If your dog is constantly wagging its tail around the jars of nuts- you must be wondering, “can dogs eat walnuts?” Because, well, who does not like walnuts? Everything is perfect, from their taste and crunch to multiple health benefits to humans!
But unfortunately, walnuts are not so safe for dogs! Here is everything you need to know about the “toxic love-hate relationship” of walnuts and dogs.
Are Walnuts Bad For Dogs?
Even though they are not toxic to dogs, we do recommend giving walnuts to your dog! Here are some significant reasons why:
1. High-fat content
Besides holding high nutritional value, walnuts are also rich in fat content. It is essential to know that too much fat content can lead to pancreatitis in dogs (study). It can be a severe condition for dogs and, of course!! When it comes to our doggos, obesity remains one of the most common health concerns.
2. Moldy and toxic
The nuts we eat may or may not be friends with dangerous molds! These molds and fungi produce chemical compounds called mycotoxins. These mycotoxins are toxic to dogs and can make them sick (source).
3. Choking hazards
If your dog is an eager eater, there is a high chance they can face choking hazards when eating human food or any food! When it comes to walnuts, they can be hard to chew for small or toothless dogs, so swallowing might not be the right choice! The walnuts can get stuck in the wind or food pipe, making dogs breathless or gag.
4. Black walnuts? HELL NO!
When we say you should not give your dog walnuts AT ANY COST, we are talking SPECIALLY talking about black walnuts. They produce “juglone,” which is a toxin that is also present in human foods like pecans (article). It is super toxic to dogs, and you should contact your veterinarian immediately if your dog ate even a few black walnuts.
What If Your Dog Ate Too Many Walnuts?
There is no exact evidence that only specific signs will appear if your dog ate too many black walnuts. But here are the signs and symptoms you should be prepared for (study):
- Lethargy or weakness
- Change in walking style (abnormal gait)
- Muscle stiffness
- Abdominal pain
Firstly!! You should never let your dog’s paws around walnuts! These furry buddies can sneak in a handful of walnuts and secretly eat them all. This may sound fun and clever, but it can be a nightmare for you and your pooch! If your dog ate too many walnuts, you should monitor them very closely. Look for a change in behavior or any slight sign that is different from what they would usually do.
Also, we encourage you to contact your veterinarian as soon as you detect that your dog has eaten any food that might be toxic to them. Please do not try to induce vomiting or force any home remedy unless your veterinarian approves of it. There are multiple medical dog supplies that can help with that! However, performing it without supervision or professional approval can worsen the situation.
Alternatives of Walnuts For Dogs
Now that you know you cannot feed your dog walnuts, how about some alternatives? Here are some of the nuts that are absolutely safe for dogs in moderation and also bring in health benefits:
- Not toxic
- Rich in minerals like phosphorus and magnesium
- Cashew paste is great as a training treat
- Dogs LOVE peanut butter
- Packed with vitamins and minerals
- You can hide your dog’s medications in peanut butter cookies, and believe us- your dog wouldn’t notice!
- Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties
- Coconut oil is one of the safest oils to cook your dog’s food in
- It makes a fantastic evening dog treat
Our final thoughts on “can dogs eat walnuts?” is no. You should not feed your dog walnuts. Even though a small amount will not harm your dog, putting your dog’s health at risk is not worth it. You can also get the same or similar benefits from other dog foods or treats that are safe for your pooch.
Frequently Asked Questions
No! Please do not let your dog eat walnuts off the tree. This may or may not be toxic, but it can most definitely lead to severe choking hazards. Especially if you have a small-sized dog, keep them far away from jars or trees of walnuts.
No, and yes! Dogs should not eat walnuts, but when it comes to cranberries- dogs love them, and berries love them back. Cranberries are safe for dogs, whereas walnuts can pose harm to dog’s health. So, feeding your dog walnuts and cranberries together can potentially lead to health hazards in dogs.
No! You should NEVER feed your dog black walnuts. They are super toxic to your dog and have the same chemical compound that makes pecans so toxic to dogs. Even if your dog makes puppy eyes to eat some black walnuts, please do not, as it can make your dog very sick and may lead to an emergency situation.
NO! Dogs cannot and should not eat walnut shells. They are neither for humans nor dog consumption. The shells are extremely hard as they might even break teeth and eventually cause choking hazards. Even if your dog managed to gulp down a walnut shell, it can cause gastrointestinal blockage.
Fortunately, yes! You can feed your dog small amounts of walnut oil. Giving them too much of any oil can cause pancreatitis. But if you choose to serve in moderation and cook their meats in a minimal amount of drizzled walnut oil- it will be safe and healthy for dogs.