Can dogs eat almonds (and other nuts)?
Unfortunately, the consensus probably isn’t. While almonds aren’t necessarily poisonous, they are candidates for our list of foods that dogs should best avoid (this list also includes walnuts, macadamia nuts, onions, grapes, raisins, and chocolate). Even if the almonds are not seasoned / roasted in your kitchen, it is best to play it safe and not share them with your dog.
Almonds are rightly touted as a healthy alternative for human consumption, but they pose too many potential safety hazards for dogs. These include:
1. Choking hazard. Although dogs are generally equipped to chew food the same way humans do, they don’t “nibble” almonds like we do. They tend to swallow them whole. So there is a chance that a nut could lodge in your windpipe. smaller dogs are particularly at risk.
2. “Snacking” Almonds are often heavily salted and flavored, which causes us, and definitely our dogs, to get very thirsty (think of the nutshells that so many bars generously provide for their customers). Too much salt can cause water retention, which is especially dangerous for dogs with heart problems.
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3. Almonds are high in fat, which may contribute to a dog developing acute pancreatitis; Fat also makes chronic pancreatitis worse.
4. Almonds are high in phosphoruswhich can lead to bladder or kidney stones. Some breeds of dogs, like the Yorkshire Terrier and Lhasa Apso, are genetically predisposed to kidney stones, and the Shih Tzu, Miniature Schnauzer, and Bichon Frize are prone to bladder stones.
What if your dog eats almonds?
What you should do will depend on the size of the dog and the amount and type of almonds you are consuming.
If you think your dog has just eaten a few almonds and does not appear to have an obstruction of the esophagus, monitor him for diarrhea or vomiting for 12 hours.
If your dog has eaten a large bag of almonds – especially if they are on the small side – take them to the vet right away. She may need IV fluids for dehydration and medication to manage pain.
Are all nuts and nut butters bad for dogs?
You might ask, “My dog loves peanut butter and I give her peanut butter treats. Are peanuts bad too? “Not necessarily, because peanuts aren’t actually a nut, they’re a legume. Even so, it’s best not to give your dog individual peanuts. For the same reasons, you should avoid giving him other types of nuts.
One other thing to note. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener, is found in several brands of peanut butter and can cause serious problems in dogs, including hypoglycemia, liver disease, and bleeding disorders. So if you give your dog peanut butter (e.g. in their Kong) make sure that xylitol is not one of the ingredients.
The good news is that nut butters, including those made from peanuts and almonds, are very easy to make at home. If you use organic, unsalted, and unseasoned raw peanuts or almonds to make nut butters for yourself (like me), you can share a small amount with your dog with a clear conscience. Remember that while nut butter is tasty and nutritious, it is still high in calories: one tablespoon contains 98 kcal. And calories count for both us and our dogs.