Because we, as dog lovers, enjoy treating our dogs like people when we can, sometimes we can forget that they are not people but dogs that are made up differently than us humans.
Because dogs are biologically different from us, it only stands to reason that there may be foods that are fine for us to eat but that could be detrimental to our dogs’ health. Is trail mix one of those foods? Let’s examine the facts regarding dogs eating trail mix.
Can dogs eat trail mix?
Ready-made, commercial trail mixes are made up of various combinations of nuts, including peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, pistachios, and Brazil nuts, dried fruits, like raisins and dried cranberries, currants, blueberries, cherries, and more.
These mixes often contain chocolate chips, M & M-type candies, cocoa nibs, or peanut butter chips, and various ingredients can be sweetened with various artificial sweeteners.
Trail mix is a great food for most humans, because it’s full of nuts and dried fruits. Fruits are a great source of fiber, and nuts are a great source of protein.
Further, chocolate and artificial sweeteners won’t hurt most of us in the short term, but let’s investigate the effects trail mix may have on your dog if you feed it to them.
You may have heard that chocolate is toxic to dogs, and it’s certainly so, but what about if your trail mix doesn’t have chocolate in it? Does it have an artificial sweetener, because xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is commonly used in snacks, is also toxic to dogs? You may say that your trail mix has neither. Well, bad news — many nuts are bad for your dog, and some are downright toxic.
What happens if a dog eats trail mix?
I’m sure you’re wondering, by now, what exactly will happen if you feed your dog trail mix. Well, I can’t say for sure, but I can tell you some of the probable possibilities, and here are a few of them.
“Dried fruits are bad for my dog?!” you ask in amazement. The answer — No, not all dried fruits are bad for your dog.
Blueberries, for instance, are good for your dog and are even used in many recipes for fresh dog food meals on the market, as are apples, pears, and more, but dogs should not eat cherries, and they should certainly never eat currants or grapes, and thus raisins.
Grapes, raisins, and currants often cause kidney failure in dogs. It doesn’t happen with every dog, and there is no way to determine which dogs will suffer this fate if they eat one of the dreaded fruits.
Also, there is no magic number of grapes, raisins, or currants your dog has to eat to get sick, as it is, at this point, still a relatively unexplained phenomenon.
Many vets think these fruits may contain a toxin that is created by a mold or fungus called a mycotoxin. Others think there is a drug found in these fruits that acts like aspirin decreasing the flow of blood to the kidneys.
There can be many combinations of nuts found in the commercial trail mixes on the market, and most of the nuts found in them are not good for your dog to eat. Here is a helpful list.
Nuts That Can Harm Your Dog
You should never give your dog the following nuts to eat.
Macadamia nuts are one of the worst nuts you can give your dog. If you feed your dog macadamia nuts, they can suffer from vomiting, weakness, depression, hyperthermia, and ataxia.
Walnuts, whether English walnuts, Black walnuts, or Japanese walnuts, can contain tremorgenic mycotoxins, which are fungi that can cause tremors, vomiting, and seizures.
Almonds and Pistachios
Along with peanuts, walnuts, pistachios, pine nuts, Brazil nuts, and more, almonds and pistachios contain aflatoxins, or poisonous substances, which are found in crops and some nuts.
Pecans also contain aflatoxins, but they also contain a toxin called juglone, which can harm both dogs and horses.
Nuts That Are OK for Your Dog to Eat
There truly are no nuts that you can be sure are free of mycotoxins, of which aflatoxins are a type. If you must feed your dog nuts, and you shouldn’t, soak them first, and rinse them well, as this can help reduce the level of harmful substances.
Chocolate is toxic to dogs. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is, and the more chocolate your dog consumes, the more grave the situation becomes.
Chocolate poisoning can cause vomiting, diarrhea, increased urination, restlessness, abnormal or elevated heart rate, tremors, seizures, collapse, or even death.
Xylitol, an artificial sweetener, is extremely toxic to dogs. Your dog’s system will take it for real sugar and release insulin that their body really doesn’t need. The insulin will take the real sugar from their blood and leave your dog weak.
They may experience tremors and seizures within a half-hour of consumption. Other symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can include vomiting, diarrhea, and poor coordination.
In a small dog, only a tiny amount of sugarless gum can be serious, and more can easily end up being fatal, as liver failure, and even death can occur after a dog ingests xylitol, and it can take up to 8 hours for signs to present.
What to do if my dog eats trail mix?
While dried blueberries, apples, mangoes, and bananas, pumpkin seeds, oats, granola, and more are not necessarily dangerous for your dog (in small amounts), many of these ingredients can contain extra sugar that dogs don’t need, so be aware of that, as dogs, too, can both gain weight and get diabetes. It’s just a good idea not only to not feed your dog trail mix but to keep it out of their reach.
If your dog does get into your trail mix, contact the Pet Poison Helpline and your veterinarian immediately with the package in hand, as it will help to know the ingredients.