We all know how delicious and healthy pistachios are. Pistachios are one of the most popular nuts these days. They’re versatile, they can be eaten in a variety of ways, and we can’t get enough of them!
But have you ever asked yourself whether dogs can eat pistachios? This is one of the most common questions asked at the vet clinic, so we thought it would be a good idea to address it in this blog post.
While most nuts can be quite healthy for humans to consume, some of them shouldn’t be included in your dog’s diet plan. The reason is that some of them can be actually toxic to your dog if eaten in large amounts or for extended periods of time.
In this blog post, we will discuss whether dogs can eat pistachios, the dangers of pistachio poisoning in dogs, and what to do if your dog ate pistachios.
Can Dogs Eat Pistachios?
The short answer is NO, dogs can’t eat pistachios, and there are a few reasons why:
- High fat – pistachios contain high levels of fats and oils that can cause problems like pancreatitis (inflammation or swelling due to irritation), or obesity. Dogs need low fat, low carb, and high protein diet, and the high-fat pistachios shouldn’t be part of it.
- Salty – pistachios are very salty, and high consumption of salt can lead to sodium ion poisoning. High salt consumption also results in diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and excessive thirst. And thirst can cause high water retention, which can lead to kidney failure.
- Digestive blockage and discomfort – pistachios come with a hard shell, and dogs have a hard time breaking it (even the cracked shells). They can swallow the whole nut which can get stuck in your dog’s digestive tract or throat. Can you imagine how uncomfortable that might be for your beloved friend?
Related Article: Can dogs eat egg shells? Read more as we share some in-depth information plus the benefits and risks associated with eating eggshells.
- Aflatoxin poisoning – in rare cases pistachios are known to cause aflatoxin poisoning (that comes from the aspergillus mold), which is highly toxic to dogs.
Even though pistachios aren’t generally poisonous to your dog (and a couple of them probably won’t harm them), they still pose some significant risks. And to be on the safe side, it’s best to avoid giving them to your dog.
The Dangers Of Pistachio Poisoning In Dogs
Although pistachio nuts come with health benefits for humans (they contain protein and fiber), they should not be part of your dogs’ diet.
Their system is not designed to process these nuts and higher pistachio intake can cause pistachio poisoning that result in pancreatitis, obesity, and gastrointestinal distress.
Pistachios have a high fat and protein content that dogs cannot digest. The nuts can cause the pancreas to release excess fluid into the abdomen, causing it to swell up with fluid (pancreatitis).
So the high fat in pistachios can cause pancreatitis and obesity.
The high amount of salt can cause water retention and injury to the kidneys.
The hard shells (even cracked ones) can cause digestive blockage.
If pistachios catch mold, it can cause aflatoxin poisoning.
After eating pistachios, your dog may experience discomfort in its stomach and vomiting for several days. It is important to avoid feeding them these nuts and make sure you do not feed them anything similar that can be potentially dangerous, such as macadamia or walnuts.
Some of the symptoms that can indicate pistachio poisoning in your dog can include:
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty breathing
If you suspect that your dog has eaten a large number of pistachios, it is important to take it to the veterinarian immediately. Your vet will perform a physical examination, blood work, and ultrasound for your dog in order to make a good diagnosis.
Your vet can also test the vomit, urine, and stool to check for toxins such as aflatoxin. Most of the time, your vet will be able to make a preliminary diagnosis based on the physical exam. However, for the final diagnosis, there can be further testing required and checking for more symptoms.
You can observe more upcoming symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, lethargy, and weakness. Depending on the severity of symptoms, your vet will be able to establish the final diagnosis.
Pistachio poisoning in dogs is a serious issue that requires immediate veterinary treatment. Your dog may require intravenous fluids and powerful pain medications to combat the intense abdominal discomfort caused by the pistachios.
If your pet has not already vomited, it will probably need to do so as part of the treatment process (in order to relieve some of the digestive enzymes working on their pancreas).
You can also expect your vet to insert an IV catheter into one of your pup’s veins, with which administer anti-nausea medication and antibiotics for several days until symptoms subside.
In case of aflatoxin poisoning, there can be serious damage to the liver, so your vet can administer hepatoprotectants and vitamin K.
In order to help your pet recover from pistachio poisoning, you can offer it a bland diet that is high in protein and fiber and low in fat.
Feeding them boiled chicken breast with brown rice will give their system the nutrients it needs for a speedy recovery while avoiding foods that may irritate their stomachs, such as fatty meats and fast-absorbed carbohydrates.
Also, don’t forget the recommended medications and antibiotics that your vet has prescribed for the symptoms.
If you’ve been giving your dog healthy snacks and mini bits of cheese or yogurt, they should slowly transition back into eating regular food (and the calming treats they love) after one week from the incident.
Although this does mean delaying their full return to normal activities (such as going on walks), taking this preventative measure will ensure that your pup does not end up with another bout of pancreatitis.
Related Article: Can Dogs Eat Collard Greens? Read on as we answer the question that many dog owners wonder about.
What To Do When Your Dog Ate Pistachios?
If your dog has ingested pistachios, you should first check their mouth to see if they have chewed on the nutshells. If so, it is vital that you remove them as quickly as possible before your pet swallows any of them.
This is because these husks can cause blockages, leading to serious complications such as peritonitis or ruptured intestines. You may also notice small bits of green color in between their gums and teeth after checking out his mouth – this is just food dye from the nuts staining their teeth.
If the pistachios are fully ingested, you need to monitor your pet’s vomit in order to determine if any pieces of the nuts are present. If your dog has not vomited yet but is showing signs of discomfort, it is important that you take him for a veterinary visit immediately. The reason is that they may have already absorbed some toxins from eating them or might be experiencing an allergic reaction.
In this blog post, we’ve discussed whether dogs can eat pistachios, the dangers of pistachio poisoning in dogs and what to do if your dog ate a handful.
Of course, not all canine companions are created equal – some breeds will likely be able to gobble up a couple of shelled nuts without incident, while others might have an allergic reaction or other side effects from just one bite.
It’s important to know if your dog has eaten pistachios. If so, it may be best for you and your pet to monitor them carefully and always consult your vet.
We hope that this blog post was helpful in answering any questions or concerns about whether dogs can eat pistachios.
Did your dog eat pistachios? Tell us what happened!
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