Nutritious and tasty, almonds can lower your cholesterol and blood sugar levels and are overall a great snack. Considering how healthy these nuts are, you have probably wondered if sharing almonds with your dog is a good idea.
So, can dogs eat almonds? Dogs can’t eat almonds. While almonds aren’t toxic to dogs they are hard to digest and can cause obstructions. Almonds also present a choking hazard and their high-fat content can put your dog at risk of developing pancreatitis. If your dog consumes a lot of almonds call your vet right away. Eating one or two almonds is unlikely to put your dog in danger. However, you should still monitor him for signs of digestive blockage or choking.
Continue reading to find out the potential dangers of feeding almonds to dogs, and what you should do if your pooch devours more than a few nuts.
Are Almonds Good for Dogs?
Naturally rich in protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, almonds have major nutritional benefits for people (source). Almonds can lower your blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and also keep your bones strong.
Unfortunately, eating almonds doesn’t have the same effect on dogs and your pooch won’t experience any of these health benefits.
While almonds aren’t technically toxic to dogs, they are high in fat, difficult to digest, and a potential choking hazard. Ultimately, the risks of feeding almonds to your dog are far greater than any potential benefits.
Dangers of Almonds for Dogs
Unlike walnuts, macadamia nuts, and pecans, almonds aren’t dangerous for dogs in small quantities. Nevertheless, you should avoid feeding nuts to dogs since eating almonds comes with potential health risks.
Potential dangers of almonds for dogs are:
1. Choking Hazard
Small and hard, almonds are a choking hazard especially for toy and small breed dogs who don’t chew their food completely before swallowing. Consuming a whole almond can block your dog’s windpipe and esophagus, restricting his airflow and ability to breathe.
These life-threatening obstructions require immediate medical attention and usually require surgery. So, if your pooch manages to steal an almond watch for any signs of choking and call your vet right away.
2. Aflatoxin Poisoning
Almonds, Brazilian nuts, pistachios, and peanuts sometimes contain Aspergillus mold, which contains Aflatoxin. While Aflatoxin causes mild symptoms in humans, it can cause poisoning in dogs, since canines are very sensitive to it.
3. Water Retention
Packaged almonds are generally heavily seasoned with salt, and sometimes even flavored. While dogs love the delicious taste of seasoned almonds, too much salt can cause water retention and make your pooch very thirsty.
Fluid retention is very dangerous for dogs with heart problems and can also diminish kidney function, causing renal failure. In large quantities, almonds can also lead to salt toxicity and the added spices and flavoring can upset your dog’s digestive system.
4. Allergic Reaction
Like any other food, almonds can cause an allergic reaction in dogs, especially if your dog consumes a large amount. Sometimes, an allergic reaction can lead to anaphylactic shock, a life-threatening condition that requires immediate veterinary attention.
If your dog starts to exhibit any symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as coughing, sneezing, difficulty breathing, or swelling, take him to the vet right away (source).
Almonds are naturally high in fat, which can lead to pancreatitis and obesity. Dogs with inflamed pancreas usually have severe stomach pain, or suffer from diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
Pancreatitis is a serious condition that requires a dietary change, medication, and long-term treatment.
6. Bladder And Kidney Stones
Almonds have a high phosphorus count, which can make kidney and bladder stones more likely to form. Both kidney and bladder stones are painful for dogs and can lead to life-threatening conditions that require surgery and emergency veterinary care.
What Should You Do If Your Dog Eats Almonds?
Consuming a few almonds won’t put your dog’s health at risk if he isn’t allergic to them. However, if your pooch manages to eat almonds, watch him for any signs of choking.
Additionally, be on the lookout for any signs of gastrointestinal blockage such as vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach pain and call your vet right away. If your pooch seems fine hours after consuming almonds, it’s highly unlikely that he will develop any adverse reactions.
However, if your dog manages to eat a whole bag of almonds call your vet or poison control right away. They will instruct you how to purge your dog’s stomach by inducing vomiting if you call within 30 minutes post ingestion.
But if more time has passed, you’ll have to rush your dog to the vet for emergency treatment. Depending on your dog’s symptoms he might get intravenous fluids and medications for vomiting and diarrhea.
How About Almond Milk?
Almond milk is made from processed almonds and is safe for your dog when consumed moderately. Keep in mind that almond milk is high in calories and as such not recommended for daily consumption.
Make sure to check the ingredient list, since some types of almond milk contain artificial sweeteners like xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. Your dog doesn’t actually need almond milk, but consuming small amounts won’t harm his health.
Full of essential nutrients and minerals, almonds are good for you, but not very beneficial for your pooch. Unlike other nuts, almonds aren’t toxic to dogs, but they are high in fat, hard to digest, and can cause a gastrointestinal blockage.
Keep in mind, your dog can eat one or two almonds without any side effects, but you shouldn’t feed nuts to your pooch on purpose. In the end, risks of feeding almonds to dogs are far greater than potential benefits, so keep almonds carefully stored away from your pup’s greedy paws.