Health & Wellness
When it comes to humans’ eating habits, moderation is key (even though it’s OK to splurge on an extra scoop of ice cream, a few more french fries or extra chicken wings now and then). And when it comes to dogs’ snacks, moderation is also important — especially when it comes to nuts. Seeing as though peanut butter is a fan favorite of dogs, it makes sense that our furry family members would be as excited for other nuts, including cashews.
Most pet parents know the tempting scent of cashews all too well, so naturally, our best friends would want to get in on that snacking action, too. The caveat, though, is while a few cashews won’t hurt, too many of them can cause a problem for dogs. But according to Dr. Jamie Richardson, head of veterinary medicine at New York City-based Small Door Veterinary, cashews aren’t inherently a huge problem as long as they’re eaten sparingly and in moderation.
Cashews aren’t toxic for dogs, but like all nuts, they are very high in fat, which can pose its own set of problems, including potential pancreatitis, Dr. Richardson says. For that reason, they aren’t recommended as a regular snack. This is especially true in that many packaged nuts are also seasoned with oils and salts that can cause additional health problems. But it shouldn’t be a problem if your best friend eats a cashew or two.
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Although all nuts have high-fat levels, not all are made the same, and some are better than others. Macadamia nuts, for instance, are toxic to dogs and should be completely avoided, Dr. Richardson says. If your pup is longing for a taste of that sweet, salty goodness, she suggests opting for good old-fashioned, dog-friendly peanut butter instead.
Stick to a small teaspoon of peanut butter as an occasional treat to scratch that itch. Pro tip: Dr. Richardson also recommends freezing a bit of peanut butter inside a toy to create a longer-lasting snack or mixing it with mashed banana and plain yogurt for a DIY doggy ice cream.
When choosing a peanut butter brand, it’s essential to read the label to ensure you’re selecting a dog-friendly product. Some brands of peanut butter contain the sweetener xylitol, which is very toxic to dogs, Dr. Richardson explains. Instead, stick to plain, natural peanut butter without any additives, and use it sparingly as a treat.
If your pup gets their paws on a couple of cashews, they should be OK, Dr. Richardson reminds us. It’s only in excessive amounts that it can become a problem. However, if they eat several cashews or you notice any signs of gastrointestinal upset, such as vomiting or diarrhea, it’s best to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible for advice on how to help them feel better.
Is your dog nuts about cashews? Understandable! But aside from the rogue nut that might drop on the floor (which is no biggie!), it’s best to stick to alternatives that are less fatty and salty, like natural, plain peanut butter.
We’re confident that cashews aren’t the only human food your dog would love to sink their teeth into (cue the drool). Check out our series “Can dogs eat … ?” to learn more about which human foods are off-limits and what’s fair game.
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