Almond Poisoning in Dogs

Written By hannah hollinger
Published: 06/16/2016Updated: 01/20/2022
Almond Poisoning in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What is Almond Poisoning?

Can dogs eat almonds?Ā 

Properly processed almonds are not directly toxic to your dog but the canine system does not properly digest the proteins in nuts. Eating large quantities of almonds, whether all at once or frequent smaller amounts given regularly, can cause gastrointestinal distress, obesity, and pancreatitis. In addition to the dangers posed by the almonds themselves, they may also harbor Aspergillus mold. Dogs are particularly susceptible to the aflatoxin produced by this mold and exposure can have serious consequences for your pet.

Although almonds are not directly poisonous to dogs they are not advised. The canine system is not designed to process nuts and they can causeĀ gastrointestinal distress,Ā obesity, andĀ pancreatitis.

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Almond Poisoning Average Cost

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Average Cost

$300

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Symptoms of Almond Poisoning in Dogs

Signs your dog recently overindulged

  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Greasy appearing stools
  • Vomiting

Signs of Aflatoxin poisoning from Aspergillus mold

Signs of pancreatitis

Types

Types of almond that may be particularly problematic for your canine:

Bitter almond

Bitter almonds contain hydrogen cyanide when untreated. These almonds cannot be sold unrefined in the United States due to the danger of toxicity, but can be found in almond extract and liqueurs.

Chinese almonds

These are not actually almonds but rather the seeds of an apricot. They also contain trace amounts of cyanide and can be deadly if ingested in large amounts. The lethal dose for an adult human is 50-60 kernels and the lethal dose could be considerably smaller for your pet depending on the size of the dog.

Causes of Almond Poisoning in Dogs

Although properly processed almonds arenā€™t poisonous, in and of themselves almonds do present a number of secondary risks. These risks can include:Ā 

Salt

Almonds that humans get to snack on for themselves often have salt and other seasonings added to them. Too much salt can cause increased water retention in dogs and possible injury to the kidneys. This can be particularly dangerous for dogs with heart conditions.

Aflatoxin

Aflatoxin is caused by the mold Aspergillus. Although aflatoxin levels in foods are only mildly toxic to humans, dogs are acutely sensitive to it There are often trace amounts of these molds on tree nuts such as almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, and pistachios. Ā 

High phosphorus content

The high phosphorus content in most nuts can eventually increase the likelihood of forming bladder stones.Ā 

Choking

Dogs do not always chew their food as effectively as humans and this may lead to a choking hazard due to the hardness of the nut combined with its size and shape.Ā 

Pancreatitis

Nuts are quite high in fat which is a primary contributor to developing pancreatitis, a painful illness which can considerably shorten your canineā€™s life.

Diagnosis of Almond Poisoning in Dogs

Symptoms related to this condition will prompt your veterinarian to get a full history of the patient, taking particular note of what foods your pet had access to recently. Typically, a general physical examination will be given and a complete blood count and chemistry profile will be completed as well. Urine, stools, and vomitus will also be tested and may expose underlying diseases or toxins such as aflatoxin. A preliminary diagnosis based on the physical exam and history may prompt treatment even before the final diagnosis is completed.

Further testing will depend on the symptoms that are being exhibited. If your dog is showing signs of damage to the esophagus or showing signs of dehydration, an x-ray or ultrasound of the throat and chest area may be recommended to check for tearing of the esophagus or enlargement of the heart. Ultrasounds can be used to image the abdominal area and may reveal enlargement of the pancreas or fluid accumulation in this area.

Treatment of Almond Poisoning in Dogs

Treatment will depend on how the almonds have affected your pet. Supportive treatment will be given for any immediate concerns such as IV fluids for dehydration and medication will likely be prescribed to alleviate symptoms. These could include anti-nausea medications, antibiotics, or pain management medications which can be given intravenously or by an intramuscular injection. Ā 

In the event of aflatoxin poisoning, in particular, there is a risk of damage to the liver andĀ Vitamin KĀ treatments and hepatoprotectants are often recommended. The supportive treatment is vital to the chances of recovery from aflatoxin as there is no antidote. In the event that your pet is vomiting persistently or severely as is sometimes seen with pancreatitis, your veterinarian may recommend a period of withholding food by mouth, sometimes for several days. The idea behind this treatment is to allow the pancreas to heal enough for the swelling to go down. If the dog is willing and able to eat on its own, several low-fat, low-protein, high-fiber meals are generally recommended per day to speed healing. Supplements of pancreatic enzymes can be given to relieve abdominal pain, but it usually does not alter the course of the disease itself.

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Recovery of Almond Poisoning in Dogs

Making sure that your pet completes the full measure of their medications and keeping the recovering patient in a calm and quiet environment will help speed recovery. Medications such as antibiotics, stomach and liver protectants, and antacids may be prescribed to combat the symptoms.Ā 

Dogs subjected to aflatoxin poisoning will likely need follow-up appointments to check their liver function.Ā 

Dogs with pancreatitis will most often be placed on a diet restricted to low-fat, high-fiber foods for the remainder of their lives. Pancreatic enzyme supplementation, while unlikely to change the overall course of the disease, may provide some relief from the severe abdominal pain.

Almond poisoning can be expensive to treat. To avoid high vet care expenses, secure pet health insurance today. The sooner you insure your pet, the more protection youā€™ll have from unexpected vet costs.

Almond Poisoning Average Cost

From 60 quotes ranging from $100 - $1,000

Average Cost

$300

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Almond Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Pug

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Five Months

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5 found this helpful

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5 found this helpful

My pet has the following symptoms:
More Pee And Some Red Drop
He peeing a lot and i ln some their are red drop

Sept. 28, 2020

Answered by Dr. Michele K. DVM

5 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Blood in the urine is not a normal thing, and it would be best to have your pup seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine him, see what might be causing this, and get treatment for him. I hope that all goes well for him!

Oct. 5, 2020

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Yorkshire Terrier

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Seven Years

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22 found this helpful

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22 found this helpful

My pet has the following symptoms:
No Symptoms
My 17 pound dog ate one almond that he found on the floor a couple minutes ago. Should I be worried?

Aug. 6, 2020

Answered by Dr. Michele K. DVM

22 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. While the chance of a toxicity is low from one almond, if your dog did not chew it, there is a possibility for a blockage or GI upset. I would watch him very closely for any signs of vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or loss of appetite, and if you see any of those things it would be best to have your dog seen by a veterinarian right away. I suspect he will be okay, but those are things to watch out for. I hope that all goes well.

Aug. 6, 2020

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Almond Poisoning Average Cost

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Average Cost

$300

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