Do you have a dog that has recently eaten some nuts and you’re worried about whether it could get ill? Have you been curious about which nuts dogs can and can’t eat? Is your dog feeling ill after potentially eating nuts and you don’t know what to do?
This article aims to answer all of the above questions and more. I love dogs, have owned three in the past, and know that they can get into all sorts of mischief by eating things they shouldn’t.
Knowing which nuts are safe as well as what to do in the event that they eat unsafe nuts helps to reassure you and the knowledge will help you become a better dog owner.
Table of Contents
Safe Nuts for your Dog
Though some nuts can be very dangerous for dogs, others are perfectly safe so long as they are given in small amounts and on rare occasions. According to PureWow, there are five main types of nuts that dogs can eat:
Finally, pistachios are non-toxic to dogs, but again should only be given in very small quantities, and always without the shell. Dogs can become injured or choke on pistachio shells, so it is important to remember to remove them.
Peanuts are legumes, and a well-known safe nut for dogs, thanks to the popularity of using peanut butter as an occasional treat. However, you need to make sure that any peanut butter is free of an artificial sweetener called xylitol, as this is toxic to dogs.
When giving a dog peanuts, make sure they are plain with no salt or added spices. Ensure you have removed the shells before giving them to your dog, and only let them have peanuts once in a while. You should also look out for an allergic reaction.
Chestnuts are suitable for canine consumption, but owners must watch to ensure the nut doesn’t get stuck in the dog’s throat. Their size means it is easy for this to occur, especially if your pup likes to wolf down its food.
To avoid this, try cutting them into smaller pieces, and always make sure the chestnuts are cooked. Roasted chestnuts are the ideal snack for a nut-loving dog, so long as they have no added coating or salt.
Cashews can be consumed by dogs in small amounts so long as they are entirely plain. They must be raw, with no added salt, and sometimes dogs can also eat cashew nut butter – but the ingredients need to be suitable too.
Almonds aren’t an ideal treat for a dog as they have a high fat and salt content, but since they aren’t toxic, it’s okay if they eat one or two on very rare occasions.
How can Safe Nuts Benefit Dogs?
These safe nuts have a couple of health benefits so long as they are eaten in strict moderation.
Nuts contain high amounts of protein and fibre, so they can help if your dog frequently has tummy troubles to bind them up, though there are many better choices for that purpose.
The protein helps with muscle development and energy, but again an alternative such as meat would be a much better snack for a dog.
Bad Nuts for your Dog
The majority of nuts are bad for a dog to eat. The high calorie and high fat content makes them less than ideal for animals, but some can be toxic and even fatal for dogs if consumed without getting immediate medical attention.
Again, PureWow has a helpful list of five different nuts that are unsafe:
Whilst you will already know not to feed them Nutella because of the chocolate content, hazelnuts also pose a threat to dogs. They aren’t toxic like chocolate, but their size makes them a big choking hazard.
If your dog eats a hazelnut, watch them closely to check it hasn’t lodged in their throat, and call a vet if they eat them in excess.
These nuts are highly toxic to dogs, and it is a medical emergency if a dog accidentally eats them. If you suspect your pup has eaten macadamia nuts, get them to a vet as soon as you can.
A video on the treatment for macadamia nut poisoning in dogs can be found here, as per the Bondi Vet YouTube channel.
Walnuts, especially Black Walnuts, are a threat to a dog’s safety simply because of their size. They have a risk of causing an obstruction in their stomach or intestines and are a huge choking hazard.
If your dog accidentally eats one, watch them carefully for signs of distress.
These nuts are unsuitable for dogs for two reasons. First, nuts in general have a lot of fat in them, but Brazil Nuts in particular have a very high fat content. Dogs shouldn’t eat lots of fat as it can cause obesity and associated health issues.
Secondly, they are big nuts that again pose a choking hazard, especially in dogs who are smaller. One nut shouldn’t do much harm, but if they do eat a Brazil Nut, call your vet for reassurance and advice.
Pecans are a type of nut that is prone to moulding. If a dog eats a fresh pecan off the floor, they could experience a stomach upset or choke, but as long as you watch them closely, they should be fine.
It is the mould that causes the real danger. Mould contains tremorgenic mycotoxins that, if consumed, can have many adverse effects on a dog. If you believe your dog has eaten a mouldy pecan, get them to a veterinarian immediately.
How Can Nuts Harm Pets?
Dangerous nuts can harm pets in different ways depending on the contents. Daily Paws has compiled a helpful blog post about the various health issues nuts can cause canines when eaten excessively or accidentally.
Firstly, as mentioned above, some nuts are choking hazards if the nuts are large, or the dog is a small breed. If they begin to choke, a tutorial on how to do the Heimlich manoeuvre on a dog can be found here. Some larger nuts can also cause intestinal blockages.
Secondly, if the nut contains toxins, the symptoms caused depends on the type of nut and the number of nuts they’ve eaten, and what kind of toxin it contains. For example, a classic case of nut poisoning can cause the following symptoms:
- Loss of Appetite
- Abdominal Pain
- Neurological Issues
If a dog has been exposed to a nut toxin, the effects will take between 12 hours to a week to appear, though the former is much more likely. The quicker you get them treated, the less severe the symptoms will be.
Thirdly, some dogs may have rare food allergies and therefore have an allergic reaction to the nuts they eat. Symptoms include an upset stomach, itching, swelling, and breathing issues.
Finally, the high fat content of nuts comes with its own complications if your dog has eaten an excessive amount. High amounts of fat causes issues within humans, so it is no surprise that it also does for dogs.
High fat intake can cause digestive issues such as diarrhea, nausea, weight gain, yellow stools, and abdominal pain, but a persistently high fat intake or an unusually large intake for dogs can lead to a condition called pancreatitis.
This is where the pancreas is damaged after the enzymes it produces begins to break down the organ itself rather than the food within the intestines. There are two types, acute and chronic, and both are usually treatable.
What To Do If Your Dog Eats Poisonous Nuts
If your dog eats poisonous nuts, or has the potential to have eaten some, call your vet to book an emergency appointment immediately. The dog will need treatment to treat the presenting symptoms and rid their body of the toxin as fast as possible.
The vet is likely to take a blood sample to check for any internal damage, and if the nuts have been eaten recently then they will probably induce vomiting. This is the quickest and safest way to get rid of the toxin.
If it has been more than a few hours, the treatment will focus on flushing out the toxin in other ways such as with an enema and IV fluids, as well as monitoring and treating any concerning symptoms.
Usually, dogs recover well from nut poisoning, but there is the potential for long-term effects if there has been neurological damage, and sometimes, sadly, some dogs pass away.
To summarize, nuts aren’t the best choice for a dog treat, but if they have a few from the safe list off the floor or on occasion, they should be fine. A recap of the safe list is as follows:
I hope you have found this article to be helpful and informative. Please use this knowledge to keep your dog safe when giving them a little treat. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them down below and we will get back to you soon.