Can Dogs Eat Nuts? Which Nuts Are Safe To Eat?

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can dogs eat nuts

They certainly love them! But can dogs eat nuts?

Dogs can eat nuts. Nuts are no doubt associated with a lot of health benefits. However, you want to keep them away from your dog. While they are not all toxic, there are a good number of other treats out there that can deliver similar nutrition and even more.

So, while this doggie treat can be nutritious, they also have serious adverse effects. This has stirred up controversies over the years. 

As responsible dog owners, our goal is to weigh the benefits and the associated risks. This is only when we will be armed enough to be able to answer the question of can dogs eat nuts?

Can Dogs Eat Nuts? Are Nuts Good for Dogs?

Nuts may be popular for their great taste, but that is not the only thing they are widely touted for. They may not be the healthiest food choice for dogs, but they are somewhat beneficial for dogs.

A great number of these seed kernels, even in their small handful, are very loaded. They pack protein, essential fats, fiber, minerals, and vitamins dogs need for growth and development.

However, not all nuts are equal! Different varieties have their unique nutrition and health benefits as well.

Overall, when you feed your dogs moderately and in the right amounts, some nuts provide various benefits.

Weight Loss

Research has shown that nuts can help you lose weight. Nuts contain a high level of fats, most of which are good fats. This translates into more satisfaction after eating and helps make them eat less. Also, it contains an amino acid known as arginine aimed at minimizing stress in blood vessels. 

Learn more about helping your dog lose weight here.

Diabetes Control

Nuts are generally low in carbs and this naturally makes it safe for dog owners mindful of the carb intake of their pooches. For dogs already struggling with diabetes, eating nuts can help minimize complications.

Improve Cholesterol

Nuts have shown impressive effects in regulating triglyceride and cholesterol levels. This is believed to be due to the high content of the type of fatty acids it packs.

Prevent Heart Disease

Nuts are loaded with healthy fat and antioxidants such as vitamin E and Vitamin B complex content. This helps to promote the health of your dog’s heart. Moderate consumption of some nuts reduces the risk of coronary disease.

Source of Energy

Thanks to the presence of nutrients such as calories, protein, carbs, and fats, nuts go a long way to promote energy. This makes them an ideal snack for high-energy and active work dogs.

These types of dogs naturally need a serious quota of mental stimulation and exercise. That means they need a lot of energy to burn.

Are Nuts Bad for Dogs?

Like we have established, nuts pack a lot of nutrients which makes them a great addition to any diet. This is somewhat questionable when it comes to a doggy diet, considering the potential safety risks involved.

Ultimately, some nuts are safe but should only be given occasionally and in moderation. However, there are some nuts that are to be completely avoided.

Even in small amounts, these nuts can be extremely dangerous to your furry friends.

Even the nuts declared to be healthy still constitute potential health risks to your dogs. While they may not be toxic, they can still pose some form of danger in other ways.

Here are a number of ways:

  • Most nuts generally come with high fat and calorie content. This spells trouble when consumed in large amounts, leading to health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and so on.
  • Nuts are generally hard and as such pose a choking hazard and digestive issues. This is especially true for small dogs, but may apply to big dogs depending on the nut size.
  • Nuts are one of the top food allergies. Some dogs are nut intolerant and as such can cause gastrointestinal issues such as boating, diarrhea and nausea.
  • Nutshells develop sharp edges when broken and can cause scratches and cuts to sensitive body parts and tissues they come in contact with. Internally, they can be very damaging.

Can Dogs Eat Cashews?

cashews

Cashews, like a nutty treat, are safe for dogs. They may be high in fat but they are far from being toxic. Be sure to maintain moderation in order to curb any side effects.

As long as they have not been salted, flavored, or seasoned, you don’t have to panic. 

Can Dogs Eat Almonds Safely?

almonds

It definitely won’t hurt for your dog to snaffle one or two pieces of this nut. However, due to their large size and shape, these nuts may be difficult for smaller dogs to chew.

This poses a choking hazard and possible obstructions of the digestive tract. I think it is only wise to avoid such a nut. 

Can Dogs Eat Pistachios Safely?

bowl of pistachios

Pistachios are another food you don’t want for your dogs. They may not be toxic but probably best to avoid. This is especially true for dogs with a history of pancreatitis or those already on a fatty diet.

They also contain a combination of natural chemicals that are damaging – phosphorus and urushiol.

This makes your dogs at risk of conditions such as bladder stones, pistachio poisoning, and various allergic reactions.

Read more about dogs and pistachios in the article we wrote here

Can Dogs Eat Walnuts Safely?

walnuts

Walnuts by themselves are safe for dogs to eat. However, they have a high chance of being contaminated with molds.

This is a fungus that can be quite toxic and cause neurological complications such as seizures for your dogs. These nuts should be avoided as much as possible.

Can Dogs Eat Pecans Safely?

pecans

Pecans are similar to walnuts and shouldn’t be fed to your dog. They have a high chance of mold infestation. 

Pecans are also large and as such poses a difficulty in digestion for both small and big dogs.

This can cause serious digestive issues over time. It is best to keep them away from your furry friends.

Read our article about pecans in dogs’ nutrition here.

Can Dogs Eat Macadamia Nuts?

macadamia nuts

Macadamia nuts are outrightly toxic to dogs. In fact, they are known as one of the most hazardous nuts out there. They contain a toxin that even when ingested in small amounts can be damaging. 

They are usually associated with conditions such as vomiting, wobbliness, high temperature, diarrhea, and can even lead to temporary paralysis.

Can Dogs Eat Chestnuts Safely? 

chestnuts

As much as they may not be the best, chestnuts are at least safe for dogs. They may not be especially ideal for dogs that swallow foods whole or chew too quickly.

They are a lower fat nut but pretty big in size. It is safe to chop and cook them for an occasional dog treat.

Can Dogs Eat Hazelnuts Safely?

hazelnuts

Hazelnuts are large-sized; plus dogs find it difficult to chew the nuts. This translates into a choking hazard for small dogs in particular.

This can also lead to intestinal obstruction. Even though they are not toxic, you don’t want to make it a habit of feeding your dogs this nut.

What to Do If Your Dog Eats Nuts

If you discover your dog snagging some nuts, you don’t have to freak out. You should, first of all, find out the contents of the nuts.

Check also to see if they ate the nut varieties considered safe, and in small amounts. If so, there’s probably nothing you will have to do. 

If the nuts eaten are the likes of macadamia, pecans, walnuts, or almonds, you may want to get in touch with your vet immediately. He or she will provide advice on your next line of action.

Check also for flavorings or coatings, even for nuts considered to be safe. If you discover any trace of salt, onion, garlic, or chili, you still may want to consult your vet. 

In the absence of any coatings and flavorings, all is probably fine. Just discontinue their eating and observe them closely. If you notice any digestive distress or abnormal behavior, contact your vet immediately.

How to Feed Nuts to your Dogs

With all of the concerns surrounding dogs eating nuts, you are probably wondering the best way to feed them to your dog. Realistically speaking, I recommend you avoid feeding your dog nuts of any kind.

But if you must, keep the following rules in mind:

  • Do not feed your dogs with whole nuts. Chop into bits to avoid choking and obstruction
  • Do not season nuts before feeding to your dog, as they can be toxic
  • Make sure to feed fresh nuts to you dogs to avoid fat getting rancid
  • Take the shells off nuts before feeding them to your dogs
  • Avoid feeding raw nuts. You can plainly roast instead.

The Bottom Line

For some nuts, the risks are so overwhelming; and for a fact far outweigh the benefits.

My simple opinion is to play safe and save your pooches from exposure that could attract avoidable health issues over time.

But If you still want to go ahead with feeding nuts to your dogs, make sure to stick to the varieties declared safe for dogs, namely: peanuts, chestnuts, cashews, and so on. Also, keep an eye on them when doing so. 

If you notice any digestive distress or abnormal behavior, communicate with your vet immediately.

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Author
Andrei Bratu
Andrei is the owner of Dog Food Camp and manages the team of expert writers on the site. He is passionate about helping dog lovers learn about canine nutrition.

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