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Almonds are a healthy and satisfying snack for humans, but can you share them with your pup? Unfortunately, the consensus is probably not. While almonds aren’t necessarily toxic, they're difficult for dogs to digest, which is why they're on the list of foods it’s best for dogs to avoid (walnuts and macadamia nuts are also on the list). Keep reading for more reasons why your dog shouldn't consume almonds — plus, what to do if they accidentally eat some.
Are Almonds Good For Dogs?
Almonds pose lots of health and safety risks for dogs, including:
1. Almonds are choking hazards.
Although in general, dogs are equipped to chew food in much the same way as humans, they don’t “nibble” almonds like we do. They’re more likely to swallow them whole. So there’s a chance that a nut can become lodged in their windpipe; smaller-sized dogs are especially at risk.
2. Almonds are too salty.
Snacking almonds are often heavily salted and seasoned, which causes us, and definitely, our dogs, to become very thirsty (think of those bowls of nuts so many bars generously provide for their customers). Too much salt can lead to water retention, which is especially dangerous for dogs with heart problems.
3. Almonds are high in fat.
Almonds are loaded with fat, which can contribute to a dog developing acute pancreatitis; fat also aggravates chronic pancreatitis.
4. Almonds are high in phosphorus.
The mineral can lead to bladder or kidney stones. Some breeds of dogs, such as the Yorkshire Terrier and Lhasa Apso, are genetically predisposed to kidney stones, and Shih Tzu, Miniature Schnauzer, and Bichon Frise are prone to bladder stones.
What To Do If Your Dog Eats Almonds
The answer depends on the size of your dog and the amount and kind of almonds they consumed. If you think your dog only ate a few almonds and they don't appear to be experiencing esophageal obstruction, monitor them for diarrhea or vomiting for 12 hours.
If your dog ate a big bag of almonds, take them to the vet immediately (especially if they're a smaller dog). Your pup might require IV fluids for dehydration and drugs for pain management.
Can Dogs Have Almond Milk?
Almond milk is generally safe for your dog to drink, but it should only be served in moderation. Because almond milk is high in calories, some dogs might experience stomach issues, excess gas or diarrhea. Almond milk should only be given to dogs as a treat and in small quantities to prevent any potential digestive problems.
Can Dogs Eat Almond Butter?
Yes, dogs can eat almond butter but only in moderation and as long as there are no artificial sweeteners added. Carefully review ingredients to ensure that no toxic additives have been included. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener, can be found in several brands of almond butter, and it can cause dogs serious problems, including hypoglycemia, liver disease, and blood-clotting disorders. So if you give your dog almond butter, make sure xylitol isn’t one of the ingredients. Another thing to watch out for is digestion issues. While most brands of almond butter aren’t toxic to dogs, this nut spread is still high in fat which can cause stomach issues in some dogs. It’s a good idea to consult your veterinarian before giving your pup new foods.
Are All Nuts and Nut Butters Bad for Dogs?
If you give your dog peanut butter (and peanut butter treats), don't worry. These are fine for dogs because peanuts aren’t really a nut, but rather a legume. Still, it’s best not to give your dog individual peanuts, for many of the same reasons you should avoid giving them other types of nuts.
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Claudia Kawczynska was co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Bark for 20 years. She also edited the best-selling anthology Dog Is My Co-Pilot.