Dogs are amazing companions in so many ways. They love unconditionally and make for loyal pals and great cuddle-buddies. Tossing your pooch scraps from the table might be common practice for you, but it’s important to know what dogs can eat! Some popular human foods are toxic to dogs. Before you go scooping your leftovers into your dog’s dish, let’s get nutty and talk pistachios.
Quick scan answer: yes, dogs can eat pistachios but should not be fed to them in large quantities.
Let’s discuss the nutritional makeup of the pistachio nut in further detail:
What’s in a pistachio?
Like many nuts, the pistachio nut shells out a lot of good nutrition in a tiny package. However, with all this nutrition and taste comes a few downsides. They’re loaded with fat and sodium. When it comes to dogs, it is extra important to watch the salt and fat intake in their diet.
Here is the nutritional data for 1/4 cup of unsalted pistachios:
- 130 calories
- 15g of fat
- 4mg sodium
- 9g carbohydrates
- 4g fiber
- 3g sugar
- 6g protein
- 322g potassium
Pistachios are a great source of vitamins and minerals, monounsaturated fat, and antioxidants. Vitamin E and Vitamin A are found in abundance in pistachios. Can dogs benefit from vitamin E? Yes! It’s great for their fur and skin. Yet, due to the health risk pistachios bring, they’re best left for people to eat.
It can be great to improve dog foods with extra additions, but instead of pistachios, consider safer options or a dog food supplement. Take a look at Health Coat (rights reserved) for dogs. If you have questions about the brand, enter your name and email address into their contact form to get in touch. Your dog will be silky smooth in no time!
A healthy pup’s diet:
In a healthy dog’s diet, they’ll require 10% of their daily calories from protein and only 5.5% of their daily calories from fats. Most dogs need about 30 calories per pound of bodyweight a day. Let’s do some math with these numbers:
- A standard 50lb dog requires 1500 calories a day
- At 5.5% calorie needs from fat, this comes down to only 75 calories
That’s not a lot of fat to work with. From the nutritional shakedown above, we see that pistachios are fat-packed! So, one or two nuts now and again is ok, but pistachios should not become a regular part of your dog’s diet. High amounts of pistachio nuts (even amounts that seem regular to use) can even be dangerous for dogs.
Let’s extend our look into a review of some common questions you might have about dogs, pistachios, and the combination of the two!
What you need to know
Before you sprinkle a handful of those tasty green gems into your dog’s dinner bowl, stop yourself and first understand the risk you might be taking.
Do dogs like pistachios?
Most dogs like…everything. You understand this if you’ve ever caught your dog eating poop. It’s gross but true. Dogs eat nuts and will generally enjoy pistachios, but it should be known that pistachios are very high in fat. In small quantities, feeding your dog pistachios is acceptable.
If you’re asking yourself “will my dog eat pistachios?” The answer is probably yes. If you’re trying to get your dogs to eat pistachios, don’t try too hard, turns out pistachios aren’t that great for dogs. Their high-fat content ultimately makes them unsafe to feed your dog in larger quantities.
What happens if a dog eats pistachios?
We already know that if they can. Dogs eat pistachios and dogs eat nuts, it’s true. But the question begs, are nuts safe for dogs? Some nuts are okay for dogs, but generally, pistachios are not among them due to the possible side effects. They do contain health benefits and have lots of protein, but due to their fat content, they are not a good choice for pups.
If your dog does happen to get a hold of some pistachios, don’t fret too much. Pistachios are not toxic to dogs. However, they aren’t necessarily safe either.
The following health conditions could occur in your dog if they are fed too many pistachios:
- Pistachio poisoning
- Sodium-ion poisoning
- Digestive system obstruction
Though fine in small amounts, eating too many of these nuts can cause poisoning in your dogs. The signs of pistachio poisoning include loose bowel movements, vomiting, and upset stomach.
There is a rare type of mold caused by microfungi that are found on crops such as tree nuts, like pistachios and pecans. This mold is called Aspergillus Mold which produces aflatoxins. Humans and dogs alike can be affected by these toxins, but dogs are extremely sensitive to them. The toxins can cause a myriad of health issues to include liver failure, lethargy, vomiting, and dark urine.
This inflammation of the pancreas is caused by too much fat in the diet. So, not only does high fat intake lead to weight gain, but it’s also not good for dogs in another way. A dog with pancreatitis will experience loss of appetite, fever, belly pain, lack of energy, and a hard time breathing.
Too much salt can cause issues for dogs. It’s a serious issue and can cause overwhelming fluid accumulation in their body with leads to injury to organs like the kidney and causes liver problems. Their blood sugar is unable to stabilize and dogs can suffer from issues including tremors, seizures, coma, and death.
Digestive System Obstruction by Pistachio shells:
Aside from the long term effects listed above, the shell of nuts also poses a threat to dogs in the form of a choking hazard. If there are fragments of pistachio shells in the nuts, these could cause trouble to the digestive system by way of intestinal obstruction. Always inspect for shell pieces before feeding your dog any nuts.
Can pistachios kill a dog?
High amounts of pistachios in a dog’s diet can cause some serious health issues that could ultimately lead to death. One or a few pistachios at a time will cause no adverse effects, but in large amounts, they certainly can.
As mentioned above, pistachios are high in fat and a fat-heavy diet can cause the immune system and health issues in dogs that can lead to long term effects. When dogs eat pistachios in tiny amounts, they shouldn’t cause any harm to the dog.
Animal experts agree that there are far better options to treat your pup. See below for other types of nuts that you can give your dog.
Though they are safe for dogs, if you are adding the above nuts to your dog food, make sure they are salt-free and not seasoned and free of shells.
Some nutty ideas
Now that you know the safer nuts to let your dogs eat, below are some fun ways to feed your pooch:
- Nut butters mixed into dry food
- Small scoops of peanut butter
- Peanut butter filled toys
- Doggy safe peanut butter cookies
So, you get the idea about peanut butter right? It’s the main example, but it’s cheap, easily accessible, and dogs eat it up! And in the United States, it’s probably a common pantry find for many people.
Remember, not all nuts are safe for dogs to eat. The following nuts are not safe to feed Fido:
- Macadamia nuts: should never be fed to dogs!
- Black walnuts
Of all nuts, macadamia nuts are quite possibly the most dangerous for dogs. With just a small amount of these macadamia nuts, dogs can experience major issues like ataxia, weakness, and depression.
What’s the bottom line?
Can dogs eat pistachios? Yes, pistachios are ok for your dog to eat, but only one or two at a time. They should not become a regular part of your dog’s diet. There are many other safer nuts (and cheaper nuts!) you can treat your dog with. Bottom line, know the risk, and make sure to make additions to what your dogs eat wisely.
So, next time you’re enjoying a bag of mixed nuts (raw, without salt, seasoning, or shells), go ahead and let your dog eat peanuts but save the pistachios for yourself.