Pistachios are among the world’s oldest nuts, dating back to as far as 7,000 B.C. They are grown mainly in the Middle East, the U.S. and Western and Central Asia. Ordinarily, they’re green nuts, a bit sweet, and have very high-fat content and certain health benefits. Since they are so good for humans, you may be wondering “can dogs eat pistachios?”.
But as nutritious as they are, are pistachios safe for dogs? Well, read on to find out:
Can Dogs Eat Pistachios?
The simple answer to this question is… they really shouldn’t!
Pistachios aren’t toxic for dogs, but they can make your furry friend sick when taken in large amounts. Your dog could possibly eat a nut or two without any harm, but large quantities could do more harm than good.
The dog’s digestive system cannot digest well the protein found in pistachios and other nuts such as macadamia and pecans. Pistachios contain high-fat content that can cause Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) in dogs. Besides, eating a lot of them can also cause pistachios poisoning. The poisoning brings about an upset stomach, diarrhea, vomiting, among other symptoms.
PetMD recommends safer nuts for your dog, such as almonds, cashews and peanuts. However, they have to be unseasoned and unsalted; ingesting too much sodium from salted nuts can cause sodium ion poisoning that leads to tremors, vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea and excessive thirst. Too much salt can also affect water retention, which increases the likelihood of kidney failure in dogs. Beans are another good option.
What Are the Risks to Giving Your Dog Pistachios?
Pistachios are are healthy, delicious, versatile nuts that we can’t get enough of. Pistachios can facilitate weight loss, improve gut and heart health in humans. They also contain:
- Healthy fat
- Vitamin C
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Essential nutrients
- As good as they are to your health, it doesn’t mean they do as much in dogs. The risks involved in feeding pistachios to your dog include:
The aspergillus mold found in pistachios causes the development of aflatoxin. Aflatoxins belong to the family of toxins produced by fungi common in crops, including tree nuts, corn, peanuts, and cottonseed.
Symptoms of aspergillus mold poisoning are:
- Appetite loss
- Liver failure
- Orange-colored urine
While aflatoxin is only slightly toxic to humans, it badly affects the liver in dogs. National Institute of Health data indicates that aflatoxins are among mycotoxins that are capable of causing death in animals.
Pistachios enjoyed by humans are often seasoned with salt and other spices. According to WebMD, excess salt can lead to diarrhea, tremors, excessive thirst, vomiting and lethargy. The salt can raise water retention in canines and, subsequently, the possibility of damage to their kidneys. This scenario can pose a serious threat to dogs with heart complications.
Pancreatitis causes severe pain and may reduce your dog’s lifespan. Pistachios are rich in fat that contribute to Pancreatitis. Signs of Pancreatitis in dogs include:
- Swollen abdomen
- Orange-colored urine
- Severe abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Breathing difficulty
- Heart arrhythmias
- Appetite loss
The diet for canines should typically contain low fat, low carb, and high protein. Even if your dog consumes a few pistachios, it could put them at risk of obesity and Pancreatitis. On the other hand, ensure a healthy so your dog can be in a better position to live a healthy life & fight diseases and infections.
Dogs usually don’t chew food sufficiently like humans, and this can cause a choking hazard. The shape and size of the nut combined with its hardness can easily choke a puppy. Pistachios are mostly sold with their shells, which, when chewed, break into sharp or jagged pieces. These pieces can pierce the esophagus as well as other sections of the dog’s gastrointestinal tract.
Phosphorous & Urushiol
Nuts have high phosphorous content that increases the chances of dogs developing bladder stones. Another chemical in nuts, urushiol, acts fast and absorbs into the dog’s skin as soon as a contact is made. Urushiol causes allergic reactions in canines, mainly around their mouths and on their faces.
Bottom Line: Don’t Feed Your Dog Pistachios
It’s safer to feed your dog with other delicious, nutritious treats instead of pistachios. If you have to share one or two nuts with your furry friend (not more than that), ensure you remove the shells to avoid intestinal obstruction and choking.
If your dog gobbles up pistachios in large quantities by any chance, it’s best to contact your vet immediately for assistance. Can dogs eat pistachios? No, avoid them.