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Can dogs eat almonds?

The essentials

  • Plain almonds aren’t toxic — Almond-based products can be a problem, however, since they may contain toxic ingredients like xylitol. Too much salt can also cause water retention and even salt toxicity in extreme cases.
  • There are safety concerns— The smooth oval shape of whole almonds can make these nuts difficult for your canine to chew, which can possibly cause choking and GI obstruction.
  • The high fat content is also a problem — A diet that’s high in fat can predispose your pup to obesity and pancreatitis, a potentially fatal inflammatory condition.

Considered a healthy human food, almonds are a popular ingredient in many trail mixes and granola bars. They bring antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin E to the table—all things that are as good for humans as they are for dogs. However, almonds are potentially dangerous for our pets.

While they aren’t toxic, they can still cause serious problems like choking and pancreatitis. If you want to supplement your dog’s diet with a wholesome treat, try safe alternatives like blueberries for an antioxidant-packed snack instead of a handful of almonds.

Can dogs have almonds?

Technically, yes, your dog can have almonds. Many nuts, like pecans and walnuts, are toxic to dogs and should be avoided entirely — almonds aren’t on that list. In small amounts, almonds are okay since they aren’t toxic.

However, large quantities can put your pet at risk of obesity and pancreatitis due to the high fat content. Small dogs are especially at risk because rich diets can easily upset their digestive system. Due to their size and shape, almonds can also get lodged in your dog’s respiratory or digestive tract, causing choking or an obstruction.

Potential hazards if dogs eat almonds

If your dog nibbled on a couple of nuts while you turned your back, don’t panic. A couple of almonds probably won’t hurt them, but you will want to keep an eye on them and call the vet if you suspect they ate more than one or two.

Obstruction risk

A slippery almond could easily twist sideways and get caught in your dog’s respiratory or GI tract. This is even more of a concern for small breeds with a narrow airway or if your dog seems to inhale their food.

Potential for stomach and intestinal upset

Almonds are high in unsaturated fat. For humans, this type of fat isn’t necessarily bad. However, dogs are smaller creatures with a more fragile system of balancing their weight. If your dog is eating a diet that complies with AAFCO standards , they’re probably already receiving all of the good fats that they need.

Too much fat can lead to obesity, which feeds inflammatory diseases like arthritis and cancer. Diets that are high in fat also put dogs at risk of developing pancreatitis. This type of dangerous inflammation can cause secondary damage to the liver, gallbladder, and intestines, including liver failure.  

Possible water retention

Too much salt, as can be found in salted almonds, can create bloating in dogs as the high sodium levels cause their body to retain water. In vast amounts, salt toxicity can occur. Seasoned almonds may also contain other toxic ingredients, such as garlic

Can dogs eat other almond products?

Almonds are a pretty popular ingredient in a variety of foods, from desserts to health foods to vegan milks. While almonds aren’t necessarily a great thing to add to your pup’s regular diet, almond-based snacks can be okay in small servings as long as they don’t contain any toxic ingredients. 

Dogs and almond butter 

Some nut butters include ingredients that are harmful to pets, like chocolate and artificial sweeteners. Most sweeteners aren’t good for pets, including sugar, but some artificial sweeteners are especially dangerous. For example, xylitol is a fairly popular artificial sweetener that’s toxic to pets. Even if your almond butter is safe, you should only feed your dog a small amount due to its high fat content. The same advice is also true for peanut butter, which often has xylitol.

Dogs and almond milk

As long as almond milk doesn’t contain any toxic extra ingredients, it’s safe to give your dog in small quantities. In fact, it can even be a nutritious alternative to dairy milk since a lot of dogs are lactose intolerant . In a similar way, almond flour can be a safe alternative to wheat flour for dogs who require a gluten-free diet.

Frequently asked questions

My dog just ate almonds. Will he be okay?

Almonds aren’t toxic to dogs, so a single almond probably won’t hurt them. However, eating too many nuts can lead to stomach upset and put your dog at risk of weight gain and pancreatitis. Most dogs will be okay if they’ve only eaten a few almonds, but monitor them closely for signs of choking, such as difficulty breathing. For smaller dogs, whole almonds also pose a risk of intestinal obstruction due to their small slippery nature. Call the veterinarian if they’re acting sick, or if they ate more than a couple. 

Can dogs eat almond butter?

Nut butters like almond butter are safe for dogs in small amounts as long as they don’t contain any toxic ingredients. Watch out for artificial sweeteners, like xylitol, that are toxic to pets. You should also avoid giving your dog foods that are high in sodium because they can cause water retention and even salt toxicity in extreme cases. 

Which nuts are safe for dogs?

Peanuts, cashews, and almonds are nontoxic and relatively safe for dogs when compared to other nuts. They still contain a lot of fat, however, so limit your dog’ portions to avoid the risk of unwanted weight gain and pancreatitis.. 

Which nuts are toxic to dogs?

Walnuts and pecans are toxic to dogs because they contain the compound juglone which can cause diarrhea and vomiting. Pecans in particular have a reputation for growing Aspergillus mold, a type of microscopic fungus that can cause seizures and other adverse health problems in dogs. Interestingly, canines are the only species known to be poisoned by macadamia nuts and no one knows why. 

Is peanut butter healthy for dogs?

Peanut butter is a popular ingredient in dog treats and a common coaxing agent for convincing a sneaky canine to eat their medicine. Dogs love the taste, and natural peanut butter is generally healthy for them, providing protein and fiber. However, as you would for almond butter, make sure it’s free from harmful ingredients and only give it to them in moderation.