A lot of dogs really love nuts. What dog doesn’t like peanut butter? They are certainly few and far between. Not all nuts, however, are good for dogs. We’ll dive into the facts about nuts, especially cashews, to see what is safe and what isn’t.
Some Nuts Can be Bad News
Nuts are a good source of protein so many dog owners want to give them to their dogs and they don’t stop to think about what is safe. Not all nuts are safe, but some of them are.
The nuts that are safe for dogs, generally speaking, are peanuts, cashews, and almonds. We say generally safe because there are always some risks. Your dog could have a peanut allergy.
An almond could get stuck in his throat due to the size and shape, and no nuts should be salted or given in large quantity because of the diarrhea risk. Almonds are also extremely high in fat so they may not be the best choice for a snack.
The nuts you should stay away from at all costs are macadamia nuts. These can cause paralysis. Scientists aren’t sure exactly what it is in these nuts that causes the issue, but dogs can go limp and become unable to support themselves.
Walnuts should not be given to dogs because while the walnut itself isn’t toxic, they are prone to mold and that mold can be extremely toxic to dogs. Moldy walnuts contain something called tremorgenic mycotoxins.
These are a neurotoxin for dogs and can cause death. Walnuts are also high in fat, but the mold risk is not worth the chance because only a little can cause death. Even the fat level in walnuts can cause vomiting in dogs.
Peanuts are okay for dogs, still high in fat though. Most nuts are high in fat. The real risk to dogs is peanut butter. Please, read labels very carefully. Peanut butter, in recent years, has begun to be sweetened with xylitol in place of sugar. Some people think this sugar-free type of peanut butter is better since sugar isn’t good for dogs. Xylitol is very toxic for dogs.
Xylitol is also a neurotoxin and can be very serious. A small amount can be deadly. Neurotoxins will cause tremors, seizures, and then ultimately death. Animals can die within hours of ingesting xylitol.
Nuts May Simply Not Be the Best Choice for a Dog
Given the high fat content of most nuts, and the high risks associated with many types of nuts, it may be wise to stick with fresh produce. Carrot sticks are typically loved by dogs and puppies enjoy chewing on a cold carrot stick that has been in ice water. It helps with their teething and satisfies their sweet tooth naturally.
Dogs can have sweet potatoes, green beans, lentils, peas, broccoli, spinach, and much more. Dogs seem to especially enjoy pumpkin, watermelon sans the rind, and even cucumbers. Some dogs love tomato and some dogs will eat an entire salad if you add it to their dog food.
Shredded carrots, zucchini, and other types of squash are easy to add to their food, cooked or raw. Your dog may love some zucchini noodles with fresh vegetables bit avoid giving him garlic, salt, or onions. Those are bad for him.
It’s worth taking a little of your time to learn about what foods you can feed to your dog as not all vegetables or fruits are safe. The ones that are safe are great for him as they are low in fat, high in nutrients, and full of flavor.
Even if a vegetable is supposed to be safe for dogs, your dog may have an allergy to it. Always be cautious when feeding new things and be prepared to act if necessary. Keep Benadryl in the house and administer it if you think your dog is having an allergic reaction. Call your veterinarian for instructions and find out if Benadryl is right for the situation.
Your dog may not like all vegetables or fruits that you offer so don’t be sad if he won’t eat pumpkin. Some dogs hate it while other dogs love it. Speaking of fruits, make sure that you remove all seeds or pits. Pits are a choking hazard and can be toxic and many seeds, such as apple seeds, contain cyanide which can be toxic. Simply core your fruits and it will be fine. There are some fruits and vegetables that you should never feed your dog. Some of the more common ones are:
- Raw white potatoes
This is a short list of some common things you may have in or around your home. Be safe and keep things away from your dog and in places they cannot reach. Teach children that these things shouldn’t be shared with dogs. Children would think nothing of handing their grapes to the do, who will eat them because they taste good. As few as six grapes can be fatal to a small dog.
Speaking of Children
Children are notorious for walking around the house with food. They are also equally known for taking a bite from an apple and then dropping it anywhere in the house. Dogs find these things and eat them and you’ll never even know until it is too late.
Children who have food, when there is a dog in the house, must be supervised or you must carefully choose what comes in your house. Substituted oranges for apples. A dog can eat the orange without problems. Substitute bananas for grapes. While they are high in natural sugar, they will not cause your dog to suffer kidney disease.
If you cannot supervise children, then you must police what comes into your home, until children are older and they can understand what the dog should not have and why. Your dog’s life depends on it. For now, go ahead and share some cashews, just make sure you take a longer walk later to help him work the fat off.
Dawn Greer is a passionate blogger and animal rights activist. She is a pet lover, certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, pet nutritionist, and former veterinary technician. She continues her work while writing blogs for pet lovers around the globe.