The jury also seems to be out on almonds. PetMD says they’re not technically toxic, but are high in fat, so we think they should largely be avoided. The American Kennel Club says almonds should never become a dog treat. We think it’s best to avoid them. If your dog grabs an almond off the floor, it’s not the end of the world, but watch him carefully to make sure he doesn’t choke.
2. Brazil nuts
Due to their extremely high fat content, it’s not advised to feed brazil nuts to dogs (Pumpkin Pet Insurance notes these are not technically toxic, but the high fat content makes it not worth it to use them as treats or snacks). Brazil nuts also pose a larger threat to smaller breeds because they could get lodged in their digestive systems.
Like almonds, hazelnuts are shaped in a way that makes them big choking hazards. While you don’t need to make an emergency call to your vet if your dog swipes a hazelnut, you absolutely shouldn’t make a habit of feeding them to him.
4. Macadamia nuts
Here’s a nut that is truly toxic to dogs. They can lead to tremors, weakness, paralysis and joint inflammation. If your dog accidentally swallows a macadamia nut or two, Dr. Wendt advises contacting your nearest pet poison control center or veterinarian for treatment advice.
There are two types of walnuts—English walnuts and black walnuts. English walnuts are tan in color. These are the nuts we cook with and you often find inside tins of mixed nuts. Their large and irregular shape is a major choking hazard that could cause digestive blocks. Plus, they are related to black walnuts which are darker in color and extremely toxic to dogs. Avoid at all costs.
“Nuts that are toxic to dogs and are a definite ‘no’ include the walnut family and pecans,” Dr. Richard Goldstein, chief medical officer at the Animal Medical Center, told PetMd. Spies says pecans and walnuts can also develop mold easily, which could lead to seizures in dogs.
The Bottom Line:
Forget the nuts! It’s not worth the risk or the anxiety. There are much healthier and safer ways you can deliver protein, fiber and healthy fats to your dog. Consider Maev’s supplement bars which are designed specifically to add in Omega-3s to a dog’s diet (if they’re in need of a boost). Spies also says sprinkling chia seeds on your dog’s meal as a topper is a great source of protein. Many dog food brands design their recipes to ensure your dog gets a well-rounded diet. Anything your vet says your dog is lacking can be made up for with supplements, fruits and vegetables.
If your dog is eager to try a nut or you want to incorporate them into their diet as a special treat, be sure to follow the recommendations above. “For active dogs, nuts can provide extra energy for their activities,” notes Dr. Wendt. “If you aren’t sure whether nuts are a good fit for your dog, speak with your veterinarian before introducing them into their regimen.”