Perhaps you like to wind down with your pup on the deck in the evening, or maybe you prefer a little "Netflix and chill" on the couch with the pooch. Whatever your canine love language is, I'm sure snacks are involved. And if you're like me, a small handful of healthy handful of nuts is at the top of the list. But do you know which nuts your dogs can eat?
We all love our dogs. They're our best friends and, for most, a part of the family. So would you feed a human friend or family member a possible toxin without making sure it was healthy? Of course not. The same should go for dogs.
A healthy dog is a happy dog, and a happy dog is a happy owner! So take out the guesswork, and learn how different nuts can affect your dog's body.
Generally, Are Nuts Healthy for Dogs?
Nuts are very nutritious for humans, being packed full of healthy fats, protein, and fiber. However, for our furry friends, that is not necessarily the case. The high-fat content in most nuts is difficult to digest for dogs when ingested in large amounts.
That is not to say that you can never give your dogs nuts. On the contrary, sharing a few nuts with a friend is a great way to pass the time (and listening to your pup chomp on crunchy snacks like a human is always entertaining). But, like with all good things in life, moderation is key.
Keep in mind, though; not all nuts are made equally. Some nuts are much safer for dogs and can be consumed more liberally. Other nuts, however, are too risky and are strictly forbidden. So if you're not sure whether you should give your dog a certain type of nut, always err on the side of caution.
Which Nuts Can Dogs Eat?
There are several kinds of nuts that can be great treats for dogs. The following guide will help you decide which nuts dogs can eat. But again, don't overindulge, and always be aware of what your dog is eating. Remember MODERATION!
Peanuts are by far the healthiest nut for dogs. In fact, they're not actually even nuts. Like peas and soybeans, they are pod seeds and are classified in the legume family. Peanuts can be a yummy snack for both owner and dog, especially if they're raw and unsalted.
And while we're on peanuts, I'm sure everyone has or knows a dog who loves peanut butter. That lip-smacking snack has been a canine favorite ever since its invention. Moreover, most brands of peanut butter are perfectly safe.
However, make sure you know the ingredients. Some peanut butter contains Xylitol, a sugar substitute used in many "sugar-free" foods. Xylitol is extremely toxic for dogs and should never be ingested under any circumstance.
Cashews, Pecans, Pistachios -which nuts your dogs can eat:
A distant tie for second place on the "good nut list" goes to cashews, pecans, and pistachios, which are healthy for dogs when eaten in minimal amounts. Again, it's not recommended to make a habit out of it, but these nuts are much easier digested than others.
These nuts also tend to be smaller or softer than the others, greatly reducing any choking or intestinal blockage risk. However, make sure to always shell the pistachios before sharing. The hard, sharp qualities of pistachio shells can be dangerous to a dog (and humans if, like me, you've accidentally bitten into one).
Which Nuts are Poisonous (or otherwise too risky) for Dogs?
While many healthy human foods are also great for dogs, not all are. We have different bodies and digestive processes that can alter how different foods interact with our systems.
When it comes to nuts, it can get a little confusing. It seems each nut can have a different reaction. So now, here is a list of nuts that should NEVER be given to dogs!
Macadamia nuts are perhaps the only nuts that are totally toxic to dogs in any quantity. While scientists are still unsure of the exact reason for toxicity, numerous studies have shown that a dog's body is susceptible to the tree nut. As a result, ingesting these nuts can cause a dog to feel weak, lethargic, and depressed.
As far as the digestive system is concerned, an upset stomach will be a likely symptom. This will usually lead to vomiting as your dog's body tries to rid itself of the toxic food in its stomach.
If you think your dog may have eaten a macadamia nut, you may need to contact your veterinarian. It is not known to be a lethal toxin, but it could cause a rough week for your sickly pup. And potentially a very messy week for you.
Almonds aren't necessarily poisonous like macadamia nuts, but it is a good idea to keep your pet away from them at all times. The extreme high-fat content can cause immediate digestive discomfort, including vomiting and diarrhea.
The long-term effects of ingesting almonds are much more serious. A high-fat diet can lead to an increased risk of intestinal issues for dogs, such as pancreatitis. This can lead to a very uncomfortable and expensive future for you and your dog.
Another reason for your dog to avoid almonds is their irregular size and shape. Especially for smaller dogs, almonds can easily get lodged in the throat or digestive system, which causes all kinds of issues.
These obstructions are severe and can be fatal if left untreated. Always consult a veterinarian if you notice any signs of choking or intestinal discomfort after accidental almond ingestion.
Brazil Nuts have the same adverse digestive effects on dogs that almonds do. They just contain too much fat, causing serious negative short and long-term effects.
The size of brazil nuts can also cause obstructions in the esophagus and intestines. So like almonds, It's best to keep your pup away from brazil nuts altogether.
Other large or irregularly shaped nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.) also fall in this category of "too risky."
Regardless of the type of nut, any packages that include extra flavors or ingredients should be avoided. Dogs are sensitive to many secondary ingredients that we take for granted in packaged goods. If you ever let your dog eat nuts with you, try to keep it natural. After all, it will be healthier for you as well!
More Nutritious Snacks Your Dog Can Eat (other than nuts)
While a few nuts are harmless, it's probably been pretty clear from this post that they're still not a healthy dog snack. There are many other more nutritious dog-friendly snack options. Instead of nuts, try one of these healthy human/dog foods:
Have you ever wondered can dogs eat sweet potatoes? Well, the answer is a resounding YES! Sweet potatoes aren't only great for humans they are an excellent source of vitamins and nutrients for our 4-legged friends as well! Cubed and steamed, mashed, or sliced and dehydrated like this simple treat, there are lots of easy ways to incorporate sweet potatoes into your dog's diet.
If you and your pup have a hankering for a more savory snack, try some popcorn. It contains significant amounts of nutrients like zinc and magnesium.
However, your dog's popcorn needs to be plain; leave out the salt and butter. If you can air-pop rather than oil-pop, that's even better.
Keep in mind that corn is a common allergen for dogs, so start slowly and keep the portions small and watch for an upset stomach.
If you have to season yours, make a separate batch for each of you. Always keep an eye on your dog's salt intake.
While you're making your pup some salt and butter-free popcorn, indulge yourself with my quick and easy kettle corn!
Packed with fiber and antioxidants, blueberries are a superfood for everyone. Especially for older dogs, the antioxidants can work wonders with brain functions. A good diet of blueberries can help slow cognitive decline and maximize their happiness as they get on in years.
Apples are full of Vitamins A and C and fiber, necessary nutrients for both humans and dogs.
Carrots are packed with Vitamin A, which boosts the immune system and maintains the health of a dog's skin and coat. They also promote dental and gum health by removing plaque and other harmful bacteria.