Can Dogs Have Pecans

Can Dogs Eat Pecans

There is a lot of confusion about dogs and nuts. There is a lot of confusion about nuts in general. It’s easy to believe that since nuts are delicious and such a handy snack for humans that it should be okay to share them with our dogs. Is that true? Are all nuts safe? Can dogs have pecans, for example? The truth is that the part of the pecan you eat isn’t even a nut. Find out the truth about pecans and whether you can share them with your dog.

Pecan Nutrition

You might be surprised to learn that a pecan is not technically a nut. It’s a drupe, a fruit with a stone or pit surrounded by a husk. The part that we call a nut contains the seed. That’s the pecan that we eat.

Pecans are not legumes either. Legumes refer to he pea family. It can really be tricky to understand the intricate definitions of fruits, vegetables, and nuts but botanists have the final say. For our purposes, however, we will consider pecans, walnuts, almonds, and similar foods to be “nuts.”

Pecans are very 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 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.

Despite being high in calories and fat, pecans are also linked to a number of health benefits. They are an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids, the kind of fat that benefits the heart.

They may also be associated with good blood sugar control because of their fiber content. Nuts such as pecans contain both insoluble and soluble fiber. The soluble fiber forms a gel in the body that can help slow the absorption of sugar into the blood.

Research also suggests that pecans may help improve brain cognition.

On the downside, some people do have allergies to tree nuts. If you are allergic to any kind of tree nut such as almonds, cashews, walnuts, or chestnuts, the allergy may make you allergic to pecans as well.

Pecans are also relatively high in calories. One ounce of pecans contains almost 200 calories. If you’re going to eat pecans, watch your portion size. If you are eating pecan pie or another dessert that contains pecans, the pecans plus sugar and fat in the food will add up quickly.

Can You Give Your Dog Pecans to Eat?

With their rich, buttery flavor, pecans can be hard to resist. They are the key ingredient in many pies, cakes, candy bars, ice creams, and other desserts. They are even an important ingredient in some savory dishes such as cornbread dressing. It’s surprising when you stop to think how many dishes contain pecans or how often you might eat pecans without thinking about it.

When you are enjoying pecans, can you give them to your dog either alone or as an ingredient in a food? There are mixed opinions.

Pecans are not toxic to dogs. However, they aren’t exactly recommended for dogs either.

Here’s the situation. A few nuts are actually toxic to dogs such as macadamia nuts. Just about all nuts are high in calories. Giving your dog nuts as snacks can lead to weight gain and most dogs today certainly don’t need to gain any extra weight. Since many nuts are high in fat content, it’s possible that your dog could have an upset stomach (or a more serious digestive problem) if he eats a lot of them. Plus, if the nuts are coated with chocolate, salt, or other things, it could lead to a serious problem.

With these concerns in mind, pecans are still generally safe for dogs in very small amounts. Just be careful with regard to calories and anything that is served with the pecans that could be bad for your dog.

It’s true that pecan trees can produce a substance called juglone, the same as the substance produced by black walnut trees. However, pecan trees don’t produce very much of this substance. The juglone in pecans doesn’t usually affect animals unless the animal eats leaves or other material from the tree in large amounts. (It can produce laminitis in horses.)

Some sites report that pecans and other nuts can give dogs aflatoxin poisoning. Well, maybe. But aflatoxin is a kind of mold that affects lots of different foods, including dog food. We’re not sure why pecans and tree nuts have been singled out for possibly having this mold. It can occur on lots of vegetables and other foods. Aflatoxin fungi grow on almost any kind of food or crop. This really is not a valid reason not to give your dog pecans.

Obviously you should not give your dog any moldy nuts, whether they are pecans or not. Moldy pecans can contain tremorgenic mycotoxins. These mycotoxins can produce seizures or neurological symptoms.

And, of course, you should not give your dog nuts that are still inside the shell. Shells can be damaging to the gastrointestinal tract and to your dog’s teeth.

Can dogs eat pecans

How Many Pecans Can Your Dog Eat?

Pecans are not recommended for dogs because of their high calorie and fat content, as well as the possibility that they can contain any substance that might cause gastrointestinal distress. However, if you “accidentally” share a few pecans with your dog, it’s best not to let him have more than 2-3 halves.

How Often Can Dogs Eat Pecans?

We cannot recommend that you give your dog pecans. However, if you decide to share some with your dog in small amounts occasionally, watch to see if your dog has any gastric problems. If your dog doesn’t experience any diarrhea or vomiting, you might be able to safely give your dog a couple of pecan halves once per week.

Conclusion

Pecans are high in calories and fat. That is true. They are probably not the best treat for your dog if you are concerned about his weight. However, pecans are not toxic to dogs. We found veterinary web sites which pointed out the calories and fat in pecans but they did not make any claims about toxicity for these nuts. Nor did they particularly discourage letting dogs have some pecans, in moderation. There are a number of pet web sites online which exaggerate the possible risks of giving your dog pecans and some other nuts but, as far as we could tell, these sites are not backed up with valid evidence.

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