Health & Wellness
Pecans are one of those foods that you should exercise extreme caution around when it comes to feeding them to your dogs. While the pecans themselves aren't directly toxic to dogs, it's common for this food to develop a mold that is toxic to dogs. So while pecans can be a safe, occasional treat for your pet, you need to pay attention to their freshness before you toss a few to your dog. Here's what else you should know.
(Even though fresh pecans are generally safe for your pet, always consult your vet before introducing a new food item to their diet.)
Pecans are one of those foods that have a couple of problematic issues when it comes to using them as dog treats.
"Technically, dogs can eat pecans, but you have to be mindful for them to be safe," Dr. Aziza Glass, DVM, a veterinarian and the owner of the Houston-based mobile veterinary practice Personal Touch Veterinary Clinic, shares. "Like peanuts or peanut butter, pecans are high in oils and fats. Too much can cause digestive issues, including vomiting and diarrhea. Sometimes nuts are covered in seasonings and spices, which can be toxic to dogs (like onions and garlic). Finally, nuts that become moldy are toxic to dogs, so never feed pecans to your dog if you're questioning the freshness of the nuts."
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While you should exercise caution when feeding your dog pecans, it's important to keep servings small if you decide to share a few, Dr. Glass says. A couple of nuts should do the trick, just as long as you have your vet's permission to share them.
Also, it makes no difference if the pecans have been cooked or are raw — they're safe either way as long as they're plain and fresh. If you're not sure about the freshness, don't share them with your dog, she adds.
To avoid potential health problems, Dr. Glass emphasizes that not all nuts are toxic to dogs, so peanuts, almonds and walnuts are generally OK alternatives to pecans — although she emphasizes "in small amounts." And the small serving sizes are important because nuts' high-fat content can cause gastrointestinal distress if your dog eats too many.
"Almost all have the potential risk of being a choking hazard when swallowed. If your dog tends not to chew their food, crush the nuts into smaller pieces before feeding," she adds.
While pecans are technically safe for your dog, Dr. Glass points to other options that are safer and healthier. "Much more beneficial snacks for dogs are fresh-cut vegetables and fruits like blueberries." So instead of reaching for potentially toxic pecans, grab a bowl of blueberries (if your vet says they're safe for your specific pet) and toss a few of those your pup's way — they'll love the treat, and you can rest easy knowing that it's healthy for you to share.
We're confident that pecans 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 by The Dodo’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. Fetch provides the most comprehensive pet insurance and is the only provider recommended by the #1 animal brand in the world, The Dodo.