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Can Dogs Eat Pistachios? What Happens If Your Dog Eats Pistachios?

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Raymond Umpa

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Can Dogs Eat Pistachios

If your idea of a day off is a “Netflix and chill,” kind of day, chances are you are also thinking of having a bowl of pistachio nuts with you.

But, what if your dog snatches one or two while your eyes are fixed on your TV screen? Should you panic or hold still knowing that everything is just fine? But, can dogs eat pistachios?

It’s high time to set your doubts and worries away. Join us as we crack open the mystery surrounding dogs and pistachios, and together let’s explore the answer to the question, “Can dogs eat pistachios?”

Can Dogs Eat Pistachios?

They can, but they shouldn’t.

Plain, unsalted, and shelled pistachios are not technically toxic to dogs, but because of the risks involved in feeding pistachios, it’s not really recommended. If you ask around the vets in your area, chances are they will all say the same.

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The risks for choking, poisoning, obesity, and many other health issues are not worth a handful of pistachios in your dog’s diet.

If you are persistent in giving nuts to your dog, you may consider other tasty treats, instead, or if not, you can resort to safer options such as peanuts, cashews, and almonds.

So, to answer the question again, yes, dogs can eat pistachios, but the risks involved are not worth it. Hence, it’s better to avoid giving dogs pistachios at all or at least do so in moderation.

And don’t forget to remove the pistachio shells, or purchase the shelled and unsalted varieties that are also available at your nearest supermarkets.

Also, be cautious not to give your dog pistachios that contain ingredients that are toxic for him, such as garlic and onions. And of course, if you intend to give plain pistachios to your furry friend, be sure to only give small quantities.

Keep an eye on his reactions after. If your dog experiences an allergic reaction, upset stomach, and other symptoms of gastrointestinal distress, then, it would be best not to give him pistachio or even other nuts again.

Can Dogs Eat Pistachios? What Happens If Your Dog Eats Pistachios? 1

Are Pistachios Safe for Dogs?

Pistachios are not technically safe for dogs if we are going to consider the risks involved in giving these fatty nuts to our pups.

If you are still torn between giving these tasty treats to your dog or not, there are a few reasons that can help you make an informed decision.

To start, pistachios have high fat content, and they can also have too much salt, especially the salted ones. It is bad to give your dog foods with too much fat and it’s not just because of the obvious reason that it can increase your dog’s risk for unhealthy weight gain and weight-related problems. 

Dogs benefit from foods that are rich in proteins, and low in fats and carbohydrates. Giving them small quantities of pistachios from time to time would also yield the same reaction from a high fat diet.

And that includes vomiting, diarrhea, high blood pressure, and digestive issues. It can also lead to more serious medical conditions like pancreatitis, and liver damage. 

Pistachios can also be poisonous for dogs. In particular, moldy pistachios can cause pistachio poisoning due to the presence of Aspergillus mold. We’ll talk more about this in a section below, but in general, the toxins caused by the mold negatively affect a dog’s liver.

Moreover, as mentioned above, the intake of large quantities of salted pistachios can lead to the accumulation of too much salt in your pup’s body. Even healthy dogs won’t be spared by the dangerous effects of this which include sodium poisoning.

The symptoms that you should watch out for include vomiting, diarrhea, body or muscle weakness, excessive thirst, and tremors. Too much salt in a dog’s diet can also affect water retention in his body, which increases his chances to develop kidney failure.

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What Happens If Your Dog Eats Pistachios?

A lot of potentially dangerous things can happen if your dog eat pistachios. As mentioned above, your dog can experience health and safety problems anywhere from allergic reactions, obesity, pancreatitis, kidney problems, liver failure, sodium toxicity, and pistachio poisoning.

Of course, the most common reactions for dogs would be gastrointestinal distress as manifested by vomiting, and diarrhea. When taken regularly, pistachios can wreak havoc to your dog’s digestive system, liver, and kidneys.

In addition, pistachios, particularly shelled pistachios can be a choking hazard, especially for smaller dogs.

Your dog’s powerful teeth can also crack the shells down exposing sharp edges that can tear the lining of his esophagus and digestive tract. The pistachio shell can also cause intestinal obstruction, which might even require emergency surgery.

Pistachios are also rich in phosphorus and another natural chemical called urushiol. While phosphorus offers several health benefits in humans, for dogs, too much phosphorus is one of the leading causes of bladder stones.

Urushiol, on the other hand, is the same compound that causes allergic reactions when in contact with poison ivy. Urushiol is fast-acting and can easily be absorbed by the skin once contact has been made.

And dogs who eat pistachios may experience the same allergic reaction from poison ivy contact. In particular, they may experience skin itching, reddening, and swelling on their faces and around their mouth.

Can Dogs Eat Pistachios? What Happens If Your Dog Eats Pistachios? 2

What Should You Do If Your Dog Eats Pistachios?

Pistachios can be poisonous to your dog if he has eaten a moldy nut, and as always, the severity of his symptoms will vary depending on the number of pistachios that he consumed.

Hence, if you see that your dog ate the pistachios lying on the floor or those that were left exposed in an open bowl, immediately take control of the situation.

Determine if the nuts were old, or were they shelled or unshelled; were they salted, plain, or flavored with other ingredients such as garlic and onions? You’ve got to gather as much data as you can that can help determine your dog’s treatment regimen if the need arises.

Also, as much as you can, estimate how many pistachios did your dog eat, and how big is your dog compared to the nuts?

If you have a small dog and he ate an entire pistachio nut, you’ll want to check out for signs of bowel obstruction. If you have a large dog, and he ate an entire bag of shelled pistachios, you’ll want to observe him for signs of mycotoxin poisoning.

However, if your huge dog only ate a piece of pistachio, you can just simply wait and observe for his reaction. Chances are he will just be fine.

Below are the symptoms that you should watch out for if your dog has eaten large quantities of pistachios:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Loss of appetite
  • Agitation
  • Dehydration
  • Body weakness
  • Greasy stool

What Is Pistachio Poisoning?

The aspergillus mold is one of the problematic molds out there that are usually found in our fridge, on overripe vegetables that we left exposed in our kitchen, on the fallen leaves outside, and so on. It’s very common that we often just neglect it.

However, this mold can pose a threat to your dog because it causes aflatoxins, which is a type of mycotoxin produced by certain fungi found in crops, including tree nuts. And pistachios just happen to be more susceptible to aspergillus mold because of how they were harvested.

Dogs are vulnerable to the aflatoxins produced by the aspergillus mold, which can negatively affect their liver. And the aflatoxins are also capable of causing several health problems and even death in humans and other animals.

Below are the symptoms of pistachio poisoning that you should keep an eye on:

  • Jaundice
  • Liver failure
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Body weakness
  • Orange-colored urine
Can Dogs Eat Pistachios? What Happens If Your Dog Eats Pistachios? 3

Commonly Asked Questions

Can Dogs Eat Nuts?

Some nuts are technically not toxic to dogs. So, if you are planning to give your dog nuts as treats, you can go for safer options such as cashews, peanuts, and almonds.

As always, when giving these tasty treats to your pooch, make sure that the nuts are plain and unsalted, and limit it to just a few nuts every week.

While some nuts are safe for dogs, other nuts are highly toxic to your pup. And these include macadamia nuts, pecans, and black walnuts.

Can Dogs Eat Macadamia Nuts?

No, macadamia nuts can cause severe nerve and muscle damage in dogs. In addition, these nuts can also cause body weakness, fever, muscle tremors, vomiting, joint stiffness, and inability to walk.

Can Dogs Eat Pecans?

No, you should not give pecans to your dog. Pecans, together with black walnuts contain a toxin called juglone that can cause gastrointestinal distress in dogs. They are also prone to aspergillus mold, which can cause aflatoxins the same as with pecans.  

Can Dogs Eat Cashews?

Cashews are not toxic to dogs unlike macadamia nuts, walnuts, and pecans. However, just like most nuts, cashews are also high in fat. Hence, it’s not advisable to give your dog cashews regularly.

Can Dogs Eat Almonds?

Yes, they can. But again, make sure that they are plain and unsalted. And always practice moderation in giving them to your dog.

Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter?

Dogs can eat peanuts, so, yes, they can also eat peanut butter just make sure that it doesn’t contain xylitol, a sweetener that is commonly found in sugarless human food. Also, don’t give it as part of your dog’s regular diet, but instead, just give it as a treat occasionally.

Can Dogs Eat Pistachios? What Happens If Your Dog Eats Pistachios? 4

Final Thoughts

Every dog deserves a healthy treat – may it be homemade peanut butter biscuits, fruits, or commercially available natural dog treats.

And with the aforementioned symptoms associated with the intake of pistachios, it’s clear that these large nuts are not one of the healthy treats that you should give to your pooch.

If you suspect that your dog ate large quantities of pistachio nut; or even worse, if you notice that your dog ate huge amounts of moldy, shelled, and flavored pistachios, consult the nearest vet immediately.

You can also call the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661 or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435. The helplines are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week; so, don’t hesitate to call anytime.

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