Almonds are the perfect protein-rich snack that you can add to your morning oats, cereals, and post-workout smoothies. You can even carry a stash of almonds in your car as a healthy snack for yourself or your kids. But what about your dog?
Can dogs eat almonds? The answer is a little complicated because almonds aren’t considered toxic, but they are also not completely safe for dogs. There are certain pros and cons that need to be considered to understand whether a dog can eat almonds.
Let’s dive into more details…
Can Dogs Eat Almonds Safely?
Unlike other nuts, almonds in small amounts aren’t toxic for our dogs. But their high-fat content and rigid texture make them an unpopular choice among pet parents and veterinarians. Seasoned and flavored almonds are considered even more problematic as they can lead to salt toxicity, dehydration, and other health problems.
In short, it’s not recommended to feed your dog large amounts of almonds regularly. However, your dog can eat a few pieces of unseasoned and unflavored almonds once in a while.
Why Shouldn't Dogs Eat Almonds?
Below are a few reasons why you may want to avoid giving almonds to your dog.
1. High-Fat Content
Almonds contain a lot of fat, which might not have any immediate dangers, but it can be problematic in the long run. Regularly eating high-fat food can cause weight gain in dogs. It leads to obesity and even pancreatitis, which is a potentially life-threatening condition.
Thus it’s important that you aren’t feeding too many almonds to your dog regularly.
2. Choking Hazard
Dogs rarely nibble their food. They’ll most likely swallow the whole almond or bite into them to break them into two smaller but equally rigid pieces. These small pieces can be a choking hazard and can lead to blockages or intestinal obstruction in the windpipe, esophagus, or intestines.
Such obstructions can be dangerous, especially for smaller dogs.
If you suspect your dog has gulped down a bunch of almonds, look out for the following signs of choking and intestinal obstruction:
- Distress or Restlessness
- Pawing at the mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Painful abdomen or bloating
If your dog exhibits any of these signs of choking and intestinal obstruction, contact your veterinarian immediately.
3. High Salt Content
We often buy almonds that are seasoned with salt, which can be problematic for dogs. They might be able to tolerate 1 or 2 pieces of salted almonds, but too much salt will lead to water retention and possibly salt toxicity. It can also affect their heart and kidney function leading to kidney stones.
Thus it’s advisable to avoid salted almonds for your dog.
4. Gastrointestinal Distress
If your dog has a sensitive stomach, they might struggle to digest almonds due to their high fat and salt content. This can lead to gastrointestinal distress, and you might notice symptoms like:
- Upset stomach or diarrhea
- A lack of appetite
- Abdominal pain
You’ll also see similar symptoms if your dog has accidentally eaten a lot of almonds at once. In such cases, you should take your dog to a veterinarian to treat gastrointestinal distress.
5. Flavored or Seasoned Almonds
Apart from salted almonds, there are a variety of seasonings and flavorings available in the market. You can find spicy almonds, chocolate almonds, chili almonds, honey-roasted almonds, and many more.
Each of these toppings has its own unique risks. For example, a spicy kind of almond can irritate your dog’s stomach, honey-roasted almonds might contain xylitol, a toxic compound for dogs, and chocolate-coated almonds contain a chemical called theobromine which is also toxic for dogs.
Additionally, seasoned almonds can also have other ingredients like onion and garlic powder which can be toxic for your dogs.
What Nutrients do Almonds Provide?
Since almonds are super healthy for humans, you might assume the same would be true for dogs. But you have to consider that even though almonds are full of nutrients, your dog should only eat a few pieces occasionally. Thus the nutrients in almonds would have minimal impact on their health.
But, in small amounts, you can expect almonds to provide various nutrients, like:
Almonds are a rich source of plant-based protein that can help boost your dog’s immune system while supporting their muscle development and tissue repair.
Almonds contain many vitamins, but they’re especially rich in vitamin E. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin that is also a potent antioxidant. It can help keep your dog’s immune system healthy by neutralizing free radicals and preventing inflammation and various inflammatory diseases.
Almonds are chock-full of minerals. They contain calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. All these minerals can supplement your dog's diet and help support their overall well-being.
4. Dietary Fiber
Almonds also contain both soluble and insoluble fibers that might help aid your dog’s digestive health while preventing diarrhea and constipation. Fiber can also help promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, which helps prevent the overgrowth of harmful gut bacteria in your dog’s body.
Can Dogs Eat Products Made from Almonds?
Now you know almonds have some nutrients but can also pose many health and safety risks for dogs. Let’s also discuss if dogs can eat almonds in other forms.
Dogs can drink almond milk occasionally. However, you should be careful while buying almond milk, as some brands use artificial sweeteners like xylitol. This compound is highly toxic for dogs and can lead to sudden hypoglycemia and liver failure.
If you want to give your dog almond milk, you should choose unsweetened almond milk that doesn't contain any other ingredients or additives. You can also make almond milk for your dog at home.
Almond butter is safe for dogs as it's made by simply grounding almonds. But the recipe shouldn’t contain other ingredients and artificial sweeteners like xylitol. You should either buy from a dog-friendly brand or choose something that doesn’t contain any additives.
It’s also important to know that almond butter is high in fat. Thus you should limit your dog’s intake, or it might cause weight gain and other health problems.
Many dog treats are made using almond flour. It’s a safe gluten-free substitute, and it even has some nutritional advantages over traditional wheat flour. But you should still be mindful about how much almond flour your dog is eating because its high-fat content can still lead to unhealthy weight gain and other health problems.
You should always keep your dog away from trail mix. It might contain other nuts and raisins, which can be extremely toxic for your dog. Even if the mix doesn’t contain any harmful nuts, it might contain other seasonings, flavorings, or artificial sweeteners that can be toxic to your dog’s health.
Almonds are full of protein, antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. But unfortunately, a dog cannot take full advantage of these nutrients as they shouldn’t eat more than a few pieces of almonds once in a while.
You should also be careful about the high fat and salt content of almonds. When eaten in large amounts, this can lead to various health problems, including weight gain, pancreatitis, salt toxicity, and dehydration. Furthermore, the rigid texture of almonds also makes them a choking hazard, especially for smaller dogs.
If you’re still confused about whether you should feed almonds to your dog or not, consult with your veterinarian.
Let’s answer some frequently asked questions about feeding almonds to a dog.
1. Are almonds safe for dogs?
Dogs can eat small amounts of plain, unseasoned almonds. But there are certain health risks as almonds are high in fat, and their rigid texture makes them a choking hazard, especially for smaller dogs. The flavored and seasoned almonds are even more problematic as they can lead to various health complications, including weight gain, pancreatitis, and diabetes.
2. Can dogs eat almond butter?
Dogs can eat almond butter as long as it doesn’t contain other ingredients and artificial sweeteners like xylitol. It can be highly toxic for dogs and can lead to sudden hypoglycemia and liver failure.
Also, almond butter is high in fat and can lead to weight gain and other health problems. Thus you should be careful about the portion size and feed them only small amounts of almond butter occasionally.
3. Can dogs have almond milk?
Yes, dogs can drink almond milk occasionally. But it shouldn’t contain any other ingredients or artificial sweeteners like xylitol. You should choose unsweetened almond milk made without any other ingredients or additives.
4. Can dogs with pancreatitis eat almonds?
No, you shouldn’t feed almonds to dogs with pancreatitis.
In fact, if your dog has any prior health problems, you should first consult with your veterinarian before adding any new food to your dog’s daily diet.