Can Dogs Eat Pistachios?
Pistachios have many health benefits, including being a fantastic source of nutrients, antioxidants and protein. It may be surprising to hear, then, that you shouldn't let your dog eat pistachio nuts!
- Abdominal Pain
- Intestinal blockage/obstruction
- Liver failure
- Loss of appetite
- Orange-coloured urine
There are several risks when you let dogs have nuts. The main ones are the Aspergillus mould which produces the toxin Aflatoxin, and the choking hazard/risk of intestinal obstruction and allergies.
Aflatoxins are found in most nuts and negatively affect the liver. Too many pistachios can seriously harm your dog, so always keep them out of reach. Most nuts, including pistachios, macadamia nuts and walnuts are toxic to dogs.
However, if your dog has pistachios by accident, don't panic too soon. Dogs can eat nuts sometimes. They're only dangerous for dogs if they are eating them regularly, or in large quantities.
Another problem is the salt and fat content. A dog's diet shouldn't be high in fat or sodium as it can have serious health consequences.
Nevertheless, if you do want to give your dog nuts, peanut butter is a delicious treat and is relatively safe for dogs. It's definitely a better choice than pistachios.
However, you should always give anything that's not dog food in small amounts. Keep it all under 10% of their overall diet.
- If you want to give them human food, there are better alternatives available. Vegetables such as red peppers are good for dogs.
- The high-fat content in nuts can increase the chance of obesity or pancreatitis, which can be fatal. Too much salt can contribute to kidney damage and severely dehydrates your dog.
Vets will assess the symptoms and choose the appropriate treatment. Be ready to answer any questions the vet might have regarding what your dog ate, signs and time frames.
Usually, your vet will initially do a general physical examination, a biochemistry profile and a complete blood count. They might also take a urine, blood, or vomit sample to test for any underlying diseases or toxins like aflatoxin.
Treatment can only be supportive if your dog has got poisoned from the pistachios. For example:
IV Fluids - This would hydrate your dog and help flush out the toxins quicker
Medications - This could include antibiotics, anti-nausea or pain relief. Your vet will administer it either in the IV or as an injection.
Hepatoprotectants and Vitamin K - These will help reduce the damage done to the liver.
Fast - If your dog is continuously vomiting, your vet might recommend withholding your dog's food for a few days to give the digestive system time to recover. It also allows time for the swelling in the pancreas to go down.
Give Bland Food - When your dog can eat, give them low-protein, low-fat, high-fibre meals several times a day.
Water - Give your dog plenty of water to keep them hydrated, especially if they are vomiting or have a lot of diarrhoea.
Supplements of pancreatic enzymes - These will reduce abdominal pain, but won't improve your dog's condition.
X-ray/Ultrasound - Your vet might run these tests if there's evidence of damage to the oesophagus/enlargement of the heart. Ultrasounds also check the abdominal area for an enlarged pancreas or fluid accumulation.