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Can Dogs Eat Nuts | Almonds, Peanuts, Cashews & Macadamia

Picture of several types of nuts

Dog owners worldwide can relate to the fact that dogs love to explore the world with their mouths. Nothing seems off limits when it comes to what a canine will chew…or attempt to eat. You may have come home from work to discover your favorite pair of underwear now more closely resembles a piece of Swiss cheese…or your unplugged (thankfully!) lamp no longer has the ability to be plugged in. When it comes to eating your supper, your dog is intensely interested in what’s on your plate. You’ve no doubt been on the receiving end of those pleading puppy dog eyes anytime you plunk yourself down in a chair ready to enjoy your next great meal. Though dogs can eat some people food without ill effects, it is always wise to first consult a veterinarian as some food intended for human consumption can be toxic to dogs. If you’re enjoying a handful of nuts while watching the evening news, is it okay to give Fido a few to enjoy? Can dogs safely eat nuts?

The Facts about Nuts and Dogs

Can dog eat nuts? The answer is…it depends. Some nuts are safe for dogs to consume while others are a strict no-no. If you plan to feed nuts to your dog, you must find out ahead of time which ones top the yes list and which ones need to remain a firm no. In addition to this, it is always best to stick to unsalted nuts as the pre-salted version can be harmful for your pooch.

Here are some important facts regarding dogs and nuts:

The high fat content in nuts can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

For best results, keep nut consumption to an absolute minimum. As a treat given in moderation, your dog should experience no health implications as the result of enjoying a nut or two or even a teaspoon of a nut butter such as peanut butter or almond butter.

Dogs who eat too many nuts or too much of a nut butter may also be at risk for pancreatitis, a condition which is painful and that most often requires veterinary intervention.

Almonds, peanuts, and cashews are all safe for dogs to eat.

Picture of Peanuts, Almonds and Cashews

If kept to a moderate amount, almonds, peanuts, cashews, or butters made from these nuts are safe for your dog to enjoy. However, care must be taken to select a nut butter that does not contain xylitol. Xylitol is a plant-based sugar alternative. Healthier for humans, it is deadly for dogs. Even the minutest amount is lethal for a canine. For best results, don’t keep any Xylitol or Xylitol-based products in your home.

Macadamia nuts and black walnuts are highly toxic to dogs.

Picture of Macadamia nuts

Macadamia nuts and black walnuts are but two types of nuts which dogs cannot ingest. Even a single nut is sufficient to cause your dog great harm and potentially even lead to their death.

The basic rule of thumb with nuts and dogs is if you are in doubt to either call your veterinarian or err on the side of caution and not feed it to your dog. In this case, as with so many others, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

Avoid larger nuts such as pecans.

Picture of Pecans

Though not toxic to dogs, larger nuts can lead to gastrointestinal distress. In smaller pooches, large nuts can even obstruct airways, leading to breathing issues and possibly necessitating emergency veterinary care. 

Refrain from feeding nuts found outdoors.

Since nuts that have been outside for prolonged periods may be susceptible to mold, it is best to refrain from allowing your dog to enjoy any of them. 

Nuts are full of vitamins and nutrients which can be beneficial to dogs.

Though including nuts in your dog’s diet on a regular basis is not encouraged, nuts are jam-packed with powerhouse vitamins and nutrients. Among the benefits your dog can receive are additional omega 3 fatty acids and proteins.

Can Dogs Safely Eat Nuts?

The answer remains the same…it depends. The peanut, the almond, and the cashew given in small amounts as a treat are perfectly acceptable for your canine friend. However, all other types of nuts, and in particular, the macadamia nut and the black walnut must be avoided to keep your pooch healthy and happy. So, if you’re munching on a handful of peanuts and thinking of tossing a few to your best canine pal, feel free! It might even boost his health a little bit. Just always remember that moderation is key.

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