5 min read

Can Dogs Eat Nuts?


By Kevin Hughes

Published: 05/10/2024, edited: 05/11/2024

Reviewed by a licensed veterinary professional: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

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Nuts make for a delicious snack — tasty and nutritious, they are a go-to treat whether you’re grazing while watching a movie or as an appetizer at parties. Nuts are also ideal as a mid-afternoon pep-up when energy levels dip, as they’re high in protein and can give you a boost.

Not only that, a handful of nuts can have health benefits for humans; they can support good gut health, they’re rich in antioxidants, and they can help to protect against heart disease. So — lots of positives for people, but how about dogs? Can dogs eat nuts too, and if so, are types of nuts fine for our canine friends to consume?

Well, it isn’t a hard ‘yes’ across the board. Let’s find out more.

What nuts can dogs eat?

With a wide range of different nuts available to buy and eat, it’s worth knowing which types are safe for dogs to eat, and which are less suitable. Some nuts can be heavily salted; while dogs need a certain amount of sodium in their diet, too much can cause issues — most obviously increasing the risk of dehydration.

Other types of nuts are quite large, and therefore you should take care when feeding these to your dog as they cause your pup to choke. In fact, we’d advise avoiding your dog larger nuts, whole, because of this choking risk.

Can dogs eat macadamia nuts?

No! Dogs can’t eat macadamia nuts. This is definitely a type of nut to avoid completely. Macadamia nuts can be toxic to dogs; eating one might be relatively harmless, but it’s really not worth the risk. Eating a few could result in a condition called macadamia nuts poisoning, symptoms of which can include vomiting, fever and an inability to walk, exacerbated by something called ataxia, which is when muscles become uncoordinated.

Can dogs eat macadamia nuts? No — please don’t give your dog any.

Can dogs eat pistachio nuts?

Unlike macadamia nuts, pistachio nuts aren’t toxic to dogs. So, can dogs eat pistachio nuts? It’s a cautious yes, with some caveats attached. Pistachio nuts have a high fat content, so feeding your dog too many too often runs the risk of your dog putting on weight (the same applies to us humans, by the way).

Not only that, pistachios come in shells, and those shells should be removed before a nut is given to your dog. The shells of any nuts are a potential choking hazard, and even if they’re small enough to be swallowed, they can be very difficult to digest and simply unpleasant to eat.

Can dogs eat brazil nuts?

Dogs probably shouldn’t eat brazil nuts. They’re not toxic, so there’s no danger of nut poisoning, but they are very fattening — it’s one of the nuts with the highest calories. Feeding your dog too many brazil nuts — in addition to whatever else your pup eats — might lead to weight issues and even obesity. A poor diet, high in fat, increases the risk of your dog getting pancreatitis, too.

Another point — brazil nuts are large in size, too. One can easily get lodged in your dog’s throat, causing a potential obstruction and blockage. That can quickly lead to a very serious situation. You could cut a brazil nut into smaller pieces and feed those to your dog, but really, why would you? There’s no real benefit to feeding your dog brazil nuts.

Can dogs eat cashew nuts?

Cashew nuts are generally fine for dogs to eat, though these should be plain cashews in their natural form. Avoid feeding salted cashew nuts straight from the packet. Again though, cashew nuts are relatively high in fat and calories — certainly more so than equivalent snacks you can feed to your dog — so small amounts occasionally only are recommended.

Can dogs eat almonds?

Dogs can eat almonds — these nuts aren’t toxic to canines. But, feed with caution as larger amounts can be problematic. We’ve got more details on the risks of almond poisoning here.

Can dogs eat peanuts?

Peanuts are of the most common, and popular, types of nut — so, can dogs eat peanuts, and enjoy them as much as us? There’s a lot to get through here, so we’ve covered this in more depth in this guide.

Dogs can eat peanuts, but only in small amounts and only the unsalted type. Peanuts can be store-bought and contain lots of salt; this won’t be good for your dog.

Can dogs eat peanut butter?

We’re pleased you asked. Peanut butter is a handy snack and treat to give to dogs, whether you choose to dab a small amount of it on your finger or, even better, smear it inside a toy like a Kong so that your pup can figure out how to reach it.

Happily, dogs can eat peanut butter but in moderation — occasional small amounts as a treat is best. And there’s something really important to note, too. Always check the ingredients of any store-bought peanut butter, as some recipes and brands may contain something called xylitol.

Xylitol is toxic to dogs, so if you see any peanut butter that includes this ingredient — or any food that contains it — DO NOT give it to your dog. It’s potentially a fatal condition; that’s how serious it can be. There’s more about xylitol poisoning here.

Are nuts good for dogs?

Now we’ve answered the key question of ‘can dogs eat nuts?’ the next point to consider is whether nuts are good for dogs.

In truth, even though some types are fine for dogs to eat, nuts aren’t particularly beneficial. Nuts are generally high in fat and calories, and many of the varieties that us humans tend to snack on are salty, seasoned, or flavored in some way. The odd plain, unshelled nut shared won’t do much harm but too much, too often, can contribute to your dog becoming overweight.

Can dogs be allergic to nuts?

Yes, of course. Dogs can suffer from food allergies, and nut allergies, specifically, are one of the most common. If your dog has an allergy to nuts, then it’s obvious you should never feed any to your dog again.

How do you know if your dog has a nut allergy? Well, if you’re feeding your dog nuts for the very first time, observe their reaction and behavior afterwards. Signs and symptoms of a nut allergy can include:

There are other symptoms, too. The bottom line is that, if your dog’s behavior changes shortly after eating nuts and he or she seems unwell in any way, it may be as a result of a nut allergy. Contact your vet immediately.

If your dog’s main food is the correct type for them, it should provide everything needed in a balanced diet and there’s no need to supplement your four-legged friend with extra snacks and treats. Read our guide to choosing the best food for your dog here.

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