When you shake a handful of almonds into your palm for an afternoon snack, you might not think it’s a big deal if a few stray nuts fall onto the floor and your dog swoops in to gobble them up. After all, your pup is nutty by nature, and probably enjoys doubling as a furry vacuum cleaner anyway.
But while almonds and nuts contain beneficial nutrients for humans, they can pose a danger for dogs for a variety of reasons. So let’s get the bad news out of the way—no, dogs can’t eat almonds.
Why Can’t Dogs Eat Almonds?
We understand if you’re saddened by this news. You might have envisioned viral videos of your dog catching almonds thrown from across the living room and now you have to settle for… blueberries? Why?
Almonds Are A Choking Hazard For Dogs
Have you noticed how your dog essentially inhales food without chewing? That’s because dogs’ digestive systems work a bit differently than ours, and the majority of the food break-down occurs in the stomach rather than the mouth.
What this means for your pooch is that they are more likely to swallow the almond whole, which can potentially obstruct the esophagus and windpipe—especially in small breeds—and cause a life-threatening choking situation. The last thing you want to do is perform the Heimlich maneuver on a chihuahua. Don’t risk it!
Almonds Are Too Fatty For Dogs
Almonds are high in fat, which makes them a satisfying snack for humans. But almonds, and nuts in general, are too dense for dogs to safely eat.
Too much concentrated fat in a dog’s diet can increase their risk of developing pancreatitis, a dangerous, possibly fatal disease that requires the expertise of your veterinarian.
Almonds Are Too Salty For Dogs
If you enjoy your almonds roasted, salted, or seasoned, your dog should definitely not be eating them. Seasoned nuts are high in sodium, which can lead to water retention and bloating (we’ve all been there). These effects can be particularly dangerous for dogs, especially if they get their paws on an entire bag.
The dangers of water retention and salt toxicity are magnified for dogs with heart diseases, so keep a sharp eye on your nut storage if your dog is diagnosed with any co-morbidities. They are too salty! Please avoid.
Almonds Cause Tummy Aches In Dogs
Sure, your dog might love the taste of almonds, but their stomachs hate digesting them. Given that almonds are super-fatty and sodium-rich, they can cause uncomfortable and even dangerous gastrointestinal distress for dogs. Symptoms can include:
What If My Dog Eats Almonds?
If your dog only gets their snout into a couple almonds, they’re most likely fine—just factor in their size, breed, and medical history. If 12–24 hours pass and they’re not exhibiting any of the common symptoms, they’re probably in the clear. Keep a lid on your nut jar and don’t let them sneak any more!
But if your pup breaks into the pantry and devours an entire jar of salted almonds, call the vet immediately. Your dog could be at risk of a major sodium overdose and could require IV fluids to combat salt-induced dehydration. If not too much time has passed since your dog did the nutty deed, the vet will most likely try to induce vomiting to purge their stomach of the almonds.
What About Peanuts?
Not to be pedantic, but peanuts are technically not nuts. They’re legumes, and don’t pose the same health risks as almonds. But they are still high in fat, so don’t just open up a can of peanuts and go wild.
If you absolutely have to give your dog peanuts, give them the unsalted, raw variety.
The Nuts And Bolts
Dogs should not eat almonds. They pose a choking risk, they are too high in fat, and the high sodium can make them dangerously dehydrated. Dogs should not eat almonds. They pose a choking risk, they are too high in fat, and the high sodium can make them dangerously dehydrated. If your dog swallows an almond or two, they are most likely fine—but if they eat an entire bag, you need to call the vet immediately.
Dogs should be chasing squirrels, not taking dietary advice from them!