Can Dogs Have Peanuts? We Ask a Vet

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They’re amazing in Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, a must-have for PB&Js and pretty damn delicious all on their own. And, of course, every time you pop a peanut, your pooch wants in on the action. You already know that Buster loves peanut butter, so you assume that a few nuts should be fine too. But wait—not so fast. Before you give your dog a handful of nuts, let’s check in with the experts. We asked a team of vets: Can dogs have peanuts? The answer just might surprise you.  

“Peanuts are not ideal for dogs to eat,” says Lauren Jones, VMD, of PetCoach. “While not toxic, peanuts pose a choking hazard and have the potential of becoming moldy.” And moldy foods can cause serious neurological problems, Jones tells us. 

Another problem with peanuts? “Nuts, in general, are high in fat, and if a pet eats too many, it could lead to a condition known as pancreatitis and a big veterinary bill,” says Bernadine Cruz, DVM. (Yikes—you already feel like you spend a small fortune every time you enter your vet’s office.) Salted nuts, in particular, are a bad idea because they could be hazardous for pets with heart disease by causing water retention and could predispose a pet to congestive heart failure. Even if your pooch doesn’t develop a serious condition like pancreatitis or heart failure, too much fat can still cause an upset stomach, diarrhea or vomiting. 

With all the risks mentioned above, you may want to play it safe and keep peanuts off the menu, advises Jones. That said, if your dog happens to chow down on a couple of them, it’s not a cause for major concern. 

Macadamia nuts and black walnuts, on the other hand, are a definite no-no for dogs. These types of nuts are extremely toxic to canines. Experts don’t know exactly why this is, but even a small amount can cause severe symptoms such as vomiting, weakness and depression. 

If you’re looking for healthy treats for dogs, blueberriescarrots and turkey are all great options. Or check out our favorite dog treats on Amazon. And for more fun, try one of these best chew toys for dogs that are safe and vet-approved.  

But wait, what about peanut butter? You give a spoonful of the creamy stuff to your dog all the time and she loves it. Besides, how else are you supposed to hide her medicine? Well, the good news is that peanut butter is generally safe for dogs. Just make sure there’s no chocolate or xylitol (an artificial sweetener) in there, because both ingredients are toxic to canines. (Pro tip: Check your jar’s label for “natural sweeteners,” which often means it contains xylitol.) No Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for your little buttercup. But regular peanut butter? Go nuts (you know, in moderation).

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Executive Editor

Alexia Dellner is an executive editor at PureWow who has over ten years of experience covering a broad range of topics including health, wellness, travel, family, culture and...