Is it safe to give my dog peanuts?
Please always contact your veterinarian when making a decision about your pet. This article does not substitute the advice of a trained professional.
Peanuts and dogs are often used in the same sentence. After all, it is no secret that the majority of dogs love a peanut butter treat once in a while. In just one lick, they become hooked.
Maybe it is the overall taste of the fat, protein, salt, and sugar? Or perhaps it is just fun for them to eat.
According to Dr. Christy Michael, a veterinarian at DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital, "Dogs are more likely to treasure food that is heavy in sodium and fat because these factors would be less commonly encountered in their 'wild' diet."
This mixed with a dog's evolutionary hardwired instinct to seek out nutrient-rich food makes peanut butter such a favorable treat to them.
Now, everyone knows that peanut butter is made of peanuts, so if dogs are able to eat this in moderation, they are clearly able to eat regular peanuts as well, correct? The answer is absolutely, but proceed with caution.
Dogs Eating Peanuts
Peanuts for dogs offer the same health benefits that it does for humans. They are packed with vitamins B6 and E, biotin, protein, niacin, and omega-3 fatty acids. Since peanuts are so nutrient-dense, it can help your dog foster/maintain a healthy, shiny coat.
In addition, feeding them peanuts can lower cholesterol, promote heart health, reduce inflammation, and helps push food through the digestive system due to the high concentration of fiber.
So yes, feeding your dog peanuts is perfectly fine, but there are some precautions to take to ensure they are safe and do not face adverse side effects.
Fun Fact: Peanuts, despite the name, are actually part of the legume family. This means that they are not an actual nut.
Risks to Take into Consideration
Though raw peanuts are non-toxic to dogs, there are still some risks that you will want to take note of to ensure their health and safety. For instance, all artificial sweeteners, added salt, or other mixed flavorings should be avoided.
When dogs eat peanuts that were tampered with, they could ingest too much sodium, which could potentially lead to sodium ion poisoning if you are not careful.
Furthermore, those added chemicals (say from caramel-flavored peanuts) will not process well with dogs, especially if they contain xylitol. Xylitol is a sugar substitute, which is not toxic to humans but is for dogs.
In fact, dogs eating peanuts with even small amounts of xylitol can significantly drop their blood sugar levels, becoming a catalyst for seizures, disorientation, and collapsing.
Some other risks and things to be aware of include:
- Choking Hazard: Peanuts can be a choking hazard for dogs. By removing the shell beforehand, you can significantly reduce this risk.
- Allergic Reactions: Just like people, dogs can be allergic to peanuts. Signs include sneezing, coughing, hives, swelling, and trouble breathing after eating them.
- Digestive Issues: Dogs who eat too many peanuts not only gain weight but can have a hard time with digestion. When dogs overeat fat, their stomachs can become upset, causing unpleasant side effects such as diarrhea and vomiting. It can also lead to a painful condition called pancreatitis, which causes a dog's pancreas to become inflamed. In severe cases, this can be fatal.
The Proper Way to Feed Your Dog Peanuts
When feeding your dog peanuts, you should follow these basic rules:
- Always remove the shells before feeding your dog peanuts. This will reduce the risk of choking and getting an upset stomach.
- Always feed them unsalted and unflavored peanuts.
- Limit the amount you feed them to avoid them getting too much fat in their diet.
- If you notice any allergic reactions, stop feeding them peanuts right away and call your vet for further assessment.
- If you decide to give them a peanut butter treat, check to see if there is any xylitol in the ingredients. If so, steer clear of it and look for one that is xylitol-free.
For the majority of dogs, eating peanuts is completely fine. Many vets even advocate that you feed your dog peanuts every so often to give them that boost of nutrients. As long as you feed it to them in moderation and follow your veterinarian's advice, there is no harm in allowing them to indulge in this tasty snack!
Remember, you should always contact your veterinarian prior to making any decisions regarding your pet. This article does not replace the advice of a trained professional.