Can dogs eat almonds? The short answer is no, dogs can’t eat almonds, even though your dog may have eaten an almond or two in the past and felt fine. While almonds are not likely to be toxic to dogs, they are not handled well by dogs’ digestive systems and can cause obstructions. They also present a choking hazard and other dangers to your dog’s health, especially if they are salted or seasoned. If you are looking for a source of protein for your dog, there are plenty of healthier, safer options than almonds, so keep these nuts for the humans in your home only. Here’s what you should know about almonds and dogs.
Why Are Almonds Bad For Dogs?
Although almonds, themselves, are not likely to be toxic to dogs, they are known to sometimes harbor a certain kind of mold called Aspergillus mold, which contains Aflatoxin. This substance can cause poisoning in your dog, as canines are particularly affected by it.
Many almonds are covered in salt and other seasonings that can be harmful to dogs. Too much salt can lead to water retention, which is especially dangerous for dogs with heart conditions, and in large quantities, salt consumption can lead to salt toxicity. Spices and seasonings may taste good to dogs, but many of them can lead to gastrointestinal upset.
Even if you give your dog plain, mold-free almonds with no added seasoning or salt, there are still several dangers. Almonds are high in phosphorus, which can make bladder stones more likely to form. The high fat content can lead to gastrointestinal upset in the short term and conditions like obesity and pancreatitis in the long term. Dogs’ digestive systems don’t process the protein in almonds well, which can cause gastrointestinal blockages. Additionally, the small, hard nuts are a choking hazard, especially for smaller dogs or dogs that don’t completely chew them before swallowing.
As with almost any kind of food, dogs may have an allergic reaction to almonds. Rarely, this can lead to anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening condition. If you see the signs of an allergic reaction, including sneezing, coughing, swelling, hives, difficulty breathing, or other symptoms, contact your veterinarian right away.
What about things that are just almond flavored and don’t contain the full nuts? Well, almond flavored products often contain sugar, artificial sweeteners, chemicals, and other things that would be harmful to your dog’s health. Make sure you read all labels. It is always a good idea to consult your veterinarian before sharing any human food with your dog.
What Should You Do If Your Dog Eats Almonds?
One or two almonds aren’t likely to have a significant impact on your dog’s health, so long as your dog doesn’t have an allergic reaction. Keep a watch for any signs of choking if your dog manages to swallow an almond. You should also look out for symptoms of gastrointestinal blockage, vomiting, diarrhea, or other digestive system distress and call your veterinarian if you spot them. If your dog still appears to be fine several hours after eating the nuts, there is probably no cause for concern.
If your dog manages to steal a lot of almonds, however, you should call your veterinarian or poison control right away. Most of the time, they will instruct you on how to induce vomiting in your dog, so long as you call within 30 minutes of your dog eating the nuts. If more time has elapsed, you may need to rush your dog to the emergency vet for treatment. Your dog may be given intravenous fluid, supportive care to avoid liver damage, medication to reduce symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, or treatment for pancreatitis.