Nuts and Mutts: What to Know About Dogs and Nuts

Beverly Hills, MI Nuts

Whether it’s stuffed into a Kong, baked into a dog biscuit, or simply licked off a spoon, there’s no denying that dogs love peanut butter. Peanut butter is generally accepted as a safe, albeit calorie-heavy, snack for dogs, but what about other nut butters, and nuts themselves?

The team at Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates wants all of our canine patients to enjoy safe and healthy treats from time to time. Here’s the scoop on dogs and nuts!

Dogs and Nuts

Most of the nuts we come across in the store are technically safe for dogs, but that doesn’t mean they should be given. 

Nuts and nut butters are high in fat, which can cause gastrointestinal upset and in some cases pancreatitis (a veterinary emergency). Too many extra calories in general can lead to weight gain.

Go Nuts! The Dog-Safe List

Nuts and nut butters that are safe for dogs include:

Peanuts and peanut butter – Most dogs have no problem with small amounts of peanut butter. Make sure you use only natural peanut butter with no added sugar or oils, and feed sparingly.

Almonds and almond butter – Almond butter is a safe alternative to peanut butter, but keep in mind that some dogs don’t digest almonds well so experiment with a very small amount to begin with.

Cashews and cashew butter – Cashews and cashew butter have a mild, buttery taste and tend to be a less popular choice for sharing with Fido due to the higher price point as compared to peanuts or almonds.

Definite No-No’s

The following nuts and nut butters are on the “don’t” list for dogs:

  • Macadamia nuts contain a substance that can cause adverse neurological symptoms in dogs.
  • Pistachios, pecans, macadamia nuts, and walnuts can all cause gastric upset if consumed.
  • Any nut that is unshelled or in whole form poses a risk of choking or intestinal obstruction.
  • Chocolate or candy covered nuts should be avoided – not only is chocolate toxic to dogs but the sugar and extra calories from any coating is not advisable.

Last but not least, always make sure that any nut butter you give your dog is free of the popular sugar substitute Xylitol. Xylitol is found in many sugar-free products and is highly toxic to dogs.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information on dogs and nuts, or to schedule an appointment for your pet.