When you’re munching away at yummy cookies, chances are your pooch is right next to you, begging with all their K9 charm for a bite. You may wonder if you can let your doggo eat a cookie with you. After all, it’s got almond flour in—is it safe for dogs to eat almond flour?
Can Dogs Eat Almond Flour?
Dogs can eat almond flour made from sweet almonds since it has been processed, cooked, and ground, and therefore, it doesn’t contain any harmful toxins or chemicals.
Almond flour is made by blanching (cooking) almonds, removing the soft skins, and grinding the nut to a flour. Almond flour is rich in protein, but it’s low in carbs, making it a safe dietary choice to feed your dog.
While dogs may safely eat a small amount of almond flour, it is not good to feed it in large quantities or regularly. Additionally, other almond products such as almond paste or raw almonds are considered risky for humans to eat, and these would certainly be toxic to dogs too.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Almonds?
If a dog should eat raw almonds or almond flour made from raw or bitter almonds, they will ingest fatal amounts of cyanide. This harmful toxin is naturally produced by seeds and nuts that contain the compound amygdalin, which turns into hydrogen cyanide.
Most of the almond products sold in a supermarket are made from roasted or boiled sweet almonds. Sweet almonds are a result of a natural mutation of bitter almonds, which created a safer variety of almonds that has a much lower cyanide content than raw wild or bitter almonds. Eating only a few raw almonds can cause such a severe toxicity in people (and in dogs!) that they will become seriously ill and could suffer fatal toxicity.
Most commercial products that contain almonds are made from sweet almond flour or flakes. Bitter or raw almonds are only used to make specialized almond paste that is not commercially sold.
Why Is Almond Flour Safe to Eat (for People and Dogs)?
Almond flour is generally made from sweet almonds, which has a lower amygdalin content, and therefore, these produce less cyanide. Additionally, almond flour is made from boiled sweet almonds. The process of heating the almonds removes up to 98% of the cyanide content from the almond, making it safe to eat.
Grinding the almond into flour after blanching the nuts further breaks down the chemical structures of the almond, and it reduces the quantity of almond that is ingested. It’s quite unlikely that you or your dog would eat a whole cup of almond flour in one sitting, as it is used as a flavoring in baked goods in recipes that require only a few grams of almond flour.
One dog biscuit that has been made using almond flour will generally contain less than a half a teaspoon of almond flour, which is a small enough quantity to further reduce the risk of poisoning.
Why Shouldn’t You Intentionally Feed Almond Flour or Flakes to Your Dog?
While a small quantity of almond flour is not harmful to your dog, it is best to avoid feeding it to your dog since the benefit doesn’t outweigh the risks of poisoning.
Almond flour may be a rich source of vitamin E, fiber, and protein, but there are safer sources out there to achieve this nutritional boost without intentionally risking your dog’s health.
What Happens If a Dog Eats Almond Flour?
Generally, a dog can safely munch on a few grams of almond flour as long as that flour has been made from boiled sweet almonds. If the flour is homemade from raw sweet almonds or raw bitter almonds, the toxicity increases drastically as the dog will have ingested much more cyanide. A dog that eats too much almond flour could suffer cyanide poisoning and die.
Cyanide poisoning is often fatal to dogs, so if your dog has eaten more than a tablespoon of almond flour (as a raw flour and not as an ingredient in baked goods), it is important to know the signs and take appropriate action.
Signs of Cyanide Poisoning in Dogs After Eating Almond Flour
When a dog has ingested toxic levels of cyanide, it may display the following signs:
- Salivation and excessive drooling from the mouth
- Rapid and strained breathing or gasping
- Convulsions and muscle tremors
- Paralysis in one or more legs or the whole body
- Bright red gums
A dog that shows these signs is suffering toxicity that has influenced the blood’s ability to absorb and release blood to their body. Suffocation begins to set in, which is why the dog will be breathing rapidly and straining for air. This is a painful death, and as soon as the signs present, the dog should be rushed to a vet for care.
Other Sources That May Also Contain Cyanide Poisoning
Almonds are not the only source of cyanide-containing compounds that your dog may be exposed to. Stone fruit such as peaches and pears are also rich in cyanide-causing compounds. When you have fruit trees in your yard, the risk of your dog chewing on a peach, ingesting the pit and eating the core, where cyanide is produced increases.
Beans, seeds, and other sources of cyanide require proper processing through boiling and baking to remove the cyanide that could poison people and dogs before these are safe to consume.
What to Do If My Dog Eats Almond Flour?
If your dog has eaten almond flour or raw almonds in excessive quantities, it is important to take note of all their symptoms, phone your vet immediately and explain what happened, and rush your dog to the vet for emergency treatment.
Don’t try to administer activated charcoal or induce vomiting as this will do nothing other than to further exhaust the dog. Be sure to remove all food or water sources that may further activate the cyanide compounds in the dog’s stomach. Treatment will be up to your vet now, so don’t waste time with home remedies as your dog requires specialized intervention to survive.
What Can a Vet Do to Help My Dog When It’s Eaten Almond Flour?
If you are wondering what good a vet will do when your dog is clearly busy suffocating from cyanide poisoning, know that your dog can be saved. There are several approaches to treating an animal that has suffered cyanide poisoning. These include administering hydroxocobalamin (vitamin B12) and oxygen therapy to help bind the cyanide molecules to additional red blood cells and excrete these through the dog’s urine.
The treatment protocol for cyanide poisoning in dogs is as follows:
- Administer hydroxocobalamin (vitamin B12a) upon arrival at the vet’s
- Dosage is 70 mg/kg given via IV over 15 minutes
- Administer more hydroxocobalamin every 15 minutes as needed until symptoms start to lessen
- If the dog has ingested the almond compound within 10-15 minutes before arriving at the vet’s, the vet may decide to pump the dog’s stomach to limit the exposure after administering the first dose of hydroxocobalamin
Supportive treatment includes hyperbaric oxygen treatment where the dog is exposed to 100% oxygen at increased atmospheric pressure, forcing more oxygen to be absorbed by the blood. This increases the dog’s chance of survival.