Can Dogs Eat Peanuts or Any Nuts?

Never feed your dog macadamia nuts–they are toxic to dogs even in small amounts.

Maybe you wouldn’t feed your dog peanuts, but what if it ate that whole bowl you’d put out for your friends? Would that be ok or something you should worry about? What if it were a bowl of mixed nuts? Let’s check it out and see. Everyone knows that dogs love peanut butter. Since peanut butter is made from peanuts, most of us assume that peanuts are safe for dogs, too. The answer is not quite that simple, however.

Peanuts are loaded with protein, vitamin B-6, vitamin E, niacin, and healthy fats. There are, however, some risks associated with both peanuts and peanut butter. Dry-roasted (or raw), unsalted peanuts are the only peanuts safe for dogs to eat. Salted peanuts contain more sodium than a dog needs.

Peanuts also contain high levels of fat. This can cause digestive upset and even pancreatitis if your dog eats high-fat foods, such as peanuts, on a regular basis or in large quantities. Dogs have a more difficult time digesting fat. A high concentration of fat can cause an upset stomach, including diarrhea and vomiting.

Even with peanut butter, you should always check the label for Xylitol. This sugar substitute is extremely toxic to dogs. Be sure to read the nutritional ingredients. “Natural sweetener” may be a clue that the peanut butter is sweetened with xylitol, which can be labeled as “sugar alcohol,” its chemical classification.

Even a very small amount of xylitol could send your dog into hypoglycemia—a dangerous drop in blood sugar—that is often fatal and cause liver failure to occur. If your dog ingests xylitol, immediate veterinary care is recommended. Signs of xylitol toxicity include disorientation, staggering, panting, collapsing, and seizures. Most nuts are technically safe for dogs—that is, if your dog snatches one off the floor, they’ll be fine.

They generally aren’t the healthiest choice for a snack. Per one-ounce serving, almonds contain 160 calories, cashews contain 160 calories, walnuts contain 190 calories, and hazelnuts contain 180 calories. Nuts generally contain about 4 to 6 grams of protein per ounce along with 14 to 20 grams of total fat. Because they’re high in fat and calories they may increase your dog’s risk for obesity with frequent feeding. You should also be mindful of their size to avoid a potential choking hazard. Never feed your dog macadamia nuts–they are toxic to dogs even in small amounts.

The consequences of eating macadamia nuts include vomiting, ataxia (lack of coordination), weakness, hyperthermia (overheating), and depression. The most common sign is weakness, especially in the hind legs. Other symptoms include lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, tremors, and fever.

Some cases are mild, with dogs exhibiting only a few symptoms, and resolve themselves within a few days. However, there are serious cases involving constant shaking, high fever, and an inability to walk. If you suspect your dog may have eaten even a small amount of macadamia nuts, consult your veterinarian immediately. The bottom line is if your dog eats some nuts off the floor (excluding macadamia) they should be fine. Just don’t make nuts a consistent snack for your best friend.

Further Reading


American Kennel Club
Nationwide PetHealthZone
The Farmer’s Dog

Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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