Pistachios are incredibly tasty and nutritious nuts that offer many health benefits to people when consumed as snacks. You probably already know that eating pistachios is good for you, but are these nuts safe for your dog too?
So, can dogs eat pistachios? Dogs can eat a few pistachios occasionally. While pistachios aren’t toxic to dogs and can be a nutritious snack, feeding them to your dog comes with risks. Pistachios are high in fat and eating large amounts can cause pancreatitis in dogs. Furthermore, pistachio shells pose a choking hazard.
In this article, we’ll explore all the pros and cons of pistachios for dogs. Keep on reading to learn whether your dog should eat pistachios or not.
Are Pistachios Good for Dogs?
Unlike macadamia nuts that are toxic to dogs, pistachios are safe for dogs to eat, but only a few at a time and only as an occasional snack.
Pistachios contain protein, fiber, and fat and are a good source of essential vitamins and minerals. These tasty nuts also contain vitamins A, C, and B6, and are rich in iron, magnesium, and potassium.
But, while not toxic, pistachios can be dangerous for dogs due to their high-fat content and shells that can pose a choking hazard. Furthermore, swallowing whole unshelled pistachios can cause intestinal obstruction, especially in small dog breeds.
Overall, while pistachios can be a healthy snack, feeding your dog pistachios isn’t completely risk-free. To be on the safe side, talk with your vet before feeding any human food, including pistachios to your dog.
Benefits of Pistachios for Dogs
Pistachios contain many valuable nutrients that can be beneficial for your dog’s overall health. Let’s check out what are the biggest benefits of feeding pistachios to your pooch:
1. Vitamin B6
Pistachios are an excellent source of vitamin B6 which has many benefits for your dog’s overall health. Vitamin B6 is one of the essential vitamins and helps with growth and development, promotes healthy brain function and heart health in dogs.
Pistachios are a great natural source of potassium which is an important mineral that is involved in many functions within your dog’s body. Potassium is important for the proper functioning of the cells in your dog’s body and also promotes normal electrical charges in the heart, nerves, and muscles (source).
Pistachios are a good source of dietary fiber that is essential for proper digestion and regular bowel movements. Eating fiber rich-foods can help your dog feel fuller longer and also relieve mild cases of constipation or diarrhea.
Side Effect of Pistachios for Dogs
Although they aren’t toxic and can offer certain benefits, when consumed in large amounts, pistachios can be dangerous for dogs. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether the risks of feeding pistachios to your dog outweigh the potential benefits.
The downsides of feeding pistachios to dogs are:
1. High-Fat Content
Like all other nuts, pistachios are high in fat and can be unhealthy for dogs. When consumed in large quantities the high-fat pistachios can lead to pancreatitis in dogs (source).
Furthermore, the extra fat can also cause digestive problems and lead to vomiting and diarrhea in some dogs. If your dog shows any signs of digestive upset, stop feeding them pistachios and call your vet if the problem lasts more than a day.
2. Choking Hazard
Due to their size, shape, and hard shells, pistachios pose a choking hazard for dogs, especially small breeds. If your dog is a greedy or fast eater, the pistachio can easily get lodged inside their throat restricting airflow and putting your dog at risk of suffocating.
If you decide to feed dogs pistachio, remove the shells first and pay attention whether your dog is chewing the pistachio or just swallowing it whole. If your pooch just gobbles down nuts without chewing them first, err on the side of caution and don’t feed pistachios to your dog.
3. Aflatoxin Poisoning
The biggest risk of feeding pistachios to your dog comes from aspergillus mold which produces aflatoxin that has an adverse effect on a dog’s liver. Aflatoxin is in the family of toxins that can cause many diseases and even death in both people and dogs, so be cautious.
Don’t feed your dog any stale pistachios, since they easily can develop aspergillus mold. The most common symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning include jaundice, lethargy, liver failure, loss of appetite, and vomiting (source).
If your pooch exhibits any of these symptoms after eating pistachios, call your vet right away, or take your dog to an emergency clinic.
How Many Pistachios Can a Dog Eat?
If you decide to feed pistachios to your dog, only feed a few nuts occasionally as a high-value treat. Also, make sure that your dog is chewing pistachios properly to avoid the risk of choking.
And while a completely healthy dog can eat a few pistachios once in a while, you shouldn’t feed these nuts to dogs who have any health problems or suffer from obesity.
How About Pistachios Shell?
The hard pistachio shells pose a choking hazard and can also injure your dog’s throat and intestines if chewed and broken into tiny pieces. Additionally, your dog can injure its gums and even break a tooth if they chomp on a pistachio shell.
Therefore, remove all the shells before feeding pistachios to your dog, and make sure to keep any bags and bowls with pistachio out of your dog’s reach.
How to Feed Pistachios to Your Dog?
If you decide to feed pistachios to your dog, remove the shells first and make sure that the nuts aren’t stale. Also, keep a close eye on your dog to ensure that they are properly chewing and not swallowing the pistachios whole.
Ways to feed pistachio to your dog are:
- Feed one at a time as a tasty treat
- Mix a few pistachios with dog food
While pistachios aren’t toxic to dogs, the risks of feeding them are far greater than potential benefits. If you decide to feed pistachios to your pooch, only offer a few at a time and use them as occasional treats.
Eating large amounts of pistachios can cause obesity, pancreatitis, and aflatoxin poisoning in dogs, and the shells are a potential choking hazard. In the light of things, your dog may be better off not eating pistachios than eating them.