Due to their high fiber, protein and healthy fat content, nuts make great snacks—for people! Canines, on the other hand, need to watch their nut intake. There are some nuts dogs can eat, though you should only treat your pup to them on special occasions. Too many nuts (and too much peanut butter, which is a common treat for dogs during training and play time) can lead to obesity and dehydration.
Can dogs eat nuts?
All nuts are risky for dogs to eat. This is because of their aforementioned fat content and because they are super easy for dogs to choke on. There are a few types of nuts that only present a mild risk to canines and can be eaten sporadically. Some nuts are very toxic to dogs and can cause lasting problems for your pup’s insides if he eats them.
Eating the wrong type of nut could result in pancreatitis in dogs. In fact, a fatty diet in general is linked to pancreatitis—the inflammation of the pancreas—in dogs. Signs of pancreatitis include many of the signs of poison: vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite. Your dog also might have a distended belly or hunch his back as he walks.
Any nut given to your dog should be unseasoned and salt free!
What nuts can dogs eat?
According to dog food brand Ollie, cashews are OK for dogs to eat in small quantities. Unsalted and unseasoned cashews only!
The ASPCA says chestnuts are safe for dogs but may not be the best snack for dogs who eat too quickly or tend to swallow foods whole. Chestnuts could get lodged in a dog’s throat.
Plain peanuts are safe for dogs to eat. Actually, peanuts are legumes like peas and lentils. Make sure the peanuts are shelled if you’re going to toss a few to your pup. And make sure any peanut butter you give your dog doesn’t contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is highly toxic to dogs and potentially lethal.
Dogs can eat pecans once in a blue moon. These nuts aren’t toxic, and your dog will be fine. But they have a very high fat content, so go easy.
Pistachios can be given to dogs in small quantities. Don’t let your dog eat the shells, though. Pistachio shells present an extra choking hazard and could cut your dog’s mouth or throat.
Nuts dogs cannot eat
The jury seems to be out on almonds. PetMD says they’re not technically toxic, so it’s OK to eat once in a while. But, The American Kennel Club says almonds should never become a dog treat. We think it’s best to avoid them. If your dog grabs an almond off the floor, it’s not the end of the world, but watch him carefully to make sure he doesn’t choke.
2. Brazil nuts
Due to their extremely high fat content, it’s not advised to feed brazil nuts to dogs. Brazil nuts also pose a larger threat to smaller breeds because they could get lodged in their digestive systems.
Like almonds, hazelnuts are shaped in a way that makes them big choking hazards. While you don’t need to make an emergency call to your vet if your dog swipes a hazelnut, you absolutely shouldn’t make a habit of feeding them to him.
4. Macadamia nuts
Here’s a nut that is truly toxic to dogs. They can lead to tremors, weakness, paralysis and joint inflammation. If your dog swallows or nibbles macadamia nuts, call your vet to ask what the best course of action is.
The large and irregular shape of a walnut is dangerous for dogs. These nuts are major choking hazards and digestive blocks.
The bottom line
Forget the nuts! There are much healthier ways you can deliver protein, fiber and healthy fats to your dog. Many dog food brands design their recipes to ensure your dog gets a well-rounded diet. Anything your vet says your dog is lacking can be made up for with supplements, fruits and vegetables.