Nutty for pecan pie? You’re not alone. Pecan pie is one of the most popular pies in North America. It’s especially popular in the southern United States where pecan trees are native. If you live in the South, you probably won’t have a large family get-together without at least one person contributing a pecan pie. So, you might wonder if dogs can have pecan pie? We have the answer for you if you keep reading.
Pecan Pie Nutrition
Not only are pecans native to the southern portions of the United States but there is archaeological evidence that native Americans enjoyed them more than 8,000 years ago. Native Americans probably didn’t create the first pecan pies, however. There is some dispute about that distinction. The French in New Orleans, settlers in Alabama and Texans all lay claim to creating the dish. The first recipe for a pecan custard pie appeared in Harper’s Bazaar in 1886.
Today there are many variations of pecan pie, along with basic pecan pie. Additional ingredients can include chocolate, bourbon, butterscotch, brown sugar, maple syrup, and even (specifically) Jack Daniel’s whiskey. Depending on the recipe, almost any tasty ingredient can be included such as peanut butter, cinnamon, Irish Creme, maple syrup, honey, and caramel.
Pecan pie is a favorite at virtually all Southern holidays but it’s popular in all parts of the United States.
In terms of nutrition, like most other pies, it contains lots of ingredients which are not especially good for you. Along with the pecans, the pie includes a filling of eggs, butter, and sugar (often in the form of corn syrup or both sugar and syrup). It’s often topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Pecans (which are not technically nuts) are nutritious. One ounce (28 grams) of pecans contains 8 percent carbohydrates, 87 percent fats, and 5 percent protein. They are low in cholesterol and protein and high in manganese. Pecans are also a source of thiamin, phosphorus, and copper. The one-ounce serving of pecans contains 193 calories with 3.9 grams of carbs, 2.7 grams of dietary fiber, 20.2 grams of fat, and 2.6 grams of protein.
As you can see, pecans are high in calories and fat but they are associated with some health benefits such as being a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids which are good for the heart.
Pecans are also associated with good blood sugar control due to their fiber content. They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Their soluble fiber helps slow the digestion of sugar into the blood.
Pecans may also help improve brain cognition.
Aside from these benefits from the pecans, the pie filling can be problematic.
One slice of pecan pie prepared from a recipe (1/8 of a 9” diameter pie) contains 46 percent carbohydrates, 49 percent fats, and 5 percent protein. Just one slice has approximately 503 calories. Almost half the calories are from fat.
It has 63.7 grams of carbs and no dietary fiber. It has 27.1 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein.
On the positive side, that slice of pecan pie is loaded with vitamins and minerals. It’s a good source of vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, copper, and selenium. It’s busting with manganese.
Pecan pie is also high in cholesterol.
So, that single slice of pecan pie is a mixed bag in terms of nutrition. It has lots of vitamins and minerals and the pecans provide some health benefits. On the other hand, the pie itself is very high in fat (even more if you add ice cream or whipped cream as a topping) and sugar.
If you love pecan pie – and many of us do – it’s a good idea to eat it sparingly or only occasionally. Too much of this good thing will definitely expand your waist line.
Can You Give Your Dog Pecan Pie?
There are already differing opinions about whether dogs can or should have pecans. Pecans are not toxic to dogs. However, most people don’t recommend them for our canine companions either. That’s because pecans are high in fat. It’s possible that eating more than just a small amount of pecans could result in an upset stomach.
Pecan trees also produce a substance called juglone in very small amounts. This is the same substance produced by black walnut trees. This substance discourages some other trees and plant life from growing close to them. But since pecans only produce a small amount of this substance they don’t usually affect most animals. (They do affect horses.)
The main concern with pecans is the high fat content. This worry is exacerbated with pecan pie because recipes call for even more fat (butter) added.
Along with the fat, pecan pies are loaded with sugar in one form or another: white sugar, brown sugar, Karo syrup, honey, maple syrup, or just about any kind of sugar or syrup you can imagine.
Add the fat and sugar together and you really should not give your dog any pecan pie.
We looked online for a healthier version of pecan pie that you might be able to share with your dog but the results were not very promising. Several “healthy” pecan pies used sugar instead of corn syrup which doesn’t help much for your dog. One version used stevia (an artificial sugar) which might be worrisome. Make sure you do not give your dog foods with artificial sugars. Stevia is safe for dogs but in large amounts it can cause diarrhea. If you are buying a commercially-made pecan pie, always check the ingredients to make sure it doesn’t contain any xylitol (also known as “birch sugar”).
This recipe, made with honey and some other substitutions, is probably the healthiest one we found. If you really want to give your dog a bite of pecan pie, you might use this recipe. This recipe is still high in calories. And remember that honey is still a sugar even if it’s not a refined sugar. You should not let your dog eat very much of it.
How Much Pecan Pie Can Your Dog Eat?
Pecan pie isn’t recommended for dogs because of the high fat and sugar content in the pie. There’s nothing toxic in the pie, including the pecans, but you should not give it to your dog.
If your dog eats a bite or two of pecan pie it probably won’t do any harm. However, depending on your dog’s size, if he eats a slice of pie or more, you should observe him carefully. Call your veterinarian if your dog has any distress.
If your dog eats a lot of pecan pie it does contain enough fat to lead to a serious problem such as acute pancreatitis.
Symptoms of acute pancreatitis include:
- Severe lethargy
- Abdominal pain
- Persistent vomiting
- Severe dehydration
- Collapse and shock (sometimes)
How Often Can Dogs Eat Pecan Pie?
We can’t recommend that you give your dog any pecan pie. The high fat and sugar content really make this food potentially harmful for your dog. The same is true with many other custard-based dessert pies.
Pecan pie is delicious but it’s one food that you should not share with your dog. None of the individual ingredients are toxic but when they are combined they make a pie that is high in calories, fat, and sugar that can be very harmful to dogs. Enjoy your dessert but find other dog-safe treats for your canine best friend.