Can Dogs Eat Peanuts?

Medically Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on January 09, 2024
8 min read

Dogs love peanut butter, but is it safe for them? Since peanut butter consists of peanuts, does this mean peanuts are good for dogs? 

Unfortunately, the answers to these questions are not as simple as a "yes" or "no." Some types of peanut butter can cause an allergic reaction or be fatal for your dog. Let's find out why.

Peanuts are a powerhouse food that contain valuable minerals and vitamins. 

They're healthy for dogs, just like humans. Peanuts provide our pets with essential nutrients, such as vitamin B6, vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, niacin, and much more. 

But you need to be cautious if you want to treat your dog with peanuts every day. Peanuts shouldn't make up more than 10% of your dog's daily caloric intake.

Yes, in small quantities. Choosing the right kind of peanuts and peanut butter is also important for your dog's health.

Are peanuts bad for dogs?

It's important to know that peanuts are rich in fat. Since dogs generally struggle to digest fats, this could lead to some digestive problems. 

Some common signs of digestive upset in dogs include vomiting and diarrhea. 

In most cases, eating too many fats can lead to a painful condition called pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is the inflammation of your dog's pancreas due to the consumption of fats. 

Although the condition is treatable, it can also become fatal.

Eating too many salted peanuts also has some disadvantages. These peanuts contain large quantities of sodium that can be harmful to your dog's health. So use low-sodium peanuts whenever preparing a treat for your dog.

So can dogs eat peanuts? Yes, they can, but unsalted are best, and only in small quantities. 

Can dogs eat boiled peanuts?

Boiled peanuts are a popular snack in the South. They are made by boiling whole peanuts in the shell in salty water. Cajun spices, cayenne pepper, and other seasonings are often added for flavor. Salt and spices can be bad for your dog's health and cause an upset stomach.    

If boiled peanuts are unsalted and unseasoned, they are safe for dogs in very small quantities. Be sure to remove the shells before giving boiled peanuts to your dog.

Can dogs eat roasted peanuts?

Dogs can eat roasted peanuts. Avoid honey-roasted and other flavored varieties of peanuts. The best types of peanuts are the unsalted, dry-roasted, or raw ones, but they might not be as delicious as the salted ones. If your dog comes in contact with one or two salted peanuts, they'll be fine. 

Even shelled, peanuts can be possible choking hazards for dogs, so limit how many you allow your pet to eat and always be present when your dog is snacking.

Many people like to give their dogs peanut butter as a treat. Some pet owners spread peanut butter inside hollow chew toys to occupy their dogs. Others use peanut butter for hiding medication. 

In small amounts, most peanut butter is safe for dogs to eat. The healthiest options are unsalted peanut butter and brands that do not contain added sugar or xylitol, a sugar substitute that is highly dangerous for dogs. There are some peanut butters made specifically for dogs. These should also be used in moderation.

Homemade peanut butter is a safer option for dogs, since you can control the amount of oil and sodium (salt) that is added. Since peanuts and peanut butter are high in fat, which can upset your dog's digestion and cause pancreatitis, even homemade peanut butter is best given in small quantities.

Can dogs eat peanut butter and jelly?

To best answer this question, let's look at the ingredients of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. We know that unsalted peanut butter without xylitol is safe in small amounts for dogs who are not allergic. 

Bread is also safe for dogs, as long as they are not allergic to wheat. Make sure your bread does not contain ingredients like xylitol, garlic (which is toxic to dogs), nuts and seeds that can cause stomach upset, or raisins. Never feed your dog raisin bread. Raisins (and grapes) are poisonous to dogs.

Because grapes are highly toxic to dogs, grape jelly is off-limits. Jellies and jams that contain xylitol as a sweetener should also be avoided. Products labelled "sugar-free" or "no sugar added" may also contain xylitol (a type of "sugar alcohol") so it is safest to avoid giving your dog any food with this description. 

If your dog has a bite of your peanut butter and (grape-free, xylitol-free) jelly sandwich, it will probably not cause a problem. Since jelly is naturally high in sugar, it's better to avoid feeding it to your dog.

Peanut butter is a tasty occasional treat for dogs. Though it's uncommon for dogs to be allergic to peanuts, it's not impossible. If you give your dog peanut butter, watch for any sides of an allergic reaction, including troubled breathing or any kind of swelling in their skin or face. Call your vet right away if you see any sign of these symptoms.

Xylitol poisoning in dogs

While peanut allergies in dogs are rare, a common ingredient in some types of peanut butters can make your dog sick. The safest choice of peanut butter for your dog is one that doesn't contain an artificial sweetener known as xylitol.

Although this ingredient is often used in many food products as a replacement for sugar, it is highly toxic for dogs, even when consumed in small quantities. 

Xylitol can cause a condition known as hypoglycemia, which refers to a drop in blood sugar level, and the ingredient has been linked to liver failure in dogs.

As a responsible pet owner, you must always check the peanut butter label before buying it for your dog. If you see xylitol in the ingredients list, keep it out of your shopping cart. Some brands also use "natural sweetener" or "sugar alcohol" in place of the xylitol.

Remember not to give peanut butter in large quantities to your dog, whether or not it contains xylitol. Always keep your pet's diet moderate and balanced so that they stay healthy for a long time.

If your dog happens to eat xylitol, call your vet right away or animal poison control. Some common signs of xylitol poisoning can be disorientation, seizures, panting, staggering, or collapsing.


Some dogs with underlying health conditions should avoid eating peanuts altogether, including:

  • Dogs with heart disease or kidney issues. Peanut butter usually contains a lot of sodium or salt, which may worsen your dog's heart and kidney problems.
  • Dogs on specific diets. Some dogs are on strict, vet-recommended diets. So if your dog is on a special diet, it's better not to give them peanut butter.
  • Dogs with extra pounds. Peanut butter is high in fats, so it isn't good for overweight dogs. 

Moderation is the key to determining the proper peanut dosage for your dog. If your dog loves peanuts, you shouldn't allow them to eat more than a few peanuts a day. 

Plan to take a break of two to three days in between the intake. 

It's better to remove the peanut shells before giving them to your dog, especially the smaller breeds. That's because the fibrous material can make your four-legged friend choke. 

If you have more questions or concerns, visit your vet and determine the right and safe peanut dosage for your furry friend.

Some nuts are not bad for our furry friends if consumed in small amounts. But it's better to avoid giving your dog peanuts or similar treats regularly. 

Most pet owners also prefer to make homemade treats for their dogs. This allows them to adjust the quantities of ingredients and eliminate any health risks.

Some nuts, like almonds, are a possible choking danger for dogs. Other nuts, like macadamia nuts, are poisonous to dogs and should never be allowed, even in small amounts.

To sum up, peanuts and peanut butter, in small amounts, can be a safe treat for dogs who are not allergic. Unsalted, unseasoned, dry-roasted peanuts without shells are allowable for an occasional snack. A spoonful of peanut butter is also a safe option as long as it does not contain the ingredient xylitol.

What happens if a dog accidentally eats a peanut?

Plain, unsalted, dry-roasted (or raw) peanuts are safe for dogs to eat in small quantities. But if your dog eats a salted peanut or two when you're not looking, they should be fine. Keep an eye on any dog that accidentally swallows a peanut shell, especially smaller breeds. The fibrous material can be a choking hazard.

How many peanuts can a dog eat a day?

You should limit your dog to only a few peanuts a day. Wait 2 to 3 days before allowing your dog to eat peanuts again.

What nuts can dogs not eat?

Like peanuts (which are legumes, not nuts), cashews may be eaten by dogs in small quantities. These should be plain (no salt, seasonings, or coatings). Both, however, are too high in fat to be a regular treat. Caution should be taken with almonds, because of the risk of choking. You should never allow your dog to eat macadamia nuts. These are very toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting, weakness, loss of balance, depression, and other symptoms within 12 hours of eating. 

If you believe your dog has eaten a macadamia nut but is not yet showing signs, your veterinarian may want you to induce vomiting.

Why can dogs eat peanut butter but not nuts?

You can safely feed your dog peanuts or peanut butter as long as you don't do it often and you follow certain guidelines. Both peanuts and peanut butter are high in fat. If a dog eats too much fat, it can cause digestive problems or a serious condition called pancreatitis. 

Only allow your dog plain, unsalted, dry-roasted or raw peanuts without a shell. Limit the quantity to just a few. When giving your dog peanut butter, keep the portion small. Check the ingredient label on your peanut butter to avoid xylitol, a sweetener that is toxic to dogs. Xylitol may be hidden under a different name, such as "sugar alcohol" or "birch sugar." Your dog may eat salted or unsalted peanut butter, but unsalted is the safer option, since too much salt can cause health problems.