Most dogs love peanut butter and start drooling the minute you open the jar. And since peanut butter is made from peanuts, you might assume that peanuts are safe for dogs.
You would be correct because peanuts are safe and healthy for our pups. But you should be a little cautious as the kind of peanuts you're using and how often you're feeding them to your dog makes a huge difference.
Continue reading to learn everything about feeding peanuts to your dog.
Health Benefits of Peanuts for Dogs
Let’s first discuss the various health benefits of feeding peanuts to a dog.
1. Rich Source of Protein
Peanuts are a good source of complete protein as they contain all 20 amino acids. They can contribute to your dog’s healthy muscle growth and tissue repair. They can also help improve the quality of their skin and coat by supporting the immune system.
But please note that peanuts should not be the primary source of protein in your dog's diet. It contains high amounts of fat that can be harmful when eaten in large quantities. This is why meat is a great option, as it has a more ideal protein-to-fat ratio.
2. Can Reduce Inflammation
Peanuts contain high levels of antioxidants that can help protect your dog’s body from oxidation. It’s a term that defines the damage caused by free radicals or the naturally occurring unstable molecules that damage living cells in your dog’s body.
As a result, antioxidants help neutralize chronic inflammation. It also helps prevent various chronic health conditions like respiratory diseases, skin allergies, autoimmune disorders, eye problems, arthritis, and heart diseases.
3. Contains Various Minerals
Peanuts are chock-full of minerals which are an important class of nutrients. Minerals help support the proper growth and overall well-being of your dog.
Here’s a small list of some minerals present in peanuts and the critical functions they perform:
- Calcium- An essential building block for bones and teeth. It also facilitates muscle movement, wound healing, and a healthy heart.
- Iron- Plays a key role in supplying oxygen to organs and muscles
- Magnesium- Promotes the absorption of other minerals like potassium, zinc, and calcium
- Manganese- Helps in digestion and absorption of protein and carbohydrates
- Phosphorus - Supports healthy metabolism and kidney function
- Potassium- It’s an electrolyte that aids in the transmission of nerve impulses from the brain to the body. This exchange helps regulate the heartbeat and every other voluntary and involuntary muscle contraction.
- Zinc - Helps strengthen the immune system and promote healthy skin and coat
4. Aids Digestive Health
Peanuts are a rich source of dietary fiber. They contain both insoluble and soluble fibers, which contribute to the low glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) of peanuts.
Insoluble fibers are really important for your dog’s body as they help prevent constipation by pulling water into the stool and making it easier to pass.
Whereas soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance that adds bulk to the stool and helps prevent diarrhea. This type of fiber also gets fermented into short-chain fatty acids that are known to prevent the overgrowth of harmful bacteria in your dog’s gut. These acids also support the growth of good bacteria and improve the body’s ability to absorb various minerals.
5. Provides B-Complex Vitamins
B-complex vitamins play many essential roles in our dog's body. They’re required for a healthy immune system, brain function, and digestion.
Peanuts are recognized as an excellent source of B-complex vitamins, including,
- Niacin (B3), which aids digestion and proper brain function
- Thiamine (B1)strengthens the immune response and helps break down carbohydrates
- Riboflavin (B2) supports eye health and the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates into energy
- Pantothenic acid (B5) is also required for energy metabolism
- Vitamin B6promotes healthy cognitive function
- Folate (B9) is needed for red blood cell production and DNA synthesis
How to Feed Peanuts to a Dog?
Now that you know the various health benefits of peanuts, let’s also discuss how you can safely feed this food to your dog.
Portion Control is Important
Moderation is very important when it comes to peanuts. You should ensure that peanuts don’t exceed the 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake. The remaining 90% of their calories should consist of a healthy and well-balanced meal.
It’s important to follow this rule as eating too many peanuts can lead to stomach problems like diarrhea and vomiting. The high-fat content of peanuts can also lead to bigger health problems if eaten regularly and freely.
If you’re confused about the portion sizes, you can also consult with your veterinarian to determine the exact amount of peanuts to feed your dog.
Keep the Recipe Plain
When feeding peanuts to dogs, it’s best to stick to dry-roasted peanuts that do not contain any salt or seasonings.
If you like snacking on salted peanuts, you can share 1-2 pieces with your dog once in a while. But avoid doing so regularly as high salt treats can lead to dehydration and possibly salt toxicity in dogs.
However, you should completely avoid peanuts that are coated with sweet flavoring like caramel or honey-roasted peanuts. Their high fat and sugar content can hurt your dog’s health and lead to various complications.
Chocolate-covered peanuts are also very dangerous as chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic for dogs.
Make Peanut Butter at Home
If your dog isn’t a fan of peanuts alone, you can try making peanut butter at home.
All you need to do is take some unsalted, deshelled peanuts and roast them for 10 minutes. Allow them to cool down, and then place them in a food processor. Blend until you get a smooth buttery consistency.
You can store your homemade peanut butter in an airtight jar and use it as a fun treat or a training reward.
If you want to buy peanut butter for your dog, make sure it doesn’t contain other ingredients and artificial sugars like xylitol, which can be toxic for your dog.
Remove The Shell Before Feeding
You should always deshell the peanuts before feeding them to your dog. That’s because the shell of peanuts can be hard to chew and can even become a choking hazard for smaller dogs. Even if you have a big dog who’ll be able to chew the shells, they might suffer from other digestive problems as the shells contain a high amount of fiber.
Peanut Allergies in Dogs
Although it’s rare, your dog can have an allergic reaction to peanuts. Thus it’s best to start with a small quantity or a few pieces to see how they react to this new food. You should monitor their reaction for 24-48 hours and keep an eye out for any signs of allergic reactions, like:
- Red and itchy skin
- Difficulty breathing
- Excessive licking
- Agitation or restlessness
If you notice any of these signs of a peanut allergy in your dog, contact a veterinarian.
Peanuts are a safe and healthy treat for your dog. They’re a great source of protein that provides various antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. You can safely share a few pieces of dry-roasted peanuts that do not contain any salt or seasonings. You can also try other fun recipes, like making peanut butter at home.
The important thing is to be mindful of the portion sizes as peanuts have a high-fat content. It should be considered a treat that can supplement your dog’s healthy and well-balanced diet. It shouldn’t make up more than 10% of their daily calorie intake.
If you have any further doubts, you can consult with your veterinarian before feeding peanuts to your dog.
Let’s answer some frequently asked questions about feeding peanuts to a dog.
1. Can dogs eat salted peanuts?
You should avoid feeding salted peanuts to your dog as high amounts of salt can lead to dehydration and salt toxicity. However, if your dog has accidentally eaten 1 or 2 pieces of salted peanuts, they should be fine.
2. Can dogs eat honey-roasted peanuts?
It’s best to avoid feeding honey-roasted peanuts to your dog as the high sugar content can lead to digestive issues and other health complications.
3. Can dogs eat peanuts in the shell?
No, you shouldn’t feed your dog peanuts in the shell. It can be hard to chew and can even become a choking hazard for smaller dogs. The shells also have high fiber content, which might lead to digestive problems like diarrhea.
4. Can dogs have peanut allergies?
Yes, it’s rare, but your dogs can still have peanut allergies like humans. If you’re feeding peanuts to your dog for the first time, start with a few pieces and see how they react for the next 24-48 hours. If you notice symptoms like upset stomach, itchy skin, difficulty breathing, agitation, or hives, contact a veterinarian.
5. Can dogs eat peanut butter?
Yes, you can make peanut butter for your dog at home by blending some unsalted, roasted, and deshelled peanuts.
There are also many dog-friendly peanut butter options available in the market. But with store-bought peanut butter, you should make sure they don’t contain other ingredients like artificial flavors and xylitol, a kind of sugar substitute that can be toxic for your dog.
If in case your dog has eaten peanut butter that had xylitol, contact your veterinarian immediately.