Most of us know that peanuts and other nuts are something that we need to be careful with around our fellow humans, but what about dogs? Are things like peanut butter safe for your pet? What precautions should you take if giving your pet nut products? 

Dogs and nuts can make a great partnership, but at Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital we want you to know how to pamper your pooch safely.

The Thing About Dogs and Nuts

Nuts can make a terrific and tasty treat for your pet. The majority of nuts are safe for pets and nut allergies are uncommon.

There are a few exceptions, however, such as macadamia nuts, which can result in vomiting, fever, tremors, high heart rates, and incoordination when consumed in large quantities. Less common nuts such as English walnuts, ginkgo nuts, and horse chestnuts should also be avoided.

In general, nuts like peanuts and pistachios are relatively safe to feed, especially as an occasional treat. Please still use caution when it comes to dogs and nuts, though:

  • Nut butters and nuts can be very calorie-dense, resulting in unneeded weight gain.
  • Some low sugar and sugar free nut butters contain Xylitol, an artificial sweetener that can be toxic for pets.
  • Whole nuts and their shells can create a choking or foreign body hazard.
  • Large quantities of nuts, especially walnuts and pistachios that contain more fats, can trigger a pancreatitis episode.
  • Some nuts like almonds and pecans can be difficult to digest and may cause trouble, especially in larger quantities.
  • Residues of peanut butter and other nut butter can remain in the fur and mouth of your pet, putting high risk people at risk if your pet smooches them.
  • Nuts that have molded are obviously a no-no.

If you have concerns about feeding your pet nuts or you think your pet may have over-indulged, always feel free to call us so that we can discuss your concerns. 

Puppy Pampering Pro Tips

Peanut butter and the like can make a great treat for your pet, but it is not always a good idea, especially in large amounts. Pets who are watching their waistline, prone to gastrointestinal upset or pancreatitis, or who live with someone with a peanut allergy might be better off with an alternative treat. 

So what can you use to stuff your pet’s Kong? Try these fun treats!

  • Frozen peanut butter (you can use less this way)
  • EZ Cheese or Kong’s EZ Filler spray
  • Fresh fruits and veggies
  • A paste of bananas and a little yogurt
  • Canned pumpkin (avoid pie filling with sugar in it)
  • Mashed potatoes, peas, carrots, and shredded chicken for an impromptu pot pie
  • Mashed sweet potatoes and ground turkey
  • Cooked oatmeal and blueberries
  • Pupsicle (frozen water with a little low sodium broth, add a few small treats for an extra treat)
  • A dab of cream cheese and chopped veggies

Many of these options offer lower calories, lower fat alternatives. Introduce any new treat slowly to be sure your pup’s tummy tolerates it.

Peanuts and other nuts are definitely not off limits but sometimes there are better options. Dogs and nuts certainly can get along well when we are cautious, but understanding the risks and concerns are definitely necessary.