Can Dogs Eat Peanuts?
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Out of all the names for peanuts (Arachis hypogaea),such as the groundnut, monkey nut or earth nut, it is the American term goober which might be most accurate. This is because peanuts aren't nuts at all. Peanuts are legumes, a plant family also known as pulses and which includes beans, chickpeas, lentils and many more. Originating in Bolivia, peanuts are commonly used in a vast variety of dishes. These can be savory or sweet.
Peanuts have the stigma of being a fatty food, but they are actually incredible if part of a balanced diet. They are rich in minerals, fatty acids, vitamins and many other important properties. But just because they are healthy for us, can dogs eat peanuts? AnimalWised shows you how safe peanuts and peanut products are for dogs so you can ensure your pet remains healthy.
So, can dogs eat peanuts?
Peanuts are a food rich in natural fatty acids and antioxidants, such as Omega 3 and Omega 9. These benefits help us to prevent cell damage and cardiovascular problems. In fact, thanks to what are known as free radicals, the accumulation of LDL cholesterol plaque is potentially reduce. Deemed the so-called ‘bad cholesterol’, this means heart disease is reduce and overall health is promoted.
Peanuts also contain vitamin E, vitamin B, folic acid and minerals such as manganese. These and other essential nutrients are required to help strengthen the immune system and encourage muscle development of dogs. This is why dogs not only can eat peanuts without causing harm, a few peanuts provided as a snack can be beneficial.
Consumption of peanuts might also be particularly helpful during the puppy stage as they are still developing. Bolstering their immune system protects them when they are in their vulnerable youth. They might also be helpful for senior dogs as they can help prevent muscle wasting and other developmental issues brought upon by old age.
Despite these benefits, you cannot give peanuts to dogs whenever you like. While peanuts do offer health benefits, they also have a high calorific content. Excessive consumption of peanuts can lead to rapid weight gain. This is something particularly bad for dogs with a propensity towards obesity. Exercise and activity can help burn off the peanuts, but this needs to be considered when offering them as a snack or treat.
In addition to their calorific content, dogs cannot eat peanuts in the same way as humans. We are used to eating peanuts in various forms, whether straight from the shell or with flavoring. These may include oils for frying, lots of salt or even flavorings such as spice or honey. Dogs should not eat food which has been fried or has added salt or sugar. It will not benefit them and it can lead to health problems if eaten in enough quantity. It is also important individual dogs eat their food in the proper form according to their size, weight and health.
Before offering peanuts to a dog
Although dogs can eat peanuts, it is essential we know how to introduce it to their diet. Ensuring the product is safe and beneficial to the dog is imperative. Part of the issue is that peanuts come in different varieties and even forms. Some are in the shell, some roasted, others salted or sweet. Although many dogs would happily eat them with the shell on, this can lead to both gastrointestinal and oral discomfort.
Ideally, you should give the dog raw peanuts as this way they retain the most nutrients. You can give the dog oven roasted peanuts, but only as long as they have no added salt, sugar, other flavorings or preservatives. Fried and caramelized peanuts should be avoided in any circumstances. Sugar is also seriously harmful for dogs with a diabetes risk.
Can dogs suffer peanut allergies?
We should also ensure the dog has an examination at the veterinarian. This is to ensure their overall health, but we will need to check for allergies. While it is difficult to know the instance of peanut allergies in dogs (since many dogs will not even try them), we do know they can suffer from peanut allergies. In fact, studies have shown a dog can suffer from similar reactions to humans when they have a peanut allergy. This is so much the case that it has been proposed that dogs can be used in allergy trials.
Different ways to give peanuts to dogs
When giving peanuts to dogs, it will only be as a treat or small supplement to their normal diet. This diet will be based on their individual health needs. We can offer them a small handful of raw unsalted peanuts as a reward when training or exercising. This is a helpful tool when using positive reinforcement for a dog's education. We can use about 10 g for large dogs (equivalent to about 55 Kcal) and 2-5 g in smaller dogs (between 10 and 30 Kcal).
Their consumption of peanuts should be moderated to around 2 or 3 times a week. Additionally, we should give them a little less food in their main mail. How much is removed depends on how many peanuts are given, but you will need to be careful in ensuring all of their nutritional needs are met. If the dog partakes in more exercise than usual, then you will not need to remove food.
Can dogs eat peanut butter?
Peanut butter is a common treat for dogs. It is particularly tasty to them and can be included in many homemade recipes, such as as our pupcakes in the video below. Dogs can eat it, but there are some other caveats. As with peanuts, they contain the same nutritional benefits. Unlike peanuts from the shell, peanut butter is in even more concentrated form. Peanut butter is made simply by blending peanuts into a paste. This means a small amount goes a long way.
Another issue is to do with the manufacturing process. Although peanut butter only needs peanuts as an ingredient, industrially produced peanut butter often contains additives such as oil or salt. These will increase the calorific content and are not good for a dog's health. Even more concerning is the fact that many peanut butter products also contain xylotil. This is a sugar substitute which is poisonous to dogs. Never give any xylotil products to a dog.
Other peanut-based products include a range of sweet and savory treats. These include candy bars such as a NutRageous or peanut butter cup, Asian dishes such as kare-kare or satay sauce, as well as various savory snacks which include peanuts as an ingredient. Very few of these dishes can be given to dogs. The reason for this is because they contain many other ingredients which are either nutritionally valueless, unhealthy or even toxic. Each product needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis, but should all generally be avoided.
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1. Teuber, S. S., et al. (2002). The Atopic Dog as a Model of Peanut and Tree Nut Food Allergy. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 110 (6), 921-927.
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- Dzurik, JW, Hair, ER, Hardy, ME, & Purves, ER (1971). US Patent No. 3,619,207. Washington, DC: US Patent and Trademark Office.