The pioneering work of George Washington Carver (1864-1943) proved beyond any doubt that the humble peanut is actually a multifaceted plant. During his lifetime, Carver was instrumental in developing hundreds of practical applications for the peanut plant including fuel, fashion, pharmaceuticals, and food. His is a mighty legacy! Let there be no doubt: Here in the United States, we love our legumes. According to the National Peanut Board, there are no fewer than 10 regularly observed “peanut holidays.” Among these, March has been designated National Peanut Month, and Sept. 13 is celebrated as National Peanut Day. Naturally, when we are in a festive mood, we want to include our puppy pals and dog friends in the fun. Before we get the peanut party started, we should ask: can dogs eat peanuts safely?
As long as they are unsalted, or otherwise untreated with spices or other flavorings — all of which can play havoc with a dog’s gastrointestinal regularity — a few peanuts are safe for dogs to eat on special occasions. A peanut’s rough and abrasive shell can also cause physical damage to a dog’s digestive tract. Whether the peanuts are boiled, roasted, or raw, you should always make sure that any peanuts you offer to your dog are fresh and removed from their shells first.
All nuts tend to have a higher fat content than dogs are accustomed to. Yes, the peanut is a legume, not a nut, but since peanuts contain a high amount of fat, the point is still valid. Dogs who consume too much fat on a regular basis are at increased risk of upset stomach and for developing pancreatitis. The rule of thumb when it comes to dogs and nontraditional dog foods is that any new food, including peanuts, should be introduced in limited amounts.
Peanut butter, as long as it contains no salt and no sugar, is generally safe for dogs to eat. Puzzle toys for dogs are more popular than ever, and many of these can be filled with peanut butter. Along with being a common reward at the center of a toy or a chew bone, the taste of peanut butter has a broad appeal to the canine palate.
In reasonable portions, peanut butter is not only safe for dogs to eat, but its taste alone can prove beneficial to their oral health. Many of us have been frustrated when we try to persuade our dogs to submit to regular teeth cleanings. One method for encouraging dogs to tolerate dental treatments is with flavored toothpastes. It won’t surprise you to know that dogs who have a taste for peanut butter often respond positively to peanut-butter flavored toothpastes!
Most commercially available dog foods are specially formulated for the nutritional needs of a dog’s body. When we feed our dogs and puppies table scraps, or give them human foods as treats, we are exposing their digestive systems to things their bodies are simply unaccustomed to processing. A true allergy is one that develops over time and with repeated exposure. Dogs can become allergic to any kind of food, including peanuts and peanut butter.
A dog who has eaten a few peanuts without incident in the past may have an adverse reaction to them a couple of months later. You can recognize a food allergy in dogs by the sudden appearance of skin inflammation and excessive scratching. If your dog eats the same brand or kinds of food on a regular basis, and you can recall occasional variations, your veterinarian can more easily help you determine the source of a particular allergy as well as a course of treatment.
Fresh, unsalted, and unshelled peanuts are safe for most dogs as an occasional treat. This National Peanut Day, if it’s your dog’s first time trying peanuts, start slow, and with just a few. That way, you can gauge your dog’s response to them. Peanut allergies are one thing, but introducing a dog to unfamiliar foods can also provoke immediate reactions that range from vomiting to diarrhea.
Some peanut products are safer for dogs than others; as you can see in this article, every picture shows dogs enjoying peanut butter responsibly. Free of additives and artificial preservatives, and served in small amounts, peanut butter is safe and appealing to dogs, and their attempts to consume it can be entertaining to witness.
Do your dogs like peanuts? Have you ever used a peanut-butter flavored toothpaste? Has your dog been diagnosed with a peanut allergy? Let us know in the comments!
Learn more about what dogs should and should not eat with Dogster: