Springbrook dog sitting at a table with a green shake.

Botanically speaking, nuts can be classified as seeds, legumes, or actual tree nuts, but your dog doesn’t care about any of that. Instead, they’re likely to wag their tail, lick their chops, and look pleadingly into your eyes the minute you mention the possibility of a nutty snack. To them, nuts are simultaneously crunchy and creamy and just downright delicious. But they’re also jam-packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals. They love chomping on them, but should dogs eat nuts?

Go Nuts Over… Nuts!

Possibly the most popular nuts for dogs are peanuts. Technically legumes (beans or peas), peanuts can be given to dogs raw or roasted, but definitely unsalted. Dogs rarely suffer from peanut allergies like people do, but it’s not unheard of. As a result, slowly introduce your dog to peanuts and only in the absence of adverse reactions offer a weekly nutty treat.

Cashews can also be given occasionally, but going overboard may cause stomach pain and gastrointestinal distress. Always be sure to buy roasted, unsalted cashews as raw ones can contain a toxin dangerous to canines.

Hazelnuts may not be your first choice, but they are a delicious alternative. Be sure that they are cut into bite-sized pieces.

Buttery Goodness

Butters made from the above listed nuts are excellent when you need to conceal medicine or fill a Kong before an inevitable, temporary separation. However, because many commercial nut butters can also contain Xylitol, please read food labels very carefully. This artificial sweetener has health benefits for humans, but is deadly for dogs. 

Because nuts are high in fat they should only be given once in a while. Pancreatitis can be triggered by rich, fatty foods especially if a dog has had a previous bout of this serious health condition. 

Almonds Equal Joy?

Almonds are high in beneficial fatty acids and fiber, but they aren’t always easily digested by pups. If they like almonds, but you’re worried about causing them GI problems, you can soak raw or roasted (unsalted) almonds in water overnight to soften them. Cut them into little bites, or opt for almond butter as a delivery vehicle for medicine or supplements.  

When Dogs Eat Nuts For Fun

If your dogs eat nuts, why stop there? Unfortunately, the following options can be quite risky for pups:

  • Pecans and pistachios have a really high fat content and may cause tummy troubles. Also, it’s not unusual for pecans to have their shells still attached, leading to dental issues or GI obstruction.
  • Walnuts are not a healthy choice, especially if they are on the ground beneath a walnut tree. These nuts are often moldy, but the husks may also contain a neurotoxin caused by a fungus. It may be worthwhile to train your dog to leave all fallen nuts alone, as black walnuts can have terrible health consequences. 
  • Macadamia nuts are considered highly poisonous to dogs, and should never be given to dogs. 

Springbrook Veterinarians Say…

Yes, dogs can eat nuts. However, because of the risks of some nuts to canine health, it may be best to provide them with crunchy treats designed specifically for them. 

Lastly, if you know or suspect that your dog ate something they shouldn’t have, or consumed too much of something high in fat, please let us know. Veterinarians at Springbrook Animal Care Center are always here for you!