The Protein Packed Snack: Can Dogs Eat Nuts?

Smiling white Wheaton dog being handed a treat

If you’re like us, snacking is a must! And, if you’re like us, you probably feel the need to extend a few treats to our loveable pet companions. 

Nuts are a popular choice for snackers because they’re relatively good for us, despite the fat content (but it’s good fat, right?}. Since our dog companions adore peanut butter, it would seem that nuts are a healthy choice for rewarding them with something special. Not so fast, though.

While most nuts are not toxic, there are some that should be avoided when treating your dog to a snack. The question of, can dogs eat nuts, is a great one, and the Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital are here to give you the scoop.

A Pack of Nuts: Which Ones Are Safe for Dogs?

When it comes to nuts, not all are as safe as Rover’s favored peanut butter. Some of them are difficult to digest while others contain compounds that can cause your pet to become sick. Here are some of the more popular  nuts and the verdict on whether or not they are safe for your furry loved one.

1. Almonds –Almonds are one of the best snacks for humans, and dogs love them too. Unfortunately, many almonds are flavored and salted, which can lead to stomach upset. Almonds are also high in fat and can create gastrointestinal problems as well as weight gain. Since these nuts are also hard to digest, like most hard nuts, give your pet only one or two on occasion or avoid them altogether.

2. Brazil Nuts – Another nut that is high in fat content, so therefore rich for most canines’ palette. They are also hard to chew and there is a choking risk for small dogs especially. They are acrid in taste, as well, so not the best choice for a doggie snack.

3. Cashews – This nut is generally fine for dogs as a spread or whole. Just be mindful of how much you give, since this is one of the fattiest of all of the nuts. Cashews cannot be cooked without releasing a toxin, so use these delicious yet high in calorie nuts in moderation and given raw or as a nut butter.

4. Walnuts – This type of nut has a toxin in it that can cause vascular disease in horses, but doesn’t affect dogs in the same way. This bitter nut can be hard to digest and can create a gastrointestinal obstruction which can lead to a veterinary emergency. They are also known to mold easily, and molds of any kind are harmful to pets. It’s best to avoid this nut when feeding your dog.

5. Chestnuts – This nut, that is popular around the holidays, is mostly safe for dogs, except that it can cause a stomachache in some. Roasted chestnuts can be a delicious alternative to peanuts, but use this nut sparingly in your dog’s array of treats.

6. Pecans – If you drool over the thought of a piece of pecan pie, we can relate, but are pecans okay for dogs? Pecans contain a few different compounds that are toxic to canines (and horses), which include juglone and aflatoxin. Never feed your pet pecans to avoid liver damage and a serious pet emergency.

7. Macadamia Nuts – Whether raw or roasted this is a nut your dog should avoid at all costs. Macadamia nut poisoning includes tremors, vomiting, muscle weakness, and fever. Researchers have yet to isolate why this nut causes serious reactions, but macadamia nut poisoning is one of the more serious of food based toxicity in dogs.

8. Pistachios – Like walnuts, these nuts can contain a mold that is very toxic to dogs when ingested. This form of toxicity can result in liver failure, so stash those pistachios away from your Fido.

Should Peanuts Always be a Go-to for Dogs?

Peanuts are actually not a nut but a legume. Much like other nuts, though, they shouldn’t be a primary staple of your pet’s diet. In fact, peanuts also contain a lot of fat, which can lead to stomach upset, diarrhea, and pancreatitis in larger quantities. 

The other issue to be aware of is peanut butter with added sweeteners. Some brands include the sugar substitute, Xylitol, which is highly poisonous to dogs. Always read the label on your favorite nut butter before giving your pup a taste.

Wheaton’s Top Veterinarians

We know that our four-legged friends love to eat what we also enjoy, but there are some considerations before they snack. Even safer nuts cannot be given in large quantities, as with any people food. If you have any additional questions on the topic of can dogs eat nuts, contact Wheaton’s top veterinarians today. We look forward to seeing you and your pet at their next wellness checkup!

Keeping Your Exotic Pet Mentally Healthy and Happy

A brown guinea pig and white guinea pig

In most traditional pets, it is well understood that without playtime and things to do, they become restless, bored, and depressed. This is why there are so many pet enrichment items on the market, knowing that a pet’s total wellness isn’t complete without a focus on behavioral or mental well-being.
This same belief is true for exotic pets. In order for them to be healthy and well adjusted, they also need things to do. The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital are here to explain the steps to keeping your exotic pet mentally healthy for a lifetime of good health.


Pick Your Foliage? The Bush or Tree Dweller Theory in Cats

Cats are cute. Cats are quirky. Cats are, if we are being honest, a bit of a conundrum. When it comes to understanding what cats do and why, things are sometimes a bit up in the air. There is sometimes a little method to the madness, though.

The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital knows that understanding cat behavior comes down to instinctual remnants in many cases. Understanding things like the bush or tree dweller theory in cats can help owners comprehend their feline friends a little better.


A Timeless Companion: A Brief History of Cats

Wheaton cat on concrete licking paw

Cats, like dogs, have evolved alongside us for thousands of years. There are many changes that must take place during the process of domestication, allowing wildcats to become the purr pals we now know. Many feline fanciers wonder how long the domestic cat has shared our homes. You may also wonder about the roles cats played throughout history.

The cat veterinarians at Wheaton Animal Hospital are more than purrfectly happy to answer questions about the history of cats. Let’s take a closer look!


The (Tiny) Leader of the Pack: Small Dog Syndrome

Does your small dog like to throw their minuscule weight around? Or behave like a landshark around pets and people? Small dogs can have big personalities which endear us to them, but sometimes this bravado can turn into big problems.

Small Dog Syndrome, as it is generally called, is a collection of the negative behaviors associated with tiny and small dog breeds.

The question is, are small dogs all like this? Is it genetic, or simply learned behavior? And what can a pet owner do about it? The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital are here to explain negative behaviors in small dogs. 


Should You Do Anything About Your Dog’s Dew Claws?

If your dog could, they’d definitely give you a “thumbs up” when you ask if they want something you know they want, like a treat or a walk to the park. They would if they had thumbs, that is. 

But wait, they do! Dew claws are sort of the last gasps of the canine evolutionary process, and while they’re largely perceived as vestigial, dew claws may be occasionally employed. 

Know What to Look For

It’s not totally accurate to compare dewclaws to thumbs, but they’re not far off. While a dog’s dew claws may not offer the same function and flexibility as opposable human thumbs, they can be helpful. 


The Lap of Luxury: 5 Ways to Pamper Your Cat

Cats are often deemed to be too independent for their own good, but this myth about cats is actually wrong. Cats do, in fact, enjoy being with their people and love the attention and cuddles we give them. 

Dogs are the focus on thousands of pampering products on the market, but our cat companions also deserve a little spoiling every now and then, right?

The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital agree, which is why we are here to give you some simple ways to pamper your cat for their health and enjoyment.


Back to It! Life with Your Pet After COVID-19

If you have been in social isolation for the past few weeks with your pet, adjusting to going back to work or school can be tough. Dogs and cats rely on consistency and routine to feel safe and protected, and if there is an abrupt change in their schedule, it can cause some fear and stress, and in some pets, separation anxiety

The good news is that you can avoid serious anxiety and fear by easing your pet into the new routine. Life with your pet after COVID-19 can be an adjustment, but they will be better prepared for the new solo time with some important steps you can take.


The Ants Go Marching One By One: Prioritizing Pet Safe Pest Control

Bugs can be really cool to marvel at, but not when it comes to sharing our homes with them. Insects belong outside, and by outside we mean beyond our property lines. This may be a lofty goal, and an impossible one to boot, but taking time to ensure your pet isn’t exposed to parasites and disease-spreading insects is a big deal. 

How can pet owners be sure that certain products aren’t harmful to their best friends? With our tips for pet safe pest control, of course!

Sad, but True

As the guardian of an innocent pet’s health and safety, it can be problematic and confusing to approach effective pest control. Often, commercially available products can be more dangerous than the bugs themselves, making the entire prospect of mitigating insects a bit shaky. 


Our Go-To Guide to Pet Sun Protection

Much has been said about paw care on hot pavement and keeping a close eye on hydration during the summer months – for good reason. Painful blisters on the feet and possible heat stroke are dreadful outcomes from overexposure to heat. However, pet sun protection shouldn’t stop there. From pet-safe sunscreen to adjusting exercise times, the Pet Experts have you and your best friend covered.

Not So Much Fun in the Sun

Most pets are covered in fur, but that doesn’t mean that their skin isn’t at risk.