When we need our pups to sit still, like during the dreaded bath time or grooming, we often turn to the simple option of smearing peanut butter across the wall in hopes that they will stay still. This seemingly harmless habit could be potentially putting your dog in danger. Peanut butter, peanuts, and many other nuts aren’t as healthy for dogs as one might think.
Most nuts are considered unhealthy for dogs, with some even being classified as toxic! Every dog owner wants their dog to live as long as possible, which is why you must be aware of what foods your dog can and cannot eat.
There is a good list of nuts that are classified as toxic to dogs, which include:
The majority of nuts are incredibly high in fat. When feeding your dog nuts, the amount of fat ingested can lead to pancreatic issues and eventually obesity. Even worse, if you were to feed your dog some pre-packaged nuts that are salted or seasoned, you put your dog at risk for water retention or sodium ion poisoning.
When a dog is fed nuts on more than one occasion, they are at higher risk for diet-related health issues. The most common drawbacks to a dog's health that go along with eating nuts include:
Like golden retrievers and pugs, some dogs have a genetic predisposition to obesity and must be observed. To avoid weight gain, to begin with, your dog should only consume a small number of nuts, whether in the form of a treat or a pill. Calories should not exceed 10% of a dog's total daily calories. Dogs that are prone to weight gain or are already overweight should avoid any nuts.
Pancreatitis is an inflammatory reaction within the pancreas. This condition will usually cause symptoms including a lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and abdominal pain.
It’s important to note that dog breeds like miniature schnauzers, cocker spaniels, and some terrier breeds are most prone to pancreatitis. A high-fat diet could trigger this condition, especially in dogs already predisposed to it.
The high-fat content in nuts has also been recognized to cause gastrointestinal disease in dogs with sensitive stomachs. Gastrointestinal disease is primarily a risk for breeds that are prone to pancreatitis.
Diabetes is common in dogs when a dog has pancreatitis. When the pancreas is heavily damaged, a dog's body cannot regulate its insulin correctly, resulting in diabetes.
Another cause of diabetes could be obesity or spontaneous weight gain. Since obesity is a large factor in insulin resistance, your dog would have a higher chance of developing this disease. Additionally, diabetes is yet another risk for pancreatitis, which is already a risk factor in eating nuts.
Hyperlipidemia is a condition that develops when there is too much fat present in the bloodstream. Given the amount of fat in most nuts, hyperlipidemia can develop when a dog is fed many fatty nuts. Hyperlipidemia is mainly associated with high-fat diets, obesity, and diabetes, which are all possible when a dog eats nuts in excess.
The size and texture of nuts alone make it easy to get lodged in a dog's throat and cause them to choke. Nuts coated with seasonings and spices have high salt content, which is dangerous for several reasons.
Dogs have the potential to develop high blood pressure when they overeat salt. For other dogs with underlying medical conditions or those prone to experiencing kidney stones, foods like nuts can worsen these conditions.
There is a small list of nuts that are acceptable for dogs to eat. That list consists of:
In small quantities, peanuts are safe as long as they are in their purest form: unsalted and unseasoned. They serve as a good source of protein which is essential in a balanced diet for dogs. The amino acid arginine is developed in a peanut during nitric oxide production, which will help with their blood circulation. In a few sporadic cases, peanuts can reduce the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
The occasional, natural, peanut butter will make a dog happy, but it can have life-threatening effects in the long run. For example, the artificial sweetener xylitol has been found in a few peanut butter brands and triggers a substantial insulin release. The release can be too potent for a dog's body to handle, prompting a rapid decrease in blood pressure.
If you think your dog ate peanut butter sweetened with xylitol, contact your local veterinarian as soon as possible.
Cashews are a "hit or miss" nut for dogs. They have been reported to be "alright" for dogs so long as they are kept to a minimum, meaning one or two. If you choose to feed your pup a cashew, opt for roasted or baked cashew (and, of course, unseasoned) because raw cashew contains toxins that won't do your dog any good.
While cashews are “safe” for dogs, it may be in your best interest to avoid feeding them simply because they deliver no health benefits to your pup.
Other than treating your pup to some approved nuts, there are different ways to enhance the health of your pet, like supplementing their food with eggs, sardines, raw goat's milk, or just feeding a complete & balanced diet!
Dehydrated single ingredient treats are an excellent option for dogs. You can even make dehydrated treats at home. Not only are they a healthy choice, but they're also a delicious choice! Don't believe us? Your dog's happy dance will show what they love to snack on most! You can also grab healthier & yummier treats than nuts for your good girl or boy to enjoy.
Choosing dehydrated treats are also great for starting your dog on a raw diet. A raw diet can be beneficial for your dog as it can improve their general health and much more.
Saying no to your dog’s request for more nuts might be the best option.
Not all nuts will be deemed unsafe or toxic for dogs to eat. Nevertheless, there are much yummier and safer alternative treats to nuts that you can feed your pup.
If you want to share food with your dog, consider these safe fruits and vegetables or a dessert spot that offers pet-friendly options.