As a dog owner, you know how dogs love sniffing what we are eating and even try to have a taste which they often succeed at. If you love nuts, particularly pistachios, you know that they are healthy, delicious, and versatile that you can’t have enough of them. But can dogs have pistachios? Are these tasty nuts just as good for dogs as humans, or should we ensure to sweep up any spilled pistachios before the dog swoops in? Read on to get the right answer to these questions.
So, can dogs have pistachios?
Yes, dogs can have pistachios but only as a treat and in moderation. These green nuts are nontoxic to dogs and even provide certain health benefits. Pistachio nuts contain many essential minerals and vitamins useful for dogs. It contains vitamin B6, which helps absorb fat and protein synthesis, thiamine which is essential for brain function and appropriate growth in pups, and manganese, which helps in the extraction and digestion of protein and carbohydrates. Pistachios are also a rich source of zinc, iron, calcium, Vitamin E &K, phosphorus, folate, and high amounts of fat, protein, and fiber. However, the high fat, salt, and phosphorus content in pistachios mean they can be harmful to your dog if fed in large quantities. Read for more things you should consider when sharing your tasty pistachios with your pup.
Why Should Your Dog Only Have A Few Pistachios at A Time?
While pistachios contain many essential minerals and vitamins beneficial for dogs, it is not healthy to feed them in large amounts. These nuts should be treated as snacks hence should not exceed 2% of your pup’s food. Some of the reasons why you should only give a few pistachios to your dog once in a while include;
High Fat Contents
Like other nuts, pistachios have a significantly high-fat content and calories. While fats are not necessarily bad, too much fat can make your dog obese or cause pancreatitis. Some symptoms of pancreatitis include; diarrhea, dehydration, weight loss, heart arrhythmias, reduced appetite, severe abdominal pain, lethargy, and weakness.
Pistachios that we snack on normally contain salts and other seasonings. According to PettMD, excess salt can cause vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, lethargy, and tremors. It can also increase fluid retention in your canine friend and damage their kidneys. This can be particularly dangerous for dogs with heart conditions.
High Phosphorus Amount
Pistachios have a high phosphorus content that can increase the probability of bladder stones forming when consumed in large amounts.
Dogs don’t chew their food always and often swallow them wholly. This means that pistachios present a choking hazard because of their size and shape. These nuts are often purchased in their shell, which can easily break into jagged or sharp pieces that may perforate the esophagus or other parts of the digestive system.
Dogs are particularly vulnerable to aflatoxins produced by fungi on plants such as peanuts, cottonseed, corn, and tree nuts, including pistachios. While small amounts of the toxin might not harm your dog, giving them a large pistachios amount can result in poisoning in the case of aflatoxins. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, some of the symptoms of pistachio poisoning in dogs due to aflatoxins include; vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, liver failure, jaundice, and orange-colored urine. Pistachios might also have urushiol, a harmful chemical contained in poison ivy that results in severe allergic reactions in dogs.
How To Safely Feed Pistachios to Your Dog
Does your dog love pistachio nuts? The good news is that there are several ways you can share this snack with your pup without causing them harm. If you want to give your dog a few pistachio nuts, you should ensure they are plain and unsalted. Too much salt can harm your dog. Also, remove the shells or purchase no-shell pistachios. As earlier indicated, pistachio shells can be a choking hazard and can result in gastrointestinal obstruction. Additionally, don’t share your Pistachio ice cream with your canine. If you love having a scoop of pistachio ice cream, it is best to avoid giving it to your pup even if he comes to you with those begging eyes. According to the director of the Association of Asian Veterinary Medical Professionals, while pistachios are nontoxic to dogs, pistachio ice cream has dairy ingredients that commonly cause allergic reactions in dogs and gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting and diarrhea. Therefore, you should avoid giving pistachios ice cream to dogs at whatever cost.
How Many Pistachios Should You Feed Your Dog at A Time?
The recommended number of pistachios a dog can eat significantly depends on its size. However, it’s not advisable to give your dog more than a few pistachios per day because of their high calorific value, resulting in obesity when given in large amounts. Therefore, it’s best to offer only a few unsalted and no-shell pistachios as an occasional treat. There is also no harm in offering pistachios as an alternative to typical high-value treats for training purposes.
What Do You Do If Your Dog Eats Pistachios Without Your Knowledge?
In a situation when your pup has, in one way or another, managed to eat up a large number of pistachios while you were distracted? You should start by taking note of the entire incident. Were the pistachios shelled? How much did your dog eat? What is the size of your dog compared to the pistachios? However, the most recommendable thing is to call up your veterinarian. The vet will most likely ask you to monitor the dog’s behavior, and they will come in immediately if the dog shows any symptoms of digestive stress. Some of the symptoms to look out for include:
- Greasy stool
- General weakness
The veterinarian will perform several physical examination tests and blood, urine, and stool tests to confirm the presence of aflatoxin or other underlying conditions. Depending on how affected your pup is, the vet might prescribe antibiotics, hepatoprotectives, and IV fluids.
Generally, pistachios are technically safe for your pup to eat and feature some nutritional benefits. However, their high-fat content means they can easily become junk food for your dog, resulting in obesity or other digestive issues. So, only feed a few pistachios occasionally and ensure they are unshelled and unsalted. Keep in mind that sharing human food with your dog should be minimal, and it’s best to go for treats made specifically for dogs when you can and keep the human treats to yourself.