Dogs absolutely love the taste of almonds! If that weren’t enough, almonds provide something to chew, if only briefly. But should they have them at all?
Are Almonds Safe for Dogs?
The truth is, dogs don’t digest almonds well at all. Not only can almonds lead to gastrointestinal distress for our dogs, they are high in fat (like most nuts). This means that too many almonds place your dog at risk of developing pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), a serious condition requiring a veterinarian’s attention.
Symptoms of GI distress in dogs:
- Loss of appetite
- General discomfort
Though gastrointestinal distress (upset stomach, diarrhea, etc.) is the least of your worries among the possible outcomes listed here, it makes your pet uncomfortable if nothing else. Are a few almonds really worth that?
If this weren’t enough, almonds pose yet another, potentially worse danger- obstruction. Not only can the tasty nut become lodged in the intestines, it threatens to block the esophagus or trachea (windpipe), especially in puppies or small breeds. Anyone of these obstructions can be fatal, and often require expensive surgery to remove.
The commercial dog food you probably feed your dog has been specifically designed to contain just the right amounts of sodium and electrolytes your dog needs to live healthily. Offer too much salt in your dog’s diet, and you can run into a problem. Hypernatremia, or sodium poisoning, can lead to your dog’s death if not treated, among many other things.
The problem here arises when pet owners start to give their dogs human foods high in salt (like almonds or other nuts). As they consume more sodium than their bodies are meant to, their risk of overdose increases.
Symptoms of Hypernatremia
- Increased thirst, consumption of water
- Confusion and disorientation
- High water loss, dark urine
Can Dogs Eat Almonds Every Day?
Dogs shouldn’t eat almonds at all (along with most salty human foods high in fat), let alone every day. If your dog gets ahold of the almonds and eats a few, assuming it is a medium/large breed and there is little risk of choking, he’ll probably be fine as long as you’re careful not to let him eat anymore.
If your dog eats the same amount of almonds every day, your dog is probably consuming more salt than he should. Normally your dog will just drink more water to combat the increased sodium levels in his body, and everything should be fine.
Symptoms of Pancreatitis in Dogs
- Hunched back.
- Repeated vomiting.
- Pain or distention of the abdomen (bloated abdomen)
- Loss of appetite.
On the other hand- if there is no water available at the time, or if your dog ingests an extreme amount of sodium, his body’s cells will begin to release water to even out the levels of salt in the blood. This, in turn, can cause brain cells to begin to die off, leading to a wealth of issues.
Can Dogs Eat Almond Butter?
The most immediate concern is out of the way; there is no choking hazard with almond butter. Almond butter can still cause your dog gastrointestinal upset, even though the almonds are in butter form.
Some butters contain the popular artificial sweetener xylitol, which is far worse than the occasional almond, very toxic to dogs, and they should avoid at all costs.
Can Puppies Eat Almonds?
Puppies should absolutely never eat anything but designated puppy food. Until about 6-8 weeks of age, they should be eating wet food if at all possible, and ideally nothing but their mother’s milk until about 4 weeks.
Hard substances, like nuts (or almonds), present a big choking hazard to small puppies. Anyone who’s ever raised a young pup knows they are like human toddlers, prone to put absolutely anything in their mouths! Dog owners should be constantly vigilant, making sure there are as few hazardous things around for the pup to get ahold of as possible.
Since their bodies are small and still growing, the higher than normal sodium content in almonds presents more of a risk to puppies, along with the high-fat content wreaking havoc on their developing pancreases.
Consider creating your puppy when you can’t be there to watch him, to keep him safe and away from harmful objects to swallow. A dog crate is kind of like a playpen for human toddlers!
Are Almonds Bad for Dogs?
Almonds fall among the many human foods that dogs shouldn’t eat, and can be called ‘bad’. By no means should you ever offer almonds to your dog willingly? If you want to give him a treat, invest in some dog treats designed for dogs.
High Sodium Content
Dog food is made specifically to offer just the right amount of salt for your dogs. Many human foods add additional salt to your dog’s diet. Too much salt can not only cause your dog to dehydrate but cause neurological damage. In extreme cases, this can lead to death.
Present Choking Hazard
Any hard substance that your dog might simply choose to swallow instead of chew presents a choking hazard, the risk increasing for small dogs and puppies.
A healthy pancreas secretes insulin to keep your dog’s blood glucose levels normal, just like a human’s. Too much fat can cause that pancreas to become inflames, which could lead to things like diabetes. Diabetes can be deadly in dogs if not treated.
Dogs should stick to dog food, specially designed to suit their needs, and avoid too much human food in general. A dog’s dietary needs are different than ours; many owners have made the mistake of feeding their pets a human diet.
If you want to treat your dog, or you’re concerned with your dog’s nutrition, research the dog food brands out there. Consider investing in healthy dog treats. Don’t offer your dog hard human foods to chew on and swallow, like nuts.