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For humans, nuts are tasty and quite nutritious, full of protein and healthy fats. However, it’s a different story for dogs. Some nuts are okay for dogs to eat, as long as they’re unsalted, unseasoned, and served in small quantities. Others need to be avoided entirely.

In short, the answer to the question of can dogs eat nuts is sometimes. Read on to learn more about what nuts your pup can and can’t have.

Dogs and Nuts

Nuts are a major food group, coming in different shapes, sizes, and tastes. Technically, they’re fruits. Commercially available nuts are flavored and presented in ways that make them more appealing to consumers. However, their target audience is humans, not canines. Letting your dog eat nuts can lead to some serious repercussions. These are some risks of feeding nuts to your dog.

Salt Content

Saltiness makes nuts delicious to us, but it can also make them toxic for dogs. All that salt can dehydrate them considerably. Additionally, there are often other chemicals involved. You don’t want to take a risk and have your dog ingest something potentially fatal.

Fat Content

Nuts are great for people trying to bulk up, but they could lead to your dog getting unpleasantly plump. For instance, a handful of peanuts contains 166 calories. Not all nuts carry the same risks for dogs, but they should be avoided if you want to keep your dog’s weight at a reasonable level.

Shells

Just in case you enjoy cracking open peanut shells, you should be aware that shells can be harmful to dogs. While there’s nothing toxic about their chemical makeup, their tough texture can mean they’re very uncomfortable to digest.  They could also have harmful pesticides lingering on them.

Mold

This is mainly an issue if you’re giving your dog uncooked nuts, but it’s still important to know. With raw nuts, mold can accumulate and eventually make its way inside your dog’s stomach. When you buy nuts, check them for any sign of spoilage.

At home, if you see mold or any other signs they’re going bad, toss the nuts out ASAP. Your dog should have no way of getting into your trash and consuming the nuts.

No Nuts For Dogs, Ever?

You might be reading this and protesting that you’ve given your dog nuts and nothing has happened. Therefore, it must be safe, or at least, not as dangerous as we’re making it out to be.

However, just because your dog survives something or doesn’t seem affected by it, it doesn’t mean that it’s a healthy behavior. If you’re going to give nuts to your dog, it should not be done on a regular basis. You’ll also need to follow these rules.

Unmodified

Any nuts your dog eats needs to be free of salt and other flavorings.

Unshelled

As discussed above, shells can be unpleasant on a dog’s stomach.

Know the Right Types

Some nuts are okay for your dog to eat. However, there are also ones that can be especially harmful to their health.

Nuts Your Dogs Should Not Eat

Now, we’re going to tell you about the nuts that should never be consumed by dogs.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts have a toxin that can wreak havoc on your dog’s stomach, cause mental issues, and even short-term paralysis.

Walnuts

Walnuts are too big for dogs to be able to comfortably digest them. Their high-fat content is another reason they should be avoided.

Pistachios

Pistachios, like walnuts, are too large and high-in-fat for a dog’s consumption.

Flavored Nuts

We want to stress how important it is to not give your dog any kind of nut that’s been modified in any way, beyond being cooked and unshelled.

Expired Nuts

If nuts are showing their age, they need to be away from your dog. Be sure to clean up crumbs wherever you find them. You don’t want your dog to lap up a mold-covered peanut by the dishwasher.

Nuts Dogs Can Eat

Next, we’re going to cover nuts that don’t pose the same risk to dogs. We’d like to stress that we don’t encourage giving nuts to dogs on a regular basis, due to their fat content.

Peanuts

The most-popular nut (yes, we know it’s technically a legume) in the world is also fairly safe for dogs to eat. Peanuts still need to be out of their shells and unsalted, but your dog is unlikely to have any problems digesting it.

Many people give their dogs peanut butter. This can be okay in moderation as well. However, you need to check the ingredients for “xylitol,” an additive that’s toxic to dogs.

Almonds

Almonds are generally okay for dogs to eat. The biggest risk comes in dogs not chewing them fully, potentially giving them upset or damaged stomachs.

Cashews

Cashews are mostly okay for dogs to eat. However, these have a lot of fat.

My Dog Ate Nuts: What Now?

If your dog has consumed any of the toxic nuts or any large quantity of nuts, you need to get in touch with their vet right away. Depending on how much they’ve eaten, your vet might suggest an emergency checkup.

Regardless, listen to your vet’s advice and track your dog’s condition. Your pup might need some time to recover, but you can make things better by keeping them comfortable, hydrated, and fed. Just make sure you’re not including any nuts in the mix.

Keeping Your Dog Safe

Dogs are great friends, but their curiosity can get the best of them. Keep your dog away from nuts as much as possible, and avoid feeding nuts to them directly.

If something happens, talk to their vet and figure out how you can keep this from happening again. It can be as simple as being more mindful of keeping food out and being more careful when you’re eating.

If you want to treat your dog to something, think about other healthy snacks like apples, bananas, and cooked broccoli. Not only will your dog love these treats, but they’ll also help them stay energetic, happy, and healthy.

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