When it comes to sharing tasty treats with our four legged friends, many well-meaning pet parents assume that what is healthy for them is also healthy for their dog.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to do a bit of research before sharing human foods with your dog, especially if those foods are nuts.
But can dogs eat nuts? This is a loaded question and one with many answers. Keep reading to learn more.
What Are Nuts?
Nuts are actually fruits that are defined by having a hard shell and protective husk.
Before you ask “can dogs eat nuts”, let’s first take a look at what nuts really are.
True nuts are fruits classified as coming from a single seed, having a protective husk and containing a hard, inedible shell.
True nuts can grow from trees or under the ground. There are 11 types of true nuts that grow in the world, though there are other types of foods that are called nuts and considered nuts, but are not true nuts.
Nuts that Are Not True Nuts:
- Pine Nuts
- Sunflower Seeds
- Brazil Nuts
- Macadamia Nuts
- And Walnuts
Wait, so if the above nuts aren’t nuts, what the heck are they?
Well, these nuts are actually seeds, (except for the peanut, which is a legume). It’s important that you know these seeds aren’t nuts when researching “can dogs eat nuts” because some of them may not appear in lists of nuts that are not safe for dogs.
Many of the above “nuts” grow from trees or come from below ground. They also contain some of the characteristics of true nuts, but not enough of the botanical qualifications in order to be defined as true nuts.
Which nuts are true nuts, botanically speaking?
And now that you know which nuts are nuts and which nuts are imposters, it’s time to talk about nuts and dogs. So, can dogs eat nuts? And if so, which nuts are safe?
Keep reading to find out.
Can Dogs Eat Nuts Vs Should Dogs Eat Nuts
Not all nuts are toxic, but all nuts can cause stomach issues in your dog if not given in moderation.
Can dogs eat nuts? And if they can eat nuts, should they?
Well, this isn’t a black and white question. While most nuts are not toxic for dogs, almost all nuts are very high in fat, according to the US Department Of Agriculture. This means that even safe nuts can cause serious digestional issues in dogs if not given in moderation.
That said, if your dog did just get into your pantry and consume a nut or two, chances are he is going to be just fine. The exception to this rule is the macadamia nut, which can be highly toxic to dogs.
If your dog ate a macadamia nut, scroll down to the toxic nuts list of can dogs eat nuts to learn what to do next.
Can Dogs Eat Nuts And Which Nuts Can Dogs Eat?
Peanuts are safer nuts for dogs to eat, though they should still be given in moderation.
So, can dogs eat nuts? Yes, they can eat some nuts. The safest nuts for dogs to consume (in moderation, mind you), include:
- And Peanuts
Let’s learn more.
Can dogs eat nuts that are cashews? In moderation, the answer is yes.
Cashews are safe to give your dog in moderation, but ONLY in moderation. High in fat and calories, too many cashews can contribute to weight gain and obesity. Worse, over-consumption of cashews can lead to serious digestive issues like pancreatitis.
Roasted chestnuts are a tasty treat, especially during the holiday season. Can dogs eat nuts that are chestnuts? Yes!
This is great news for any pet parent who wants their pet to join in the holiday fun. However, chestnuts are high in fat and can lead to obesity, pancreatitis, and digestive upset if your dog consumes too many.
When giving your dog roasted chestnuts, try and ensure these nuts are free of any salts or seasonings and that they are cut into smaller pieces so they are not a choking hazard.
Many dogs are nuts for peanut butter, so it’s no surprise they might also go crazy for peanuts in their true form. So, when asking can dogs eat nuts that are peanuts, you’re probably not surprised to learn the answer is yes.
Like with roasted chestnuts, you can share a peanut or two with your four legged friend so long as you do so in moderation.
Remember, peanuts are very fatty and can lead to serious digestive issues if they are overindulged in. Furthermore, peanuts are commonly salted, seasoned, candied, or coated in chocolate, so be sure your dog isn’t getting into one of these fancier versions of peanuts.
The Potential Benefits of Offering Your Dog A Nut Now and Then
When asking “can dogs eat nuts”, you’ll be happy to learn there are some health benefits associated with feeding your dog a few dog-safe nuts now and again.
While it’s probably not a good idea to introduce nuts into your dog’s daily diet, some nuts can be a healthy snack when given in moderation. In fact, the safe nuts like peanuts and cashews are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, vitamins and proteins.
They can even help aid in weight gain for dogs who are underweight or injured, or dogs with reduced appetite.
Safe nuts can also help aid in positive reinforcement training when given in very small amounts.
Can Dogs Eat Nuts? When Even The Good Nuts Are Bad
Remember, although there are a few safe types of nuts you can offer your canine companion, there are conditions in which even these good nuts are bad for your dog.
Don’t feed your dogs even the safest nuts if these nuts are:
- Still in the shell
- Coated in candy
- Mixed with other nuts, candies, or raisins
And while we do know that peanuts are some of the safer nuts for dogs when it comes to our list of Can Dogs Eat Nuts, it’s important to note that not all peanut butters are safe for your dog.
Let’s talk more about can dogs eat nuts and why peanut butter can be dangerous for your dog.
What You Should Know About Peanut Butter and Dogs
While some peanut butters are safe for dogs, some can be incredibly harmful.
Can dogs eat nuts that are peanuts? Mostly, the answer is yes. While your dog can eat raw peanuts, some brands of peanut butter can pose problems for your dog if not properly vetted.
These days, there are hundreds of brands of peanut butter available, and not all of these products are safe for your dog, especially if the peanut butter is made with xylitol.
What Is Xylitol?
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol chemical compound that is added to different types of foods and products to replace true sugar. The most common brands that contain Xylitol include sugarless gum, toothpaste, mints, some candies, and even some peanut butters.
Although Xylitol is a naturally occurring substance and is readily found in fruits and foods like corn, plums, berries, corn, mushrooms and lettuce, it can be highly toxic to dogs.
Unlike humans, dogs cannot metabolize Xylitol safely. As a result, Xylitol is absorbed into their bloodstream rapidly, which releases a large amount of insulin from their pancreas. This leads to hypoglycemia or extreme low blood sugar, and can cause a variety of problems like seizures and liver failure.
Consuming enough xylitol can even lead to death in dogs in as little as 60 minutes.
If your dog consumes xylitol, he will need to be treated immediately by a veterinary professional. Symptoms of xylitol poisoning can occur within 10 minutes of consuming a product that contains the artificial sugar, so be aware.
The best way to avoid peanut butter with xylitol is to read the instructions and know the brands that are unsafe for dogs.
Some well-known peanut butter brands that currently contain Xylitol include Krush Nutrition, Nuts ‘N More, Go Nuts Co. P28 Foods, and Protein Plus PB. Keep in mind that Xylitol is being added to more and more brands all the time, so don’t just assume your brand of peanut butter is safe for your dog.
When looking into can dogs eat nuts and which peanut butter products are safest for your dog, your best bet is to choose a peanut butter brand that is meant for dogs.
Some of our favorite peanut butters for dogs are listed below.
Bark Bistro Buddy Budder
Buddy Butter is a dog-safe peanut butter made specifically for your four-legged friend. This peanut butter comes in two flavor varieties including pumpkin and banana, and is designed to make a safe, tasty treat to stuff into KONGS. This peanut butter can even provide your dog with a healthy distraction during grooming or bathtime.
Each jar is 17 ounces and is free of high fructose corn syrup, artificial sugars, salts, stabilizers and xylitol.
The ingredients in this peanut butter are all natural and include dog-friendly ingredients like chia seeds, peanuts, honey, cinnamon, pumpkin and bananas.
Big Spoon Roasters Wag Butter
Another peanut butter that is safe for dogs to consume is by the Big Spoon Roasters Company. Called Wag Butter, this peanut butter is dog friendly and free of soy, wheat, palm, gluten and, of course, xylitol.
It is also made with 100% natural ingredients like raw peanuts. Unlike Buddy Buddar, this dog-safe peanut butter only comes in one classic peanut butter flavor. It’s even safe for human consumption as well!
Can Dogs Eat Nuts – Knowing Which Nuts Can Harm Your Dog
Tree nuts like almonds can be toxic for dogs.
While some nuts can be safe for dogs, most nuts are actually harmful. This is important to consider when asking yourself “can dogs eat nuts”.
Before you share nuts with your dog, know the dangers and steer clear of the nuts that can be toxic.
Some of the most dangerous nuts to avoid giving your dog when looking up can dogs eat nuts include:
- Macadamia Nuts
- Pine Nuts
- Hickory Nuts
- And Pecans
Of the above nuts, Macadamia Nuts tend to be the most dangerous when it comes to canine consumption. That said, it’s important to understand that all the above nuts can cause issues in your dog, which we will discuss further down.
If your dog gets a hold of a single almond, don’t panic. Almonds are not toxic to dogs in small amounts, although they are not easily digested by dogs. For this reason, they are on our no-go list of can dogs eat nuts.
Consumption of almonds can cause vomiting and digestive issues in your dog. They can also be a choking hazard and even lead to obesity if given in abundance.
Like almonds, dogs have trouble digesting certain proteins in pistachios, leading to serious issues if consumed.
Pistachios are not only extremely high in fats, they can also lead to pancreatitis in your dog if consumed in large amounts. Along with pancreatitis, eating too many pistachios can lead to obesity, gastrointestinal distress, and other issues.
Pistachios also may produce aspergillus mold, which can release aflatoxin and damage your dog’s liver.
Walnuts are dangerous for dogs for a number of reasons. Their shape can lead to intestinal obstructions while their makeup can cause stomach issues like irritation, distress, pain, vomiting, diarrhea and more. Worse still, walnuts can easily become moldy and this mold can contain tremorgenic mycotoxins, which is a form of fungi that is highly toxic to dogs.
If consumed, tremorgenic mycotoxins can lead to seizures and neurological issues in your furry friend, so steer clear.
Macadamia nuts are highly toxic to dogs and are some of the more dangerous nuts on this list. When wondering “can dogs eat nuts” stay far away from this insidious food.
But just how dangerous are macadamia nuts for dogs? Well, according to the American Kennel Club, as much as 1/10th of an ounce of Macadamia nuts per 2 pounds of body weight can lead to serious nut poisoning in your furry friend.
These symptoms include diarrhea, lethargy, tremors, vomiting and even a fever. While many cases of macadamia nut poisoning are mild and remedied with quick professional care, some cases of macadamia nut poisoning can be severe and even life threatening.
If your dog has eaten macadamia nuts, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Can dogs eat nuts that are pine nuts? It’s best to say no.
Pine nuts are not likely to be deadly to your dog, but they can still cause serious stomach problems if ingested. For this reason, it’s best to avoid these nuts when looking for nuts to share with Fido.
Even in small amounts, Pine nuts can cause diarrhea, stomach irritation, vomiting and discomfort.
Hickory Nuts are another no-no on our list of Can Dogs Eat Nuts. Hickory Nuts are not life threatening to dogs but they do contain juglone, which is a chemical that can cause irritation, stomach distress and obesity.
More seriously, consumption of hickory nuts can lead to pancreatitis in sensitive dogs, even if eaten in small amounts.
Can dogs eat nuts like pecans? Definitely not.
Pecans are just large enough to cause serious obstructional damage and blockages. Worse, they are mold-growers that can grow toxic molds which leads to gastrointestinal distress, seizures, vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea and more.
If you suspect your dog has eaten pecans, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Potential Health Hazards of Nuts for Dogs
While not all nuts are harmful or toxic, many are.
Even the nuts that are classified safe for our canine companions can still be problematic and cause serious health issues. Some health issues can present themselves immediately in your dog while others can take up to 12 hours to appear.
Gastrointestinal Distress or Pancreatitis
Overconsumption of any of the above nuts listed in both the safe and unsafe category of Can Dogs Eat Nuts can cause gastrointestinal distress including vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea, bloating, and gas.
These issues can all cause your dog discomfort and lead to excessive drooling, lethargy, and an overall feeling unease.
Luckily, most gastrointestinal issues will go away on their own. However, if your dog has vomiting or diarrhea multiple times in one day or vomits several times in a row, or if these symptoms are accompanied by any of the other symptoms on this list, seek immediate care from your veterinarian as this could be a sign of pancreatitis.
A fever is a sign of your dog’s immune system attempting to fight an infection or inflammation. If your dog is suffering from nut poisoning and is experiencing a fever, it’s important to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Most fevers accompany serious nut poisoning and are caused by toxic nuts like macadamia nuts. However, other nuts can lead to fevers in dogs as can other serious problems, so don’t wait to seek help.
If your dog suffers from seizures after consuming nuts, it’s likely the nuts he consumed were moldy. Moldy nuts contain toxins that can be seriously dangerous for your dog, so be sure to contact your veterinarian for emergency care as soon as possible.
Neurological Issues Like Severe Weakness, Tremors or Temporary Paralysis
Neurological symptoms like severe weakness in the hind quarters, extreme lethargy or temporary paralysis are often signs that your dog has consumed old or moldy nuts. If this occurs, your dog will need emergency care.
Sodium Ion Poisoning
Sodium Ion Poisoning is poisoning caused by too much salt consumption. This can occur if your dog consumes nuts that are seasoned or salted. Symptoms include tremors, extreme thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, seizures, and depression.
In rare cases, Sodium Ion Poisoning can even lead to death in your dog, so make sure you contact your vet immediately if you feel your dog is exhibiting these symptoms after eating nuts.
Some nuts like almonds are difficult for dogs to digest and can lead to intestinal obstruction, which means the nuts can get lodged in the intestine and cause blockages. Oftentimes, obstructions require surgery to alleviate.
Symptoms include obvious pain, hunched back, whining, loss of appetite, diarrhea, repetitive vomiting, extended abdomen, bloating and weakness.
As we mentioned earlier in this article, nuts can also lead to obesity and may even be choking hazards. The more often you share nuts with your four-legged friend, the more likely your dog is to suffer from the negative effects nuts can have.
What To Do If Your Dog Ingests Toxic Nuts
Some nuts can cause mild stomach upset while others can be deadly.
Know The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Hotline
Out of all the nuts on our list, macadamia nuts are the most toxic. If your dog ingests macadamia nuts, it’s important to contact the ASPCA Poison Control Center Hotline immediately or go to your nearest vet.
The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center – (888) 426-4435
However, if you’re not sure if your dog got into macadamia nuts or other nuts that could be harmful, follow the below tips.
Monitor Your Dog For These Symptoms
- Shaking or tremors
- Inability to walk
- Obvious signs of pain or distress
- Repeated Vomiting
Contact Your Veterinarian ASAP
Your vet may ask that you simply continue to monitor your dog, or your vet may request that you bring your dog in. It’s very important that you do not wait to contact your vet, especially if your dog is exhibiting any of the above symptoms after consuming nuts.
The sooner you reach your vet, the better off your dog will be. Getting your pet treated immediately after eating toxic nuts can even save you money in the long run.
Alternatives To Giving Your Dog Nuts
If you’re looking for safe treats and snacks to give your dog, it’s best to go with treats specified for dogs.
Maybe instead of asking “can dogs eat nuts” you should be asking “should dogs eat nuts”.
While dogs can eat some nuts, it’s best they do not. If you’re looking for safe human foods you can share with Fido, why not consider other tasty treats that are much less dangerous and much more beneficial?
Some of our favorite human foods that are safe for dogs in moderation include:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Pumpkin puree
- Apple slices (not the core)
- Banana Slices
- Boiled Chicken
- Boiled Turkey
- Cheese Slices
- And Cooked hotdog Slices
Remember, these human foods are treats for dogs, and treats should always be given in moderation. Overindulgence in the above dog-safe human foods can still lead to serious stomach upset and other issues so be careful, especially if your dog is sensitive to certain foods already.
Of course, you can also forgo human foods altogether. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite dog-safe treats you can offer your dog instead of human foods.
Zuke’s Training Treats
Zuke’s natural training treats are some of our favorites when it comes to doggy treats because they are made with natural, healthy ingredients. They are also just small enough for dogs to indulge in, which makes them ideal for training sessions.
The treats are chewy and tasty, and even contain calming ingredients to help energetic dogs and young puppies relax.
They come in a chicken flavor but you can also order them in turkey, turkey and pumpkin, rabbit, salmon, duck, and more.
Yitto Paws Dog Treats
If it’s the crunch your dog likes that has you asking “can dogs eat nuts”, then why not consider these dog treats by Yitto? These treats are made with dog-safe peanut butter and fruit, and are made with natural ingredients that are human-grade in quality.
The treats are available in three different varieties including strawberry, blueberry, apple and peach.
Old Mother Hubbard Natural Peanut Butter Biscuits
Does your dog love peanut butter? Then he will probably love these peanut butter biscuits by Old Mother Hubbard. These treats are crunchy and dog-safe, and a great alternative to nuts.
They also come in other flavors like bacon and cheese, or chicken and apple. The treats are natural and free of by-products, additives, and other preservatives that can lead to issues in your dog down the road.
So, Can Dogs Eat Nuts? Experts Weigh In.
Although some nuts can be safe for dogs, it’s best to avoid them altogether if you can.
Can dogs eat nuts?
It’s a short question with a long, complicated answer. And while some nuts are not toxic to your dog, all nuts can cause issues, especially if they are not eaten in moderation.
The best way to keep your dog safe from harmful nuts, according to experts, is to just say no to nuts altogether. Instead, stick with dog-safe treats, dog-safe peanut butters, and other ,safer human foods in moderation.
And remember, when in doubt of what your dog can eat, it’s best to just say no.
We hope this has been a helpful guide on can dogs eat nuts and that you now know how to keep your dog healthy and safe from potentially dangerous foods.
Now we want to hear from you. What are your thoughts on can dogs eat nuts? Let us know what you think about toxic nuts in the comment section below.
Thanks for reading!
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.