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Health & Wellness

Can dogs eat nuts?

Not necessarily — it depends on the type.

No matter how quiet you try to be, there's a high probability that your dog is at your feet once they hear the signature rustling from opening a bag of nuts. And while you may appreciate their spy-like hearing and sense of smell, you should pause before rewarding your dog with a nut. 

With so many nut varieties out there, it’s important to understand which versions are OK for dogs and which should be completely off-limits. Here’s a breakdown of this food.

Are nuts bad for dogs?

Even though some nuts aren’t technically toxic to dogs, they’re not considered a healthy snack. “Non-toxic nuts are high in calories, fat and salt and can lead to obesity, stomach upset and pancreatitis,” Dr. Aliya McCullough, Fetch’s on-staff veterinarian, says. 

Their nutritional value isn’t the only red flag — nuts’ small size and firmness make them a serious choking hazard for dogs, she adds. 

What nuts are bad for dogs?

A couple of nut varieties should be entirely off-limits to dogs — and each for different reasons. For example, macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors and weakness, Dr. McCullough says. Alternatively, almonds aren’t only a choking hazard but can be challenging for dogs to digest. 

Walnuts, pecans and hickory nuts can cause an upset stomach in dogs. Pistachios are high in fat and can also lead to upset stomach and pancreatitis, she adds. 

What nuts can dogs eat?

Peanuts, hazelnuts and cashews aren't technically toxic to dogs. However, you should still be mindful of choking risks and their high salt and fat levels. 

“A peanut or a cashew may be fine as a very small occasional treat, but the fat and salt content are too high to offer regularly,” Dr. McCullough explains. “A small smear of dog-friendly peanut butter (that doesn’t contain the ingredient xylitol) can be offered to pups as an occasional treat or to disguise medications.”

RELATED: Can dogs eat cheese?

How can I give my dog nuts?

Talk to your veterinarian before sharing a nut (and nut butter) with your dog. There are some specific ingredients to avoid, too. "Only offer unsalted nuts and nut butters without additives in small amounts and on a very limited basis," Dr. McCullough says.

If you think your dog is having a negative reaction to nuts or nut butters, contact your veterinarian, she urges. 

And if you’re looking for a dog-friendly snack that satisfies that nutty crunch sound and feel, look no further than carrots. These vegetables are not only safe for dogs to eat but are low in calories and fat and have multiple nutritional benefits. 

Responsible snacking

We're confident that nuts 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.

The Dig, Fetch Pet Insurance's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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