Despite being high in fat, nuts are considered a healthy snack for humans. They provide protein, vitamins and minerals, and healthy fats.
However, not everything that is good for us is good for our furry friends. Can your dog eat nuts? Are they good for them?
Can dogs eat mixed nuts?
You are chowing down on a can of mixed nuts. Your four legged family member stares at you, waiting for you to share. You are tempted to give them a handful, but aren’t sure if they should be eating them. Are they ok for dogs?
The short answer is, probably not. Some nuts are toxic for dogs, and mixed nuts typically contain these.
Good and Bad Nuts
Some nuts are ok for dogs, in moderation. Others are harmful, or even toxic. Mixed nuts often contain some of the nuts that are toxic for dogs, including almonds, brazil nuts, and macadamia nuts.
If your mixed nuts contain any of these, the answer is no, they cannot eat mixed nuts.
First, it’s important to understand that nuts of any type aren’t a great choice of snack for your pooch for a few reasons. The first is that they are high in fat.
Too much fat can lead to problems in dogs, including obesity and pancreatitis. The added calories can lead to weight gain.
When giving your dog treats of any type, including nuts, remember that they should be a small portion of your pooch’s overall diet. When combined, your dog’s daily treat allotment is 10% of their needed calories. The rest should come from their food.
So, if you give your dog a handful of nuts, do not follow it up with other high calorie treats. You should also avoid nuts if your dog is overweight or obese.
If they have pancreatitis, you should also avoid nuts and other high fat foods.
Salt and Additives
Another concern with feeding your dog nuts is added salt. Dogs need salt in their diet, just as we do. It’s essential for the functioning of many processes in the body.
However, dogs have much lower salt needs than humans. Your favorite brand of nuts probably contains a good deal of salt, which is a concern. A small amount of nuts isn’t likely to cause salt toxicity, which can be fatal in high amounts.
However, it can lead to high blood pressure, excessive thirst, and loss of coordination.
If you choose to give your dog nuts, it’s best to choose the unsalted variety. You can also give the nuts a quick rinse before giving them to your pooch to reduce the salt content.
Additives are another concern. Chocolate and garlic are sometimes found on nuts, and are toxic to dogs.
Potential Choking Hazard
Nuts can be a choking hazard. Avoid giving your dog any nut with the shell on. Supervise them when they are eating nuts, just in case choking occurs. Small dogs are at a higher risk of choking, but larger dogs aren’t immune.
There are nuts that are considered safe for dogs, in moderation. In fact, they do provide some health benefits as well. Nuts have lots of protein, which is essential for dogs.
They have fiber, which can help ease constipation. They are also high in vitamins C, B1, and B2, as well as potassium.
The best nuts to feed your dog are peanuts and hazelnuts. Both should be shelled and plain. Cashews are a good option as well, but they should be roasted. Raw cashews are difficult for dogs to digest.
What happens if a dog eats mixed nuts?
What happens if your dog eats mixed nuts will depend on how much they ate, which nuts they ate, and their own health status.
If your dog gets their paws on toxic nuts, commonly found in mixed nuts, they can have some serious symptoms. Gastrointestinal symptoms, including vomiting and diarrhea, are often the first sign something is wrong.
Bloating and abdominal pain, and loss of appetite can also occur. They may have difficulty walking, tremors, or loss of coordination. A rapid heart beat, orange urine, and seizures can also occur after eating toxic nuts.
Your pooch would have to eat quite a few nuts to develop salt toxicity, but it can be very serious. Symptoms include excessive thirst and urination, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of coordination.
Severe salt toxicity can lead to seizures and death.
Pancreatitis can also occur after eating nuts, due to their high fat content. Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas.
When it becomes inflammed, the digestive enzymes it releases activate immediately, rather than when inside the intestines. These enzymes damage the pancreas and surrounding organs.
The symptoms of pancreatis include nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Fever and lethargy also occur.
Many dogs will get into a praying position, with their front paws and head down, and their back up. This relieves some of the pain in their stomach.
Many things pose a choking hazard to dogs, including nuts. Of course, your pooch can’t tell you if they are choking, so it’s up to you to realize what’s going on.
Signs your dog is choking include pawing at the mouth, gagging, coughing, and difficulty breathing. They will also be in obvious distress.
What to do if my dog eats mixed nuts?
What to do will depend on a few factors. One factor to consider is if the nuts your pooch consumed were toxic. The other factor is if they are having symptoms of distress or toxicity.
Monitor Your Dog
The first step is to monitor them. Watch for signs of gastrointestinal distress, including vomiting and diarrhea. You’ll also need to watch for other signs, including shaking, lethargy, extreme thirst or urination, loss of coordination, or high fever.
When to Call the Vet
If your pooch shows no symptoms of distress, you can continue monitoring them at home. If they develop mild stomach, this can usually be managed at home as well.
Even if your dog has mild or no symptoms, you may want to give your vet a call for advice. If they consumed nuts or seasonings that are toxic, you should call your vet or the Pet Poison Helpline. You can reach them at (855) 764-7661.
Even if they aren’t currently showing any symptoms, it’s best to get professional advice on the next steps. The Pet Poison Helpline will consider the type of nuts your dog ate, their age, size, and weight. They will then make a recommendation on how to proceed.
If they develop serious symptoms like shaking, extreme thirst, high fever, or loss of coordination, they need immediate veterinary care.
If your dog has mild stoamch upset, you can treat this at home. There are a few ways to get your pooch feeling better. If they have vomiting and diarrhea, Pepto Bismol can help.
Give them 1 teaspoon of Pepto for every 10 pounds of body weight. You can repeat the dose in 6 to 8 hours.
Pepcid can also calm an upset tummy. Give .5 mg per pound of body weight. You can repeat the dose in 12 hours.
It’s best to feed them a bland diet until their stomach feels better. The best method is to give them rice and boiled chicken. Give 2 parts rice to 1 part chicken.
If you give them 1 cup of food, you would give them 2/3 a cup of rice, and 1/3 a cup of chicken.
Pumpkin can also help ease digestive upset. If your dog has diarrhea, 1-2 teaspoons for smaller dogs and 4 teaspoons for large dogs per meal is adequate.
Which nuts are harmful to dogs?
We know that some nuts are toxic to dogs. Now it’s time to take a closer look at these dangerous nuts.
Almonds aren’t technically toxic to dogs. However, their irregular shape makes them more of a choking hazard than other types of nuts, so it’s best to avoid them.
If your pooch chows down on an almond or two, just keep an eye out for signs of choking.
Macadamia nuts are truly toxic to dogs. Symptoms usually appear within 12 hours after eating the nuts. If your dog eats these nuts, seek immediate veterinary care, before symptoms begin.
Symptoms include weakness, loss of coordination, vomiting, tremors, and hyperthermia in dogs.
Black walnuts are also highly toxic. They can cause vomiting and neurological symptoms. These can include confusion, loss of coordination, tremors, and seizures.
The cousin of the black walnut, English walnuts, are safe for dogs in moderation.
Brazil nuts aren’t technically toxic. However, they are high in fat and difficult to digest, so it’s best your pooch avoids them. If they are overweight or have a history of pancreatitis, it’s more important that they not eat brazil nuts.
Moldy nuts of any type are a danger to dogs and humans. Toxic molds, known as mytotoxins, are not common on nuts.However, they can occur and can be highly toxic to dogs.