Can Dogs Eat Nuts? Which is safe for your dog – and which can kill?

Some common nuts can easily kill your dog when consumed. Do you know which nuts are dangerous for dogs?

Most owners want to share their tasty and nutritious nuts with their furry friends. Hence, they ask the question – can dogs eat nuts? Unfortunately, our furry companions are not evolved to eat nuts. There are only a handful of nuts that dogs can eat, and even so, it is not recommended for them to eat daily but as an occasional treat.

After extensive research, I have compiled a list of nuts that either dogs can eat or should avoid eating. Based on my readings, the consensus is to avoid feeding your dog any nuts at all. If you really want to treat your dogs, dog treats are a much safer option.

I have structured this article such that you can be very clear on:

  • The nuts that your dog can eat
  • The nuts that you should avoid feeding your dog
  • Any precautionary measures that you should take to reduce the risks of health complications in your dog
AlmondsHazelnutsPecans
Brazil NutsMacadamia NutsPistachios
CashewsPeanutsWalnuts
You can use this table to navigate quickly to a particular nut.

Nuts Dogs Can Eat

Dogs can consume the nuts listed here. However, these nuts should be fed in moderation as most have high calories and fats. Excess consumption might result in health risks such as obesity and pancreatitis.

As such, nuts should not be part of your dog’s regular diet and should be more of an occasional treat.

Cooked and Roasted Cashews

Cooked and roasted cashews are safe for dogs to eat. However, raw cashews are not so as they contain toxins (that can be eliminated through exposure to high heat).

Peanut and Peanut Butter

Dogs can eat both roasted and raw peanuts but do peel the shells off before feeding them. Also, avoid feeding your dog peanuts that are salted, candied, or caramelized.

As for peanut butter, most store-bought jams are loaded with artificial preservatives and sugar. Remember to check out the ingredient list before feeding, as different peanut butter brands differ in ingredients. For example, Xylitol is an ingredient that you should always look out for and avoid feeding your dogs.

Nuts to Avoid

This list contains nuts that you should avoid feeding your dogs. They can either cause poisoning or are potential choking hazards due to their size and shape.

Almonds

While almonds are not toxic for dogs, they are high in fat content and are more likely to be a choking hazard. Therefore, I recommend not feeding your dog any almonds.

Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts are one of the fattiest nuts. While they are not toxic for dogs, they can cause an upset stomach and other digestive issues when consumed regularly or in large amounts. Therefore, it will be in your dog’s best interests to avoid them.

Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts are safe for dogs to consume in theory, but their size makes them a choking hazard and might potentially cause intestinal obstruction.

Macadamia Nuts

Never feed your dog macadamia nuts or any products with them, such as baked goods. Reasons for why they are toxic to dogs are still unknown, but a small amount is sufficient to cause poisoning [1].

Signs of poisoning include weakness, vomiting, fever, tremor, abdominal pain, lameness, and stiffness. If treatment is not administered in time after consumption, macadamia nut poisoning can cause death in dogs.

Pecans

Pecans contain aflatoxin and juglone, which can cause liver damage and other health issues in dogs. Therefore, keep pecans away from your dog.

Pistachios

Like almonds, pistachios are not toxic, but they have high fat contents, and their size poses a choking hazard. Additionally, their shells can cause digestive blockages when consumed by dogs. Therefore, I suggest keeping pistachios away from your dog.

Walnuts

Some walnuts, like English walnuts, are safe for dogs to consume, but some others, like black walnuts, are toxic to dogs.

Also, dogs do not chew their food as thoroughly as we do. Walnut, being a large nut, can be difficult to digest when not chewed thoroughly, risking obstruction to the dog’s bowel movements.

Therefore, I recommend keeping your dog away from any type of walnuts.

Precautionary Measures

You can take additional measures to ensure that the nuts that you feed to your dogs are safe for them to consume.

Avoid Feeding Coated Nuts

Coated nuts should never be fed to dogs. Be it sugar, salt, caramel, cocoa, or spices, these artificial coatings are likely to pose health risks to your dog. At best, they make the nuts unhealthier for your dog to consume; at worst, they can result in poisoning.

Screening for Old and Moldy Nuts

Moldy nuts will cause poisoning when ingested with symptoms similar to macadamia nut poisoning.

Generally, old nuts have a high chance of being moldy or in the process of developing mold. To reduce the risks of complications, avoid feeding old nuts to your dog.

Peel Nut Shells Before Feeding

For nuts that have shells, do remember to peel the shells off before feeding the nuts to your dog. Dogs do not digest nut shells well, and when ingested, there is a risk of tearing the tissue in the digestive tract.

Allergies

Always keep in mind the allergies that your dog has. Remember to check the ingredient list whenever possible, especially when feeding dogs processed food such as nut butter.

Should You Feed Your Dog Nuts?

As seen from the lists above, while most nuts are safe for dogs to consume, there are many other factors that owners should take note of. Examples are calorie intakes, choking hazards, nuts freshness, as well as nut shells and coats.

Personally, my recommendation is to avoid feeding your dog any nuts and nut-related products. If you need to use rewards or treats, safe fruits and dog treats are better when considering potential health and safety issues.

However, if you decide to feed your dog some nuts, remember to feed in moderation. The nuts should never be part of a regular diet, nor should they be provided in large amounts at any time.

If your dog accidentally consumes any of the above listed non-toxic nuts, it is safe to assume that your dog is okay. Alternatively, you can monitor your dog for vomiting and weakness symptoms to be on the safer side. When in doubt, a trip to the veterinarian can help to give you the ease of mind.

You might also want to check out other foods that dogs cannot eat. Have fun treating your dog!

Lim Jia Le
Lim Jia Le
An owner who has owned 4 dogs for over 15 years, she had encountered many different situations and issues regarding dog ownership. She hopes to help other fellow dog owners out there with the experience she has gathered over the years.
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