Can Dogs Eat Nuts? Safe and Bad Nuts For Your Dog

A handful of nuts looks like the perfect-sized treat for your dog, but are they actually safe for canines to eat? There is no simple solution because the safety of nuts varies depending on the type of nut and how it is fed.

What you need to know about giving your dog nuts and the potential dangers they pose.

Can dogs eat nuts?

Dogs should not eat any kind of nuts. This is due to the fact that dogs can easily choke on them and also to the high fat content they contain.

Some varieties of nuts pose no or minimal risk to dogs and can be enjoyed on occasion. There are a few nut varieties that are particularly harmful to your dog’s digestive system if he ingests them.

Dogs can get pancreatitis if they eat the wrong kind of nuts. In fact, pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) is associated with a high-fat diet in dogs.

Some of the symptoms of pancreatitis are similar to those of poisoning, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and loss of appetite. You may also notice that your dog walks with a hunched back or a potbellied appearance.

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Nuts Are High in Calories and Can Cause Weight Gain

Nuts are high in calories, so they shouldn’t be given to dogs that are overweight or at risk of becoming overweight. Instead, lower-calorie human foods like green beans, apples, or air-popped popcorn without butter and salt can be given as treats.

Small amounts of peanut butter may be used to help your dog swallow pills, but the total number of calories from all treats, including the peanut butter, should never exceed 10 percent of your dog’s daily calorie intake. Because of this, your dog’s treat intake won’t throw off his dietary balance.

Please find below a table containing the approximate calorie content (kcal/100g)* of some common nuts:

Nut Typenumber of calories per 100 grams
blanched almonds590
Raw, unsalted almonds that have been dry roasted598
Non-salted dry-roasted cashews574
Raw cashews553
Raw unsalted peanuts that have been dry roasted587
In their natural state, peanuts567
Unsalted, dry-roasted pecans710
Unprocessed pecans691
Dry-roasted, unsalted pistachios572
Naked pistachios560
Roasted American Walnuts654

*Refer to the USDA’s FoodData Central database and/or other appropriate references.

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Nuts Have High Fat Content That Can Cause Pancreatitis

In addition, dogs with sensitive stomachs or those predisposed to pancreatitis should avoid eating nuts because of their high fat content.

A trip to the vet is usually necessary when pancreatitis, where the pancreas becomes irritated and inflamed, sets in.

Some possible symptoms are:

  • reduced or absent hunger
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea

It is more common in dogs that eat a high-fat diet, and in breeds like the Miniature, Standard, and Giant Schnauzer, which are predisposed to the condition.

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Nuts Can Have Coatings That Are Dangerous for Dogs

Coatings of chocolate or spices like garlic can be found on nuts; both are toxic to pets. Besides the high salt content, nuts may also have other flavoring coatings that are toxic to dogs and cats.

What nuts can dogs eat?

1. Cashews

Small amounts of cashews are safe for dogs to consume, as claimed by Ollie, a popular brand of dog food. Just plain, unsalted cashews, please.

2. Chestnuts

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reports that chestnuts are safe for canines, but they warn that dogs who eat too quickly or who tend to swallow foods whole may not benefit from eating them. It’s possible for a dog to choke on a chestnut.

3. Peanuts

Dogs can safely eat plain peanuts. Peanuts, like other legumes such as peas and lentils, are not nuts at all. If you’re going to throw a few peanuts to your dog, make sure they’re shelled.

Moreover, xylitol, an artificial sweetener, is extremely toxic to dogs and could be fatal if given to a dog in any quantity.

4. Pecans

Once in a blue moon, dogs can have a pecan. It’s safe to give your dog these nuts. However, they are extremely high in fat and should be consumed with caution.

5. Pistachios

Minimal amounts of pistachios are safe for canines. Despite this, you shouldn’t feed the shells to your dog. Dogs should not eat pistachios because the shells are sharp and could easily sever their mouths or throats if they were to swallow them.

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Nuts dogs cannot eat

1. Almonds

Almonds haven’t been proven effective yet, so the verdict is still out. According to PetMD, they are not technically toxic and are safe for occasional consumption.

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The American Kennel Club, however, strongly advises against ever giving your dog an almond. Avoiding them is, in our opinion, the best course of action.

It’s not the end of the world if your dog picks up an almond off the floor, but you should keep a close eye on him in case he chokes on it.

2. Brazil nuts

Brazil nuts have a very high fat content, making them unhealthy for dogs to eat. The risk of a Brazil nut becoming stuck in the digestive tract is greater for toy and miniature breeds.

3. Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts, like almonds, pose serious choking risks due to their size and shape. You shouldn’t take your dog to the emergency room if he steals a hazelnut, but you also shouldn’t make it a habit.

4. Macadamia nuts

This nut is extremely dangerous for canines. Conditions like tremors, weakness, paralysis, and inflammatory joint pain can result from them. In the event that your dog ingests even a small amount of macadamia nuts, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.

5. Walnuts

Dogs should not eat walnuts because of their large size and unpredictable shape. These nuts pose a serious choking and gastrointestinal obstruction risk.

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The bottom line

Don’t bother with the nuts. Your dog can get the protein, fiber, and healthy fats it needs in a much more natural way.

Some brands of dog food are made with the intention of providing a balanced diet for your pet. Supplements, fruits, and vegetables can make up for whatever your vet says your dog is lacking.

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