While almonds aren’t toxic to dogs, they can cause serious health problems and should be avoided.
Even if your dog’s bowl is brimming with food, your dog is likely to treat any food in your hand as if it were the only food in the world. However, thinking about what’s in our snacks before offering a nibble or two to your dogs can help to keep your dog safe and healthy.
Almonds are a popular snack among those who are health conscious, and dietitians recommend them as a good choice as well. Instead of sweets or cake, a serving of almonds can help you decrease belly fat and improve your heart health. But the situation can be different when it comes to the question, can dogs eat almonds? The straight answer is: it should be avoided. Almonds don’t provide the same nutritional value to dogs as humans, and they can be harmful. While almonds aren’t as harmful as other nuts like macadamia nuts and walnuts, they’re one of those things that dogs have a hard time digesting.
Nutritional Benefits of Almonds
Almonds are said to be one of the most popular tree nuts in the world. Almonds contain fibers, fats, vitamin E, proteins, and minerals, including manganese and magnesium. All of these nutrients come from only 161 calories and 2.5 grams of digestible carbohydrates in a handful of almonds. Remember that your body only absorbs 10–15 percent of the calories you consume since some fat is inaccessible to digestive enzymes.
Almonds have a lot of antioxidants in them. Almonds’ potent antioxidants are primarily concentrated in the skin’s brown layer. Antioxidants aid in the prevention of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress damages molecules in your cells and contributes to inflammation, aging, and diseases such as cancer. Almonds also contain vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant known for protecting against oxidative damage.
Almonds can help you manage your blood sugar levels because almonds are abundant in healthy fats, protein, and fiber but low in carbohydrates. This makes them an excellent alternative for people with diabetes. Another advantage of almonds is their high magnesium content. Magnesium plays a role in over 300 biological functions, including blood sugar and blood pressure regulation.
One or two handfuls of almonds per day can result in minor reductions in “bad” LDL cholesterol, potentially lowering heart disease risk. In addition, almonds and other nuts have been shown in studies to increase fullness and help you eat fewer calories. Though almonds are high in calories, eating them doesn’t promote weight gain.
Adverse Effects of Almonds
Almonds contain a notable amount of phytic acid, which decreases the absorption of minerals. Absorption of calcium, zinc, and iron is compromised in the presence of phytic acid, leading to mineral deficiencies. As a result, phytic acid is frequently referred to as an anti-nutrient.
Almonds are a high-fiber nut. Therefore, the fiber content may appear to be beneficial. According to physicians, too much fiber can cause constipation and other gastrointestinal troubles such as diarrhea, stomach cramps, gas, and so on in your dogs.
Almonds, like cashew and walnut, are known to trigger allergies in dogs and humans. In addition, Amandine, a protein found in almonds, is a known allergen. Tongue swelling, scratchy throat, lip or mouth swelling, and itchy mouth are all examples of allergic responses.
Can Almonds Be Life Threatening?
Bitter almonds in their natural state are toxic. For example, glycoside amygdalin is a toxin found in bitter almonds. When this toxin is consumed, it breaks down into various chemicals, including hydrogen cyanide, a poisonous substance that can be fatal for your dog. Thus bitter almonds are known for producing cyanide poisoning. In addition, they contain around 40 times the amount of Hydrocyanic Acid (HCN) found in sweet almonds. HCN can cause difficulty breathing, choking, neurological breakdown, and even death.
Common Allergies That Almonds Cause in Dogs
Canines with food allergies, such as allergies from nuts, may develop itchy and inflamed skin, which may be extremely painful. They’re also more likely to develop chronic illnesses including asthma, ear infections, and gas due to the body’s response to the histamine. An allergy is the immune system’s reaction to a protein perceived as a threat.
Almonds are categorized as tree nuts and can cause life-threatening disorders in dogs and thus should be avoided.
Symptoms of Almond Allergies in Dogs
Dogs’ food allergies manifest themselves as redness and lumps beneath the front legs, between the toes, or concentrated around the face and groin. Other symptoms include patches of baldness, inflamed feet, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, scratching of the face, shaking of the head, hives, skin infection, skin rashes, and wheezing.
Treatment of Almond Allergies in Dogs
Several weeks may pass before the elimination diet identifies the allergen causing the allergy. Your dog may still be experiencing symptoms throughout this time. Your veterinarian may prescribe therapies that may obscure signs that would otherwise be clear, making it more difficult to pinpoint which item in your dog food is causing the problems. As a result, many veterinarians prefer to finish the elimination diet before choosing other treatment methods.
Adverse Effects the Almonds on Dogs
Following are the adverse effects that your dog can face if it consumes almonds.
Almonds are high in proteins and lipids, which might cause health problems in dogs. As a result, it’s best to offer your dogs a small number of almonds. In addition, a high-fat diet can cause pancreatitis. It’s a potentially life-threatening illness that needs prompt veterinary treatment. Inflammation of the pancreas is known as pancreatitis.
The pancreas is responsible for the release of digestive enzymes. Only when the enzymes reach the small intestine do they become active when the organ functions normally. However, when the enzymes are produced in a dog with pancreatitis, they cause inflammation and damage to the pancreas, its surrounding tissue, and other organs. In addition, the enzymes may begin to break down the pancreas itself, causing your dog excruciating discomfort.
Acute pancreatitis in dogs causes extreme lethargy, stomach pain, recurrent vomiting, severe dehydration, collapse, and shock. These symptoms may not appear immediately after feeding your dog almonds but somewhat over time as the fat content of your dog’s diet increases. A dog suffering from chronic pancreatitis is typically not as sick as one suffering from acute pancreatitis. However, lethargy, a decreased appetite to not eating at all, vomiting, and stomach discomfort are all symptoms.
The majority of mild instances of pancreatitis heal after two to three days of treatment and have a favorable prognosis. The more severe cases need a week or more extended in the hospital. Food and drink should be withheld from your dog for 24 hours to allow the pancreas to rest; fat intake should be monitored appropriately, and quality leftovers should be allowed. A low-fat or ultra-low-fat prescription diet that supports the gastrointestinal system can also aid in the long-term management of pancreatitis.
Because dogs don’t chew their food as people do, swallowing the almond whole might cause life-threatening blockages of the esophagus, stomach, intestine, or even windpipe in a small dog.
A partial or complete blockage that prevents solid meals or liquids from flowing through is an obstruction. Intestinal obstruction can prevent water and nutrients from being absorbed. Since minerals that are important for the body to function are not being absorbed, this can lead to electrolyte imbalance and dehydration in a dog.
If you suspect that your dog has consumed shelled almond, then look for symptoms of obstruction. These include severe dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities resulting from frequent vomiting. Another symptom is anorexia, meaning lack of appetite. Young dogs with a shelled almond blockage will eat or attempt to eat at first but later vomit. An obstruction can stress the intestines, causing severe pain and even intestinal rupture or abdominal inflammation (peritonitis).
Dogs can pass a shelled almond and defecate it out in their feces, depending on their size and the size of the almond. The vet might be able to remove the obstruction from the esophagus. It can be pulled out of the esophagus with an endoscope and forceps or removed through the mouth. Surgery is an option if neither of the other options work.
Electrolytes are essential for a variety of bodily activities. For example, they’re necessary for appropriate heart and brain processes, fluid balance, and oxygen delivery. Hypernatremia refers to blood salt levels that are greater than usual.
Almonds can be seasoned with salt or spices like garlic and pepper. In dogs, the high salt content of such tasty coatings might cause salt toxicity and hypernatremia. In certain dogs, too much salt in the diet can lead to high blood pressure. Furthermore, high-salt diets may exacerbate the symptoms of other issues in dogs, such as urinary stones or underlying heart or kidney disease.
If left untreated, salt poisoning in dogs causes vomiting, diarrhea, inappetence, lethargy, abnormal fluid accumulation inside the body, excessive thirst or urination, probable renal impairment, tremors, seizures, coma, and even death.
Treatment for salt poisoning involves eliminating a salty diet, IV fluids, electrolyte monitoring, and hydration.
Like many other packaged nuts, almonds are sometimes excessively salted, which can cause significant water retention in dogs, which is especially problematic in dogs with heart problems.
The medical name for an accumulation of fluid in a dog’s belly is ascites, sometimes known as abdominal effusion. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and a loss of appetite. Several factors can cause ascites, and treatments differ appropriately.
The water retention caused due to the consumption of salted almonds can be treated by limiting dietary salt. In most cases, veterinarians will recommend a low-sodium diet together with diuretics to assist the body drain sodium out through the urine. In addition, veterinarians will offer oxygen to dogs that are having trouble breathing and intravenous fluids if they show indications of dehydration.
A mold called aspergillus, which may cause aflatoxin poisoning, is particularly vulnerable to almonds. Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring toxin produced by molds, particularly Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. Aflatoxin’s primary health issue is its possible carcinogenicity. Aflatoxin exposure over time has been linked to an increased risk of liver cancer. Molds that produce aflatoxin are prevalent and harm a variety of crops.
Dogs can be poisoned by moldy food. As a result, you should make every effort to keep dogs away from it. The mold creates mycotoxins, which are hazardous substances when eaten. Mycotoxins exist in various shapes and sizes. The most common are tremorgenic mycotoxins, which cause tremors and seizures in dogs.
A dog’s poisoning by molds and aflatoxin is a medical emergency that requires immediate hospitalization and treatment.
Dogs are unable to digest almond shells, making them unsuitable for eating. Choking is a significant hazard connected with eating shelled almonds. Almonds and other nuts are dry foods that, if not handled properly, can cause gagging in humans. Dogs are more prone to choke since they don’t understand what’s going on and become upset much faster.
A dog coughing violently, drooling, gagging, keeping his mouth open, or pawing at his mouth are all signs of choking. You risk being bitten or putting the object farther into their throat if you put your fingers in your dog’s mouth. To dislodge the object, smack the dog between the shoulder blades or provide numerous quick, squeezing compressions on both sides of his rib cage.
Can You Feed Your Dog Almond Butter?
Processing almonds into almond butter boosts nutritional bioavailability and makes them simpler to digest for dogs, implying that your dog is less likely to have gastrointestinal problems if you give them almond butter. Other risk factors, however, continue to exist. Like many other human meals, pancreatitis may still be caused by overeating almond butter. Furthermore, many types of almond butter contain salt and artificial sweeteners, such as xylitol, which is hazardous to dogs. If your dog eats a lick of almond butter by mistake, they’re unlikely to be harmed.
Which One Is the Better Option? Almond Butter or Peanut Butter?
This is the age-old question: which nut “butter” is better. Many people adore the humble peanut, and their dogs would agree enthusiastically.
Both peanuts and peanut butter are okay for your dog to eat. Although some dogs may be allergic to peanuts, that is an uncommon occurrence. Almonds are also healthy for dogs; however, many of them have digestive issues. Give almond butter to your dog with caution since almonds can cause upset stomachs and other digestive disorders.
The amount of peanut or almond butter you give your dog should be proportionate to their size. On average, your dog should consume no more than one to two tablespoons of this nut butter each day.
Even though both peanut and almond butter are nutritious powerhouses, research suggests that almond butter is the nut butter with the most health advantages for your dog. However, remember to use it in a controlled manner.
Is Almond Milk Safe for Dogs?
Almond milk is a by-product of the almond manufacturing industry. You can consider almond milk as a very diluted form of almonds. Almond milk, like almond butter, is unlikely to disrupt your dog’s GI tract. A small amount of unsweetened, unflavoured almond milk won’t harm them. Almond milk, on the other hand, has little nutritional value to dogs, so you’ll be giving them empty calories. In addition, artificial sweeteners and other potentially dangerous additives may be included in flavored, sweetened almond milk. Overall, it’s better to avoid providing almond milk to your dog.
What To Do if Your Dog Has Consumed Almonds?
If you suspect that your dog has consumed almonds, the first you have to do is to look out for symptoms.
Different sizes of pets may react to the same amount of almonds entirely differently. There’s no need to be concerned if your dog eats a couple of almonds and shows no indications of choking or blockage.
If you suspect your dog ate a good amount of almonds, the most efficient treatment is to induce vomiting if the consumption happened within the preceding 30 minutes. Under the supervision of a veterinarian or with the help of poison control, this can be done with hydrogen peroxide. If you don’t know when the nuts were ingested or can’t get your pet to vomit, your only choice is to keep an eye on your pet for indications of disease. If your pet becomes unwell, contact your veterinarian right once to schedule an appointment.
If there are no indications of choking, gagging, bloating, vomiting, or pain, and you believe your dog just ate a few almonds, the dog is most likely fine and may be supervised at home.
Almonds are toxic to dogs in some forms, so their consumption can cause many health issues; thus, it’s better to avoid almonds. Instead, products like almond butter and almond milk are safer to use. If your puppy accidentally consumes shelled or flavored almonds, then look out for symptoms and visit your vet immediately.