Can Dogs Eat Almonds?
Almonds are becoming increasingly popular as a dairy substitute, but can dogs eat almonds?
We eat almonds, almond milk and almond butter, and whilst they might be healthier alternatives for humans, should we let our four-legged friends enjoy them as treats?
Most dogs can eat almond butter or peanut butter occasionally. However, before giving almonds to your dog, there are a few things to be aware of:
High-fat content - Almonds have an extremely high-fat content, which for a dog's digestive system, can be problematic. They are also often high in salt, seasonings and artificial sweeteners.
Sweeteners - These are extremely dangerous for your dog. For example, xylitol is immensely toxic.
High salt content - Highly salted foods can have side effects that include water retention and an increased risk of kidney failure. It's especially dangerous for dogs with heart conditions.
Aflatoxin - this is a toxin from Aspergillus mould. It's mildly poisonous to humans but definitely toxic to dogs. There are trace amounts in almonds and other nuts such as walnuts, brazil nuts and pistachios.
High phosphorus content - Over time, this can increase the chance of bladder stones.
Choking - Since dogs don't usually chew their food, giving them something as small, hard and awkwardly shaped as almonds is a definite choking hazard.
Pancreatitis - Caused by the high-fat content, pancreatitis is fatal to your dog.
If your dog has almonds, it's not the end of the world. However, if symptoms appear, seek advice from your vet.
- Aflatoxin poisoning
- Digestive blockage
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Nuts aren't bad for dogs necessarily. However, you should take caution. Your dog's digestive system can't process them efficiently, and doing so can cause potentially severe problems.
- Spreads are less risky in terms of choking, but portion size is still significant. Dogs can eat nuts in small amounts, but too much will lead to vomiting and diarrhoea.
- If your dog is vomiting profusely, then not feeding your dog for several days might be recommended. It will allow time for the pancreas to heal and the swelling to go down.
- If your dog can eat, then a low-fat, low-protein, high-fibre meal several times a day is a good idea. It will speed up healing.
Treatment depends on how much your dog has been affected by the almonds.
How do you treat aflatoxin poisoning? There are no cures, so treatment is only supportive. It also means that if you see symptoms, it's vital you get them checked out quickly.
Your vet should check symptoms related to almonds and aflatoxin poisoning. They will proceed by taking note of all the food your dog has eaten recently.
They will then do a full physical examination, including a complete blood count, biochemistry profile and a urine/stool/vomit test.
Between all these things, your vet should be able to work out if there are any underlying diseases or toxins like aflatoxin.
IV Fluids - If your dog is dehydrated, IV fluids are a great way to help them
Medication - This might include anti-nausea drugs, antibiotics or pain relief. They could either be given in the IV fluids or via an injection.
Hepatoprotectants or vitamin K treatments - If your vet believes your dog has aflatoxin poisoning, these can help stop the toxins from causing further problems.
X-ray/ultrasound - Depending on the symptoms, treatment will vary. If there are signs of oesophagus damage or dehydration, you vet might offer an x-ray or ultrasound.
They will check for any tears in the oesophagus or enlargement of the heart.
An ultrasound can see the abdominal area and might show an enlargement of the pancreas or fluid accumulation.
Supplements of pancreatic enzymes - These can also help relieve abdominal pain, but they're not going to change the effects of the disease.