Macadamia nuts are frequently used in cakes, biscuits or eaten by themselves. But be careful, they are poisonous to dogs.
Fortunately, macadamia nut poisoning is not usually fatal, and symptoms should resolve within two days. How many macadamia nuts can hurt a dog, then?
Macadamia nuts will start to affect muscle strength when your dog has eaten 2.4g per kg of body weight.
Higher doses cause more significant symptoms; for example, sickness and fever.
Quantities around 60g per kg of dog body weight can result in more extreme symptoms.
Given that nuts are often sold and stored by the kilogram, this level of ingestion is definitely possible. If your puppy were to open a kitchen cupboard or raid the shopping bags, they could easily eat too many and start displaying symptoms.
Macadamia nuts are toxic for dogs, so even though they are rarely fatal, it's still vital to keep them away from your pet.
Immediate vet treatment should reduce the absorption of the nuts and quicken their passage through the dog's digestion system. Prompt treatment can prevent any further health problems and relieve any discomfort or pain.
The poisoning should pass by itself. However, complications are possible if your dog has underlying health issues or they ingested other poisons at the same time.
A good example is chocolate-covered macadamia nuts or mixed nuts and raisins. Since many of the other ingredients are toxic, you may have several poisons affecting your dog simultaneously.
If your dog is allergic to macadamia nuts, then they might react badly, quickly. Symptoms might include itchiness, hives, swelling, sneezing or red, inflamed skin. These might occur alongside the symptoms of macadamia nut poisoning.Symptoms:
- Pieces of macadamia nut in their stool
- Back legs collapsing
- Inability to walk
- Ataxia - weak muscles
The vet may induce vomiting to remove any pieces of macadamia nuts in the stomach. In more urgent cases, they might decide a stomach pump is necessary.
Activated Charcoal - To prevent your dog's body from absorbing any more toxins, your vet might give activated charcoal. It binds to the toxins and will help reduce the amount that enters your dog's system.
IV Fluids - If your dog has got chocolate poisoning, they will most likely be extremely dehydrated. To help rehydrate them and to flush the toxins out quicker, your vet might use IV fluids.
Medication - Your vet will prescribe any drugs that will relieve your dog's symptoms, for example, to reduce their fever. There's no antidote, so treatment and medications are only supportive.
Sometimes, your dog might need to stay with your vet for 48 hours to monitor the symptoms fully. If your dog has eaten a variety of nuts or poisons, then toxicity may be more complicated and more aggressive treatment needed.
If you catch your dog eating macadamia nuts or discover missing or opened packaging, then take your dog to the vets.
If unsure, then check for undigested nuts in their stool or take them to the vets for tests. They can test for toxins and check for elevated serum lipase activity, hyperthermia or muscle weakness. These conditions will help them diagnose the problem and thus, carry out the appropriate treatment quickly.