Can dogs eat peanuts and peanut butter?


Our veterinary nurse shares what you need to know before feeding peanuts and peanut butter to your dog

Can dogs eat peanuts and peanut butter?

Quick takeaways about dogs and peanuts

  • Many owners feed their dogs small amounts of peanuts and peanut butter as a treat.
  • You should avoid peanut butter that contains xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.
  • Dog-friendly peanut butter exists, but there are much healthier treat options.


Curious about sharing your peanut butter snack with your pooch? While many owners feed their dogs peanuts and peanut butter, there are a few things you need to know before letting them go nuts on the nuts.

From dog-friendly peanut butter to the nuts you should avoid at all costs, Melanie Sainsburys, a veterinary nurse and educator for Natures Menu shares the facts.


Can dogs eat peanuts?

Many owners feed their dogs peanuts without problems. However, they’re not the ideal snack for your dog.

Eating lots of nuts is bad for your dog, for several reasons:

  • They’re high in fat, which can lead to weight gain
  • They lack nutritional balance
  • They contain lectins and aflatoxin.

These natural compounds – lectin and aflatoxin – can be harmful when eaten in larger quantities. They can cause digestive issues and even pose a threat to your dog's liver.

Melanie advises, "As with all treats, it's crucial to be mindful of portion sizes to avoid potential health risks."

Also, some nuts are incredibly toxic to dogs. Never feed your dog cashews or pistachios, and avoid macadamia nuts at all costs. They look similar to peanuts but they can poison your dog, causing vomiting, weakness and neurological symptoms.

Lastly, stick to unsalted, unflavoured varieties, as other types contain unhealthy ingredients like salt and sugar, which aren’t suitable for doggy diets.


Can dogs eat peanut butter?

If peanuts are okay, does that mean peanut butter is fine too? Unfortunately, it’s not so simple.

Unlike us, dogs can’t eat xylitol, a common ingredient in peanut butter for humans.

So if peanut butter is your chosen doggy treat, make sure to go for a brand without harmful additives.

"Xylitol, a sugar substitute, is toxic to dogs. Always check the ingredients to make sure your peanut butter is xylitol-free," says Mel.

In dogs, xylitol causes their blood sugar to drop very quickly. Signs of xylitol poisoning include vomiting, weakness, seizures and coma, and can be fatal.

Even without xylitol, regular peanut butter isn’t the best option for your dog. It can contain added salt and sugar, and high quantities of oil. “It’s not the healthiest or most nutritious food or treat,” says Melanie

Opt for dog-friendly peanut butter when possible, and consider whether your dog might benefit from healthier snacks.


Healthier alternative treats to peanut butter

The problem with peanut butter treats is they lack nutritional balance and instead pack the fat – both of which can be detrimental to dog health.

The good news is that healthy snacks don’t have to be boring. You could try natural yoghurt or liver paste on a licking mat instead. Or, try our superfood bars and training treats.

Raw bones like duck necks and beef trachea can be good for your dog and can benefit their teeth.


Which dogs shouldn’t eat peanut butter?

It’s best to avoid peanut and peanut butter if your dog is overweight or has kidney problems.

The high-calorie content may contribute to weight gain, while dogs with kidney problems may need to avoid excessive protein intake.

Melanie suggests, "Consult your vet if you're uncertain whether peanut butter is suitable for your dog's specific health condition."

Unsure if your dog counts as overweight? Here's the easiest way to check.


Peanut butter treat ideas

Lots of pet owners keep peanut butter on reserve as a high-value treat or distraction. Here are some of our favourite peanut butter treat ideas.

However you decide to roll, bear in mind that smearing is the best way to give peanut butter to your dog – it keeps portion sizes low and avoids the risk of choking on large clumps of peanut butter.

It’s also best to go with smooth over chunky.


Kong toys

These natural rubber toys are designed to fulfil your dog’s natural urge to chew, but the hole in the middle is also perfect for smearing with peanut butter. This stops them from wolfing down the peanut butter in one, so they can enjoy it longer.



Dog puzzles are designed to give dogs more variety in play activities, increasing their mental and physical stimulation. They often come with compartments that your dog opens with their snout – perfect for hiding peanut butter smears in.


Bottom line

If you want to try peanuts or peanut butter as a snack, make sure to use dog-friendly varieties (free from xylitol, salt, sugar and other added ingredients).

As a high-calorie snack, peanuts and peanut butter should be given in small amounts.

Melanie concludes, “It’s also worth considering that not all dogs like it. There are healthier options available, such as liver paste.”


Dogs and peanuts FAQs:

Can dogs be allergic to peanuts or peanut butter?

Dogs can develop allergies to peanuts or peanut butter. Watch for signs like itching, vomiting, or diarrhea, and consult your vet if you suspect an allergy.


Can dogs eat human peanut butter?

While plain, unsalted, and unsweetened peanut butter is generally safe for dogs, it's crucial to avoid brands containing xylitol or excessive additives.

While these may be edible for humans, they can be poisonous for dogs.


Can dogs eat crunchy peanut butter?

Smooth peanut butter is preferable, as it reduces the risk of dogs choking on crunchy bits. Make sure it’s free from xylitol.

Want to make sure your dog is getting all the protein and nutrients they need? Try our personalised meal plans with high-quality raw ingredients.