Can Dogs Eat Almonds? Fact Checked By Our Vet
Delicious, crispy and full of healthy fats, almonds are an easy treat for people. But can dogs eat almonds? Are almonds healthy for dogs?
Before spoiling your pup and sneaking them some almonds, here’s what experts have to say about it.
Almond Basics: Can Dogs Eat Them?
First things first, almonds aren’t technically nuts. They are more related to stone fruits, like cherries, plums and apricots.
Related: What Fruits Can Dogs Eat?
Almonds aren’t toxic for dogs and they don’t have any harmful compounds. However, they aren’t considered safe for dogs and in most cases, vets recommend keeping them away from your pup.
Related: Can Dogs Eat Nuts?
They can cause gastrointestinal distress
Because they are very high in fats, almonds can easily cause gastrointestinal distress. It’s very easy to go overboard with almonds and other nuts, and eating high amounts of fats can cause serious troubles for your dog.
Most dogs that eat too much fat in a short span of time will have diarrhea, vomiting and feel bad for a few hours. Unfortunately, in some cases, large amounts of fatty foods can cause pancreatitis, a life-threatening condition that requires immediate veterinary attention. Keep your dog safe and limit the fats in their diet to the recommended amount.
PRO TIP: Sweet almonds (the ones you can buy at the grocery store) aren’t poisonous to dogs or humans. Bitter almonds, however, have significant cyanide content and are very dangerous to dogs. Keep an eye out if you know there’s an almond tree in a garden your dog has access to.
Almonds can be a choking hazard or cause intestinal obstruction
On top of causing a normal upset tummy, almonds can actually pose a great risk to your dog’s health. Have you ever noticed how dogs tend to swallow instead of chewing on their food? Well, almonds are the perfect size to be swallowed, and they can easily be a choking hazard. Choking is a common cause of death in small dogs and puppies, so this is a serious issue!
If your dog manages to swallow it whole, then almonds can become a very real obstruction hazard. Fixing an obstruction involves lots of pain for your dog, several trips to the vet and emergency abdominal surgery. To avoid these issues, just avoid giving whole almonds to your dog.
PRO TIP: Learning first aid for dogs should be at the top of your priorities. Learn to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre on dogs of different sizes so you know how to act if an emergency happens. Acting fast can save your pup’s life!
Mouldy almonds can be fatal
Apart from the dangers mentioned above, almonds are particularly vulnerable to getting mouldy, with a particular species called aspergillus. Giving your pup mouldy almonds can result in aflatoxin poisoning from the Aspergillus mould. Poisoning symptoms include an upset stomach (vomiting and diarrhea), lethargy, convulsions and even death. If you’re unsure if your dog got into mouldy almonds, keep your eye out for any unusual symptoms and call your vet immediately.
PRO TIP: Keep a record of your dog’s normal behaviour. That way, you’ll notice if they start acting weird, more active or lethargic than normal.
What To Do If Your Dog Eats Almonds?
If your dog gets one or two almonds, this is unlikely to cause any harm. Just don’t panic and watch out for any signs of intestinal distress or blockage. Call the vet if any unusual symptoms arise.
Can Dogs Eat Almonds In Other Forms?
Products made from almonds, like almond flour and protein powder, carry the same risk as whole almonds in regards to mould and excessive lipid intake. However, the addition of extras like chocolate, sugar or raisins is what makes an almond-derived product a no-go for your dog’s health.
Dogs can eat almond butter in moderation but should avoid products that have other ingredients like sweeteners, chocolate, and salt.
While they aren’t toxic, whole almonds should generally be avoided. Keep these crunchy nuts to yourself, and stick to other treats if you want to spice up your dog’s diet. Almond butter is less risky, but make sure to portion it correctly to avoid excessive lipid intake and possible pancreatitis.
Does your dog eat almonds? Let us know in the comments below!
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- Hayes, G. "Gastrointestinal foreign bodies in dogs and cats: a retrospective study of 208 cases." Journal of small animal practice 50.11 (2009): 576-583. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1748-5827.2009.00783.x
- Lenox CE, Bauer JE. Potential adverse effects of omega‐3 fatty acids in dogs and cats. Journal of veterinary internal medicine. 2013 Mar;27(2):217-26. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/jvim.12033
- McGreevy PD, et al Prevalence of obesity in dogs examined by Australian veterinary practices and the risk factors involved. Veterinary Record. 2005 May;156(22):695-702. https://bvajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdfdirect/10.1136/vr.156.22.695