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Can Dogs Eat Nuts?

by Scott Marshall March 08, 2024 5 min read

Can Dogs Eat Nuts?

Can Dogs Eat Nuts?

Navigating the world of canine nutrition, especially when it comes to raw feeding, often leads dog owners to ponder whether nuts can be a part of their pet's diet. 

By distinguishing between safe and unsafe nuts, dog owners can have the knowledge to safely introduce nuts as an occasional treat, for their furry canine friends.  

Through a clear exploration of the risks and safe practices, dog parents can confidently navigate the inclusion of nuts and how much to feed for their dog's raw diet, and finding the right variety.

What is the general safety of nuts for dogs?

The safety of nuts for dogs hinges on several factors, including the type of nut, its preparation, and the individual health and size of the dog. 

While certain nuts can serve as a harmless treat when given sparingly, others can lead to digestive issues or even toxic reactions

The cornerstone of safely adding nuts to your dog's diet is recognizing which nuts are safe, emphasizing the principle of moderation, and ensuring they are offered in their most natural form—unseasoned and unsalted

By following these guidelines, dog owners can mitigate risks, allowing their pets to enjoy the nutritional benefits of nuts without suffering from potential adverse effects.

Which nuts are safe for dogs to eat?

In the realm of nutty treats for dogs, it is important to know which are alright for your dog to have, and which can cause harm to them. There also comes a point of knowing how they should be fed to your dog to avoid any risk to their health. 

Peanuts (unsalted and not in shells)

Offering peanuts to dogs can be a safe treat option, provided they are unsalted and removed from their shells. 

This precaution not only prevents potential choking hazards but also ensures that your dog does not consume any shell fragments that could lead to digestive issues.

Ensure they are fresh and free of mold

It's crucial to ensure that the peanuts are fresh and devoid of mold. 

Moldy nuts can contain aflatoxins, which are toxic compounds that can cause serious health issues in dogs, including liver damage.

Cashews (in moderation)

Cashews are another nut that dogs can eat, but they should be given in moderation. 

Due to their higher fat content, cashews should be treated as an occasional snack rather than a regular part of your dog's diet.

When feeding your dog cashews, limit it to only a few pieces and avoid making it a daily treat. 

This approach helps prevent potential weight gain and reduces the risk of pancreatitis, ensuring that your dog enjoys these nuts safely.

Which nuts should dogs avoid?

Certain nuts pose significant health risks to dogs and should be strictly avoided.

  • Macadamia nuts

Macadamia nuts are extremely toxic to dogs, leading to severe symptoms such as vomiting, weakness, and hyperthermia. Even a small quantity can induce a toxic reaction, requiring immediate veterinary care.

  • Almonds

Almonds pose a significant risk as they are hard to digest for dogs and can obstruct the esophagus. Their size and hardness increase the likelihood of choking or gastrointestinal blockage.

  • Pecans

Pecans are harmful due to juglone, a toxin that is dangerous to dogs. Consumption can result in gastrointestinal distress and, if moldy pecans are ingested, the risk of additional toxic effects increases.

  • Walnuts

Walnuts carry a high risk of fungal toxins, which can lead to grave health issues in dogs, including seizures and neurological symptoms. This risk is particularly pronounced with black walnuts, but it's safest to avoid all varieties.

What are the risks associated with dogs eating unsafe nuts?

Feeding dogs nuts that are deemed unsafe can precipitate a range of health issues, varying from minor discomfort to severe, potentially fatal conditions. 

It is important to know what they are, and what to look out for. 

  • Nuts present a significant choking hazard, particularly for small breeds. Their size and hardness can make them difficult for dogs to chew and swallow safely, increasing the risk of obstruction in the throat or digestive system.

  • Certain nuts can lead to toxic reactions in dogs, with symptoms including lethargy, vomiting, and seizures. These adverse effects necessitate immediate veterinary intervention to mitigate further health complications.

  • The high fat content prevalent in many nuts can cause pancreatitis, manifesting as abdominal pain and diarrhea. This inflammation of the pancreas is not only painful for the dog but can also lead to more severe health issues if left untreated.

How should nuts be given to dogs if deemed safe?

Introducing nuts into a dog's diet should always be done with a few key factors in mind:

In moderation

Nuts should be offered to dogs in moderation, serving as an occasional delight rather than a regular element of their diet.

As an occasional treat, not a regular diet item

Treat nuts as a special reward, not a daily dietary staple, just as you would do homemade treats. This ensures that nuts do not disrupt the nutritional balance of your dog's overall diet.

Without salt or seasonings

Provide nuts to your dog plain, without any added salt or seasonings. 

These additives can cause health issues in dogs, including sodium ion toxicity.

Nuts should not exceed 10% of their daily intake

To maintain a healthy and balanced diet, ensure that nuts constitute no more than 10% of your dog's total daily food intake. 

Adhering to this guideline helps prevent nutritional imbalances and health complications.

The Takeaway


There are healthy and unhealthy nuts for dogs, and it is crucial to first distinguish which is which. 


They also have a lot of nutrients which can help your dog, but also have a lot of calories, so feeding in moderation is a must; even if your dog is always hungry for them. 


With the information in the article, you can safely discern which nuts your dog can have without any issue. 


Disclaimer:

The information on Raw Feeding 101’s website and other media outlets is designed ONLY for educational and informational purposes. It is essential that you understand the statements and information provided on this website and its other outlets do not aim to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any diseases or illnesses. Raw Feeding 101 strongly insists that you consult with your veterinarian to discuss your dog’s medical care thoroughly.

Scott Marshall
Scott Marshall

Scott has been feeding a raw dog food diet for over 13 years. He lives in Utah with his wife Arianne, his 11.5 year old german shepherd Wolken, and his 2.5 year old labradoodle Montu. Scott has been teaching others about raw feeding since 2013, started Raw Feeding 101 in 2017, and has been solely focused on simplifying the process of pet parents meeting their dogs’ daily nutrient requirements since 2018.


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