Aren’t hazelnuts just awesome? Who doesn’t love a bunch of hazelnuts in their trail mix? But can you share some with your pooch? Can dogs eat hazelnuts?
Eating hazelnuts is yummy; it is quite an experience for sure. Because for your dog, hazelnuts are edible, but they pose a high amount of health risks. So, we do not recommend giving your hazelnuts or hazelnut products in general.
Let us discuss why that is the case and what you should look out for if your dog consumes some hazelnuts.
Are Hazelnuts Safe For Dogs?
Hazelnuts are not toxic; dogs can eat a few here and there. But their disadvantages outweigh their benefits. Now, we cannot focus on the negatives.
A few benefits of hazelnuts are that they contain essential vitamins and minerals that support your pup’s immune system. And they also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help improve your pooch’s heart health.
However, it is crucial to remember that the components of hazelnuts do not affect humans and dogs the same way. These components will most likely have adverse effects on dogs.
Health Risks of Feeding Hazelnuts to Dogs
Now, let us discuss the various health concerns that hazelnuts pose when feeding them to your dog.
1. Allergic reactions
Nuts are especially known for causing allergic reactions and triggering sensitivities in dogs. Common symptoms of these allergic reactions include itchiness, swelling, and gastrointestinal issues.
The outer shell of hazelnuts can pose a scary choking hazard to your pup. Suppose your dog swallows a hazelnet as a whole. In that case, the external coating will be too hard to digest, depending on its thickness. The hazelnuts that are not digested may form an intestinal blockage in your pupper’s digestive tract.
Point to be noted: Minor intestinal blockages happen constantly, but a major blockage may cause severe constipation, leading to dehydration and other complications.
The fat content in hazelnuts is high. While it does provide some energy and other benefits, consuming too many of these or any other fatty legumes will most likely put your dog in a caloric surplus.
These will eventually lead to your pup developing health issues such as obesity, diarrhea, and unhealthy heart issues. Obesity is a further major reason behind issues such as extra pressure on joints and pancreas.
Pancreatitis is an inflammatory reaction within the pancreas that can lead to abdominal pain and vomiting. The inflammation results from the early activation of an enzyme within the pancreas, which causes the pancreas to digest itself. It mainly happens when your pup consumes a high amount of fat content (article).
4. Gastrointestinal issues
Foods such as hazelnuts pose a very common risk: digestive issues and gastrointestinal upset. Symptoms of gastrointestinal issues are nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and diarrhea.
5. Mold poisoning
Hazelnuts and other nuts like walnuts and pecans can mold very easily. This mold may produce juglone and mycotoxins, which are highly toxic to dogs.
Although it might be invisible to the human eye, even small amounts of mold can be harmful to your pup. Symptoms of poisoning may include convulsions, liver damage, or seizures.
Can Dogs Eat Hazelnut Products?
Hazelnut products are one hell of an addition to our food! They are always so delicious and can make your day instantly! But hazelnut products most likely contain ingredients that are highly toxic for dogs.
Nutella, for instance, is a hazelnut spread that humans just can’t stop eating once they get their hands on it. But for dogs, it can be hazardous. First of all:
1. Extreme amount of sugar
Nutella contains some unhealthy amounts of sugar, which is not okay for dogs since it can lead to
- Digestive issues
- Degrading oral and dental health
- Unhealthy weight gain
- Metabolic issues
2. Chocolate poisoning
The real villain here is chocolate, or, to be precise, cocoa. Cocoa is very poisonous for your pupper as it contains caffeine and theobromine. While these components are safe for hoomans, dogs can face severe consequences as they cannot metabolize theobromine or caffeine properly.
Cocoa consumption can lead to chocolate poisoning, which, in some cases, can even be fatal.
Symptoms of chocolate poisoning are:
- Excessive thirst
- High energy
- Heart failure
3. High-fat content
The amount of fat and calories in Nutella is way more than what your pup should consume. The high-fat content can lead to excessive weight gain, heart issues, and extreme cases such as pancreatitis, as discussed above.
4. Xylitol poisoning
A few hazelnut spreads sometimes use xylitol as an alternative sweetener. While xylitol is very much okay for humans, when it comes to dogs, any amount of xylitol is unacceptable.
Xylitol poisoning is a potentially fatal condition in which there is a rapid decrease in the levels of blood sugar. It starts affecting them in around 10 to 60 minutes of xylitol consumption.
Symptoms of xylitol poisoning include:
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of coordination
- Difficulty in movement.
What Should You Do if Your Dog Consumes Hazelnuts or Hazelnut Products?
As mentioned above, one or two hazelnuts are not recommended, but your dog can still eat them. This specific amount will not hurt your pooch. However, it is a different issue if your fur buddy eats too many.
Too many hazelnuts can cause scary issues such as pancreatitis, obesity, and digestive problems. If you have a young or old dog prone to health issues or weak immune systems, consuming hazelnuts in large amounts can even be fatal for them.
If your dog eats some hazelnut spread, consult a veterinarian immediately. They are highly likely to suffer from at least some digestive issues. They will be able to help you guide you through the initial steps you need to take.
Also, if there are no visible symptoms, you must monitor for anomalies for a few days. Look for signs such as diarrhea or constipation, sleep cycle, etc.
Alternative Foods That You Can Feed Your Dog
Since, the hazelnut spread is out of question, you might be wondering what can you even feed your pup? What can they eat as a little fun snack?
You can try alternative foods such as:
1. Dog-safe peanut butter
Peanut butter is one of the most popular ways to disguise doggy medicines and feed them to your furry friend. Unfortunately, some peanut butter made for humans is not suitable for dogs, as it may contain excessive amounts of sugar or xylitol.
But, some dog-safe peanut butter is available, which is specifically designed for dogs and made appropriately according to your pupper’s dietary requirements.
Apples are a great alternative to artificial sweet treats. These fruits are a blast of healthy nutrients and can benefit your dog highly if they are fed in moderation.
3. Peanuts (unseasoned and unsalted)
Peanuts, cooked or raw, are far healthier for dogs than most nuts. Even though you should still remember allergies and also the fact that peanuts cannot contain any extra seasoning. Because seasoning is not safe for your dog’s tummy.
4. Fruit puree
This is one of the best ways to feed your dog most types of fruits (or even vegetables). As-
- you can mix the semi-solid puree to their regular food.
- The chances of your pup choking on the food has been reduced drastically.
Hazelnuts are a huge no-no. We admit we did say one or two are okay, but why take any risk? The disadvantages of feeding hazelnuts to dogs are way more than its advantages. So, it is better to not take any chances with their health.
And always have a word with your veterinarian beforehand. Refrain from feeding them any food on a whim. Carelessly introducing any new food can cause serious problems such as nutritional imbalances, diarrhea, constipation, and sometimes, even death.
Frequently Asked Questions
Since hazelnuts are not toxic, your dog can eat a few. But, as we mentioned above, the disadvantages of hazelnuts outweigh their benefits. If you know that your dog chews well, then maybe one at a time will not hurt. But if they have a habit of swallowing without chewing properly, then it might pose a choking hazard. We recommend you to be very careful.
Both cashews and hazelnuts share a similar bunch of advantages and disadvantages. Which means that even if one or two are okay, they are generally not the best for your dog.
Trail mix fruits and dried fruits usually contain harmful preservatives and some dried fruits are mainly concentrated sugar. So, it is not okay to feed your dog hazelnuts from trail mix.