

Does Fido pull out the puppy dog eyes every time you reach for the peanut butter jar?

If so, you’re not alone! It’s perfectly okay for your dog to enjoy some peanuts for a treat. Just be sure to limit quantities and frequency for best results and keep the peanut butter cups strictly for your consumption!

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