It’s tempting to want to feed your pet the same healthy food that you and your family eat. But, unfortunately, what’s healthy for humans isn’t always healthy for your pup. In fact, some of the healthiest foods for you can be downright toxic for your dog. So, it’s essential that you do your research first.
Almonds, for example, are renowned for their health benefits. They’re high in healthy fatty acids (which can help to lower cholesterol), and are packed with fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals.
But … can dogs eat nuts?
Are Almonds Safe For Dogs to Eat?
Well …the answer to that question is yes and no…
Almonds are not toxic to dogs, like other nuts can be, however, they’re not digested well by dogs and can cause gastrointestinal problems.
Likewise, almonds are high in fat, and your pooch could not only pack on the pounds eating them – but could develop serious digestive illnesses. This is because dogs have a hard time digesting fats and can develop pancreatitis from consuming too many fatty foods.
Almonds also pose a risk because they are small and hard. This means they could cause an intestinal obstruction, especially in small dogs.
Finally, flavored almonds are also troublesome. Dogs love the flavor, but flavored almonds are very high in salt, and the spices may irritate your pup’s stomach.1,2
But, according to Dr. Marty, there’s a bright side to almonds:
“If you soak almonds overnight and then process them (in a food processor for example), they can be fed to your dog. High-quality almond butter is actually a very good vehicle for administering supplements.”
Because of the fat content in almonds, you should only feed them to your dog as a treat (in moderation).
So, What About Other Types of Nuts?
Like almonds, cashews aren’t toxic to dogs. But, just like almonds, they should only be consumed as a treat – and even then, only in moderation, and never raw. That’s because raw cashews can contain toxins. Roasting them destroys these toxins. Also, because of their size, they could be a choking hazard for your dog.3
Peanuts fall into the non-toxic category, but as with all nuts, they are high in fat. This can cause an upset tummy (as we spoke of) as dogs have a hard time digesting fats. You’ll want to avoid salted peanuts, and if you’re feeding your pooch peanut butter, choose one without the sugar substitute xylitol, which is very toxic to dogs.4
Pecans aren’t considered poisonous to dogs, but their fat content isn’t ideal for doggy tummies. If you’re going to toss a couple of pecans to your dog, ensure that they’re completely deshelled. Also, pecans contain a substance called juglone which is toxic to horses, and some consider a potential danger to dogs – but they would have to ingest a lot of them.5
Walnuts are not toxic to pups at face value. The problem is, dogs often find and eat old, moldy walnuts lying beneath trees. Consuming moldy walnuts is particularly dangerous, because their hulls may contain a compound called penitrem A – which is a neurotoxin caused by a fungus. This could cause tremors and seizures.
Black walnuts should be avoided altogether, as they can make dogs pretty sick, whether moldy or not. Dogs who have ingested black walnut wood, nuts, or nut hulls have experienced neurological and musculoskeletal side effects, as well as vomiting.6
Macadamia nuts are one of the most poisonous nuts for dogs. It’s not known why, but macadamias can be very toxic, causing weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors, and hyperthermia. Symptoms should appear within 12 hours if you’re concerned about your dog having eaten this nut.7
What To Do If Your Dog Has Ingested a Bad Nut
If you’re concerned that your pup has ingested macadamia nuts, moldy nuts, or may have a nut obstruction, you should contact your vet immediately. You can also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in the U.S. on (888) 426-4435 for advice on anything related to toxins.
So, can dogs eat almonds? Yes, and they can eat certain other kinds of nuts too. However, nuts don’t always provide the same nutritional value to dogs as they do for humans. There are a myriad of other healthy dog treats that would perhaps be a better choice for your dog instead.
If you’re still wondering about feeding nuts to your dog it’s always best to talk to your vet about any concerns you have.