Can dogs eat almonds?

Can Dogs Eat Almonds?

Almonds are associated with being a healthy food for humans. However, should we share this   healthy tree nut with our canine companions?  Great question!  Can dogs eat almonds?  The answer to this question is not as simple as other food-related questions when it comes to our pets.

The correct answer for can dogs eat almonds would be a cautious yes.  Almonds are not toxic to dogs, but they do come with a longer list of health concerns. 

In this article, “Can Dogs Eat Almonds?” you will read about the following:

  • Are Almonds Nutritious for Dogs?
  • Potential Dangers of Dogs Eating Almonds
  • How Many Almonds Can My Dog Eat?
  • What to do if My Dog Ate Almonds
  • Safer Alternatives for Dogs

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Can Dogs Eat Almonds? Are Almonds Nutritious for Dogs?

Almonds can be a wonderful snack item for humans with many nutritional benefits. You might pause before you start sharing these healthy snacks with your dog. Some dogs will try to convince you with soulful eyes and a patient posture they would like to try one of your almonds.  It is best to know all the facts before dishing out this snack to your furry friend.

Almonds that have been soaked in a water/salt combination for 24 hours, drained, and rinsed, are known to be easier to digest.  Soaking almonds softens them and makes it easier to chew and increases the nutrient availability.  They often lose some of the bitter tannins in the outer layer of the almond after soaking.

The nutrients that are available in an almond are manganese, vitamin E, magnesium, vitamin B2, and phosphorus.  Tree nuts are not a common food for canines, therefore, how much a dog can digest is questionable.  Many dogs would swallow the almond whole with little to no chewing, leaving their digestive enzymes to break it down.

Some dogs can eat one unsalted, soaked almond as an occasional treat. However, keep reading to see if the potential dangers of eating almonds are worth this occasionally treat.

Can Dogs Eat Almonds? Are Almonds Nutritious for Dogs?
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Can Dogs Eat Almonds? – Potential Dangers of Dogs Eating Almonds

Can dogs eat almonds? The better question might be, is it safe for my dog to eat almonds?  There are many reasons people chose other foods to give their dogs.  Listed below are the most common concerns about offering almonds to canines.

High in Fat.  The highest percentage of fat found in almonds is called monounsaturated. For humans this is considered a good fat. In dogs this fat can still put them at risk for inflammation of the pancreas, leading to pancreatitis.

Obstructions. Dogs often do not chew almonds, making them a hazard.  Whole and half pieces of almonds can cause obstructions in the trachea (windpipe), esophagus, and/or the intestines. Smaller dogs have a greater risk of obstructions in the windpipe area.  An obstructed almond could be fatal for any dog, regardless of their age and size.

Gastrointestinal Distress.  Tree nuts can be hard to digest for humans and almonds are among the most common nuts to cause distress.  Symptoms of gastrointestinal distress are gas, bloating, lethargy, overall discomfort, diarrhea, and/or vomiting.

Potential to Harbor Mold.  Even though almonds are considered a low-mold nut, they can contain a specific mold called Aspergilla mold. Dogs can be sensitive to the aflatoxin produced by this particular mold.

Symptoms could include jaundice, lethargy, liver failure, and lack of appetite.  Dogs that have a weaker immune system could be affected more by ingesting this type of mold.  If you suspect your dog has ingested this mold, you will want to see your local veterinarian.

High in Phosphorus.  Too much of this nutrient can cause bladder stones in dogs.

Two types of almonds to avoid all together for dogs are Bitter Almonds and Chinese Almonds.  Bitter almonds can be found in almond extracts and liquor. If your dog has ingested almond extract or liquor contact your veterinarian.

Chinese Almonds should be avoided due to trace amounts of cyanide.  Smaller dogs, puppies, older dogs, or dogs with a weak immunity could be in danger if they ingest this type of almond.  Contact your veterinarian right away if you suspect your dog ate a Chinese Almond.

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Can Dogs Eat Almonds? - Potential Dangers of Dogs Eating Almonds
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Can Dogs Eat Almonds? How Many Almonds Can My Dog Eat?

The big concern with, can dogs eat almonds, is how many is too much?  Some dogs tolerate one unsalted almond a few times a year just fine.  When you should be concerned is if your dog snarfed up a bag of almonds from the pantry. 

That is too many almonds.  Call your veterinarian right away for advice on how to care for you dog and potentially induce vomiting.

Dogs, just like their humans, can be attracted to the salt, artificial flavors, barbeque seasonings, and smokey flavor of almonds.  If your dog ate one of these flavored almonds, give your veterinarian a call.  It is best to have the ingredient list available, know approximately how many your dog ate, and at what time your dog at them.

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Can Dogs Eat Almonds? – What to Do If My Dog Ate Almonds

Dogs are opportunists!  Perhaps the smokey smell of a can of almonds was too tempting for your dog.  It is best not to panic if your dog got into the almonds. The size of your dog and how many almonds they ate are both helpful information when you talk to your veterinarian.

Monitor Your Dog.  Watch your dog carefully after they ate almonds.  Look for signs of distress, discomfort, gagging, or bloating.

Know the Signs of Allergic Reaction. It is possible for dogs to have an allergic reaction to nuts, in this case almonds. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include hives, swelling of facial features, lethargy, difficulty breathing, and vomiting.  Call for veterinarian advice if you suspect your dog is having an allergic reaction.

Changes in Appetite. If your dog has a potential obstruction, they might not be interested in mealtimes.

Check Stool.  Make sure your dog has normal elimination.  If you notice any blood in the stool, call your veterinarian for advice.

After your dog has consumed almonds, keep a close watch on them for the next 12-24 hours.  Call for professional veterinarian advice if you have any doubts.  They can advise if extra fluid is necessary, or if your dog requires pain management.

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Can Dogs Eat Almonds? - Potential Dangers of Dogs Eating Almonds
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Safer Alternatives for Dogs

Can dogs eat almonds?  Yes, but with much risk.  What about almond butter, almond flour, or even almond milk, are those safe for dogs? Almond butter and almond flour are easier for a dog to digest; however, they can still lead to gastrointestinal issues, pancreatitis and potential allergic reactions.

Almond milk is diluted sufficiently with water so that it does not pose any health risks. This milk also does not have any nutritional benefits for your dog.

Other tree nuts that are toxic to dogs are nuts from the walnut and pecan families. Avoid these types of nuts all together and call for professional advice if your dog ingests one.

A safer alternative food (that is like almonds) for dogs is peanut butter.  Peanuts are a legume and not a nut, and dogs have an easier time digesting them.

When buying peanut butter that you can share with your dog, look for brands that contain only “peanuts.” Dogs do not need added refined sugars or added salt.  One sweetener that can be deadly to your dog is xylitol. You will be safe giving your dog simple peanut butter in moderation.

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In conclusion, when asked, can dogs eat almonds?  The answer is the same, a cautious yes. If your dog eats one to two soaked (unsalted) almonds occasionally, they might be perfectly fine.  As a dog owner, only you can evaluate if giving your dog almonds is worth the potential risks.

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