Can Dogs Eat Peanuts? And What Amount Is Safe?

A vet explains what you should know about peanuts and dogs.

Though many of us love to enjoy a handful of salted peanuts as a snack, for people with allergies,even just the scent of peanuts can be extremely dangerous. But what about dogs? Can dogs eat peanuts?

We reached out to a vet to learn if dogs can (and should) eat peanuts. And unsurprisingly, giving your dogs peanuts comes with several ifs, ands and buts.

Can dogs eat peanuts as an occasional treat?

According to Dr. Kurt Venator, Ph.D., chief veterinary officer at Purina, peanuts are, generally, safe for dogs to eat once in a while — but not all peanuts and peanut products are created equal.

What kinds of peanuts can dogs eat?

“Shelled [meaning the shell has been removed], unsalted and unsweetened peanuts and peanut butter are safe for dogs to consume from time to time,” Dr. Venator told The Dodo.

The plain, dry-roasted variety is best for dogs because these peanuts don’t contain excess salt and artificial flavoring. Artificial flavoring often contains xylitol, which is a toxic substance for dogs.

Dogs, like people, can also sometimes have peanut allergies, though it’s pretty uncommon. Minor peanut allergy symptoms could include skin rash and itching, with more severe cases resulting in your dog having difficulty breathing. If any symptom arises after your dog eats a peanut, contact your vet.

Can dogs eat peanut shells?

Dr. Venator specified that if you’re going to be giving your dog a peanut or two, they should be shelled. Shell fragments can be a choking hazard, especially for small dogs.

But, if your dog has already chewed and swallowed an unshelled peanut and seems fine, then it shouldn’t cause him any more issues. However, eating unshelled peanuts should definitely not become a regular thing.

Can dogs eat peanut butter?

Yes, your dog can eat peanut butter, but not every kind is safe for him.

Dr. Venator says that natural peanut butter, free from added sugars, salt and preservatives, is the best kind of peanut butter you can give your dog. And peanut butter can also be useful, too, since it can be used to relieve some of his stress.

“Natural peanut butter can offer a welcomed distraction to dogs during bath time, vet visits or other activities that may otherwise be stressful,” Dr. Venator said. “The act of licking peanut butter from a lick mat, for example, can release oxytocin and help soothe and calm dogs.”

Are peanuts good for dogs?

Even though your dog can eat peanuts, that doesn’t necessarily mean he should.

“I don’t recommend feeding dogs peanuts,” Dr. Venator said. “While [shelled], unsalted and unsweetened peanuts aren’t necessarily harmful to dogs, they may pose a choking hazard to smaller dogs.”

Peanuts are also super high in fat, which means they aren’t great for your dog’s digestive system. Eating high-fat foods on a regular basis can cause major issues in his gut, including pancreatitis.

Dr. Venator noted that purposefully feeding your dog a “healthy” peanut (shelled, unsalted and unsweetened) may teach him that it’s OK to eat all kinds of peanuts, and it’s not. “It’s best to keep your dogs focused on treats and foods that are made for pups,” he said.

So although your dog should be fine after eating a dropped peanut on the floor, he really shouldn’t be getting peanuts every day. Try sticking to peanut butter-flavored dog treats, instead.