The Universal Truth of Dogs: There are few things in this world that can be called ‘universal.’ People have differing opinions on just about everything. However, when it comes to dogs, there is one universal truth.
If you’re a dog owner, you already know what it is. If you’re planning on becoming a dog owner in the near future, you need to learn it quickly.
That universal truth is this: Dogs will eat anything.
If it’s on the ground or the floor, it’s fair game for your furry friend, no matter what it is. My beautiful little girl, Cora, is the sweetest, most lovely puppy a person could have, and yet, her eating habits leave a lot to be desired. I’ve personally witnessed – sometimes while trying to pry her jaws open and get her to drop what’s in her mouth – her eating everything from pickles to Post-its to poop.
However, just because dogs do eat everything, it doesn’t necessarily mean they should. There are some things that, if ingested, are very toxic to dogs. It’s important to know what those things are.
Can Dogs Eat Peanuts?
Most dogs love peanut butter, and since peanut butter is a common treat for dogs, many people also assume feeding peanuts to their dogs is okay too. However, the issue of whether or not peanuts are safe for dogs isn’t as simple as that.
There are some peanuts that are safe for your dog in moderation. Then there are other peanuts that you should never feed your dog.
Which Peanuts Are Safe For Dogs?
If you’re going to feed your dog peanuts for a special treat, the only peanuts that are safe for your dog are raw or dry-roasted, unsalted peanuts. So what about those delicious salty peanuts you’re chowing down on from the Planters jar? Those, unfortunately, are off-limits to your dog.
While we may love snacking on salted peanuts, the amount of sodium in them is much too high for you to safely feed them to your dog. Feeding your pup too much sodium can lead to some serious, even life-threatening, health conditions. Some of these include the following:
- Excessive Thirst and Urination
- Confusion and Disorientation
- Sleepiness and Weakness
- Trembling or Twitching Muscles
As you can see, too much sodium is a serious issue. That’s why feeding peanuts to your dog can be so dangerous. Again, raw, dry-roasted, unsalted peanuts are fine, but even those should only be given in moderation.
How Many Peanuts Are Too Many?
When it comes to feeding your dog anything, especially snacks, it should always be done in moderation. Peanuts shouldn’t be given as a treat every day. In fact, I limit Miss Cora to only a few peanuts once a week. Five or six is a nice little treat and will ensure you don’t go overboard.
When feeding your dog peanuts, always remove the shell first. The shells of peanuts are made from very fibrous materials, which can cause your dog to choke if he eats them. This is especially true of small dogs.
Furthermore, in addition to never feeding your dog salted peanuts, you should also never give your dog honey-roasted or other types of flavored peanuts. The seasonings and flavoring on these types of peanuts can be very dangerous for your pet.
Do Dogs Have Nut Allergies?
Just like humans, dogs can be allergic to peanuts. Also just like humans, these allergies can be severe. If your budget allows it, you may want to have your puppy allergy-tested by a vet early on in its life so you can be made aware of any potential problems.
However, if you can’t afford to do that, you should still be cautious when feeding your dog anything that could trigger an allergy. For instance, if you’re planning to feed your dog peanuts or peanut butter, it’s always best to test them out with a very small amount first – one single peanut or no more than half a teaspoon of peanut butter.
If your dog has any type of reaction to this small amount of peanuts or peanut butter, never feed him nuts or nut products again. An allergic reaction to peanut products could send your pup into anaphylactic shock and kill him.
Some signs to look for when checking for a peanut allergy include:
- Rashes or Other Skin Irritations
- Itching/Excessive Scratching
- Diarrhea or Other Digestive Problems
- Hay Fever Symptoms (Itchy Eyes, Red Eyes, Runny Nose, Sneezing, Etc.)
Is Peanut Butter Really Safe?
As long as your dog doesn’t have a nut allergy, then yes, if given in moderation, peanut butter is generally a safe treat for your dog. In fact, peanut butter has a lot of great health benefits for your dog, such as:
- Lots of Vitamin E (Good for Keeping Doggy’s Coat Healthy)
- Great Source of ‘Good’ Fats (Promotes Heart Health)
- Rich in Protein, Manganese and Folate
- High in Fiber (Helps Regulate Doggy’s Bathroom Habits)
- High in Calcium (Good for Bones)
However, that being said, there are some things to remember.
1. Always Check The Sodium Content Of The Peanut Butter
Some brands of peanut butter are high in sodium. We’ve already talked about how dangerous too much sodium can be for dogs, so always check the label on the back of the jar before buying a new brand of peanut butter. Look for the one with the lowest sodium content.
2. Avoid Xylitol At All Costs!
For humans, losing weight is often a major goal. Therefore, products marketed as ‘weight loss products’ are always going to be best-sellers. Especially now, with low-carb and ketogenic diets becoming so popular, people are buying more products that are low in sugar or sugar-free.
Many of these include an ingredient called xylitol. It’s a sugar substitute that makes things taste sweet without adding a lot of unnecessary carbohydrates. Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs! Even a tiny bit of xylitol is enough to kill a dog very quickly.
If your mid-sized dog (30-35 pounds) ingests as little as 1.37 grams of xylitol, it can lead to a drastic and speedy drop in his blood sugar levels. Your dog might start falling over, acting confused or even collapse into a seizure.
If that same dog were to ingest a little over six grams of xylitol, it would likely cause irreparable damage to the dog’s liver, leading to a quick death.
I cannot overstate the dangers of having products with xylitol in them anywhere near your dog. I’m sure you’ve always heard how toxic chocolate is to dogs, and it is. However, it would take over 150 grams of dark chocolate to cause these same horrible symptoms in dogs; that’s how dangerous xylitol is.
Unsalted, raw peanuts are fine for dogs without peanut allergies. However, as with any treat, feed them peanuts only in moderation. Peanut butter is also a healthy treat, but read the labels carefully before choosing a peanut butter product for your furry best friend.
We all want to treat our dogs, and when they give you the ‘big eyes,’ it’s hard to say no. It’s perfectly fine to treat your babies, but never do it at the expense of their good health. If you have any doubts whatsoever about whether or not something is healthy for your dog, do not feed it to him.
Go talk to your vet and get a list of healthy and unhealthy ‘human’ foods that your dog can eat. You can even check online for a good, comprehensive list of safe treats for your dog. Just be sure if you go this route that you get your information from a reputable website, such as the American Kennel Club.
And remember, even though you love your dog just like family, always put his health needs before his begging eyes.