Everyone knows that dogs love peanut butter. Since peanut butter is made from peanuts, most of us assume that peanuts are safe for dogs, too. The answer is not quite that simple, however.
When it comes to your dog's health, not all peanuts and peanut butters are created equal. Peanuts are loaded with protein, vitamin B-6, vitamin E, niacin, and healthy fats. This means that peanuts and peanut butter offer your dogs a protein-rich snack that they can't get enough of. There are, however, some risks associated with both peanuts and peanut butter.
What Types of Peanuts Are Safe for My Dog to Eat?
The best peanuts for dogs are not the delicious, salted kind that most people prefer. Dry-roasted (or raw), unsalted peanuts are the only peanuts that are actually safe for dogs to eat, although your dog will probably be fine if he manages to scoop up a salted peanut or two from the floor. However, salted peanuts contain more sodium than your dog needs and can be harmful to his health if ingested in large quantities, so it is best to avoid feeding salted peanuts to dogs. This is a reason why some owners prefer to make their own peanut butter. Homemade peanut butter allows owners to control the amount of oil and sodium that goes into the recipe, and it also eliminates the growing risk of xylitol poisoning.
Peanuts also contain high levels of fat. This can cause digestive upset and even pancreatitis if your dog eats high-fat foods like peanuts on a regular basis or in large quantities.
How Many Peanuts Can My Dog Have?
When it comes to feeding peanuts, moderation is key. Limit your dog’s peanut intake to just a few peanuts, and do not feed peanuts as a treat every day. Honey-roasted peanuts and other flavored nuts are also unsafe for your dog, and make sure you remove the peanut shell as the fibrous material can pose a choking hazard, especially for small dogs.
For more information about human foods dogs can and can’t eat, check out this helpful article. If you're wondering about a specific fruit or veggie, check out another great article on fruits and vegetables that dogs can and can't eat.