We know that many varieties of nuts and seeds are a great source of protein and nutrients for people. Therefore, it’s reasonable to assume that nuts are also good for dogs. I know that my dogs come running when they see me open a bag of nuts, and those big, brown eyes are hard to resist. However, dog owners need to know which nuts are safe to share and which should be kept from their canine companions.
A few peanuts or a bit of peanut butter are safe to give to dogs, as are cashews and hazelnuts. Experts may disagree slightly about which nuts can be shared, but all agree that these treats should be given in moderation or not at all. Eating too many “good” nuts high in fat can cause stomach upsets, and some can become choking hazards or intestinal obstructions if not adequately chewed. So, think twice about giving your dog nuts to eat, and avoid those that can be toxic.
Nuts to Avoid
Almonds. These are not typically toxic, but they are hard to digest. Almonds are very attractive to dogs and they will beg for them for days, but almonds tend to cause gastrointestinal distress.
Macadamia nuts. These may bring you pleasant memories of a trip to a tropical island, and they are delicious as a crust on fish, but macadamia nuts are very dangerous for dogs. The reason is unknown, but these nuts can cause neurological problems, including tremors, lameness, or vomiting.
Walnuts. Be aware of tremorgenic mycotoxins responsible for seizures. These toxins appear in walnuts and can also cause minor symptoms, such as weakness or lethargy.
Pecans and hickory nuts. These nuts can cause intestinal obstruction or gastric upset. Both of these nuts contain juglone, a toxin that can cause laminitis in horses, but the full effect on dogs is unknown. Moldy nuts can also cause seizures or other neurological disorders.
Pistachios. These will upset your dog’s stomach, and they can cause pancreatitis —a very serious condition – if fed over time.
What about seeds?
You can feed unsalted sunflower seeds to dogs if the shells have been removed. However, watch out for dropped seeds left in the grass at parks and public areas. Be aware that your dog can swallow dangerous objects, even if you didn’t see him or her in action. If your dog discovers these “treasures,” he or she could swallow them without your knowledge. Seeds in shells can be choking hazards and may become intestinal obstructions.
Poison Control Hotline
A single dropped nut that gets licked up by your dog will probably not cause problems, but if your dog empties a nut dish on your coffee table, take immediate action, even if your dog is not showing any symptoms. Keep emergency phone numbers in a convenient place for easy reference. You may have a local poison control group in your area, or you can call the ASPCA national poison control hotline for instructions on how to proceed. Call (888) 426-4435.
When to seek emergency help
If your dog is showing signs of possible toxicity, waste no time in getting him or her to the closest Animal Emergency Center or to your veterinarian’s office. If you observe foaming at the mouth, drooling, or vomiting; uncontrolled shaking, diarrhea (especially if bloody); lethargy, weakness or staggering; or disorientation, collapse, or difficulty breathing; get to the animal hospital without delay. If possible, call the hospital to tell them you’re on the way with an emergency.
A balanced diet is best
Aside from the occasional toy stuffed with peanut butter, there is no need to give nuts to your dog. It’s always better to stick to a high-quality diet for your pets. CANIDAE® makes superior food for dogs at all life stages, as well as great treats for training or for indulging your pet’s desire. Our CANIDAE® Under The Sun® recipes are made with single animal proteins and a bounty of fruits and vegetables to nourish your four-legged friend for years to come!