Can Dogs Eat Cashews?

close up shot of cashews

Is it safe for dogs to consume nuts? Nuts may appear to be a convenient and tempting treat for your dog, but are they safe? It’s generally safe for dogs to eat raw cashews, however, if cashews are combined with butter or anything else, you should first consult your vet before feeding them to your dog. Here’s some information on whether or not you should offer nuts to your dog.

Benefits of Nut Consumption

Nuts are fruits containing a hard shell that protects a kernel, which is usually edible. They’re commonly consumed as a snack or utilized in cooking. Nuts have a wide range of carbohydrate content. For example, cashews offer approximately 8 grams of digestible carbohydrates per serving, whereas macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, and hazelnuts contain less than 2 grams of carbohydrates.

Nuts are high in fat, low in carbohydrates, and a good source of vitamin E and minerals like magnesium and selenium. Antioxidants, including polyphenols found in nuts, can help fight oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals, which are unstable chemicals that can harm cells and raise disease risk. Nuts also contain fiber, reduce inflammation, and benefit those with type II diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Additionally, nuts contain significant cholesterol and triglyceride-lowering properties. The amount of unsaturated fatty acids in nuts may explain their cholesterol-lowering properties.

Is It Safe for Dogs to Eat Nuts? Are They Risk-Free?

Although many nuts are theoretically consumable for dogs, a few varieties of nuts may be harmful to dogs. Note that any nut can be detrimental to dogs if it has become moldy.

While you can feed your dog small amounts of some nuts and nut butter (e.g., peanut butter, almond butter) without risk, it’s crucial to be aware of all risk factors and potential toxicity that may be a result of feeding nuts to your dog. Nuts, despite their small size, are heavy in fat and calories. For many dogs, it may be preferable to avoid nuts in favor of a healthier treat that contains fewer calories, less fat, and salt and poses less of a risk of toxicity. In addition, nutshells should not be fed to your dog as they all constitute a choking hazard.

It’s important to remember that foods beneficial for human consumption can be highly toxic to dogs. Avoid almonds, walnuts, and macadamia nuts while giving treats to your dogs. You can treat your dogs with peanuts, peanut butter, cashews, and hazelnuts in moderate amounts.

cashews in a bowl

Are Cashews Safe?

Dog owners often ask this question, Can dogs eat cashews? Cashews are typically safe for consumption by dogs. Cashews, unlike macadamia nuts, aren’t poisonous to dogs. If you’re thinking of giving your dog nuts, there are a few things to bear in mind.

Nutritional Benefits of Cashews

Cashews are high in fiber, healthy lipids, proteins, and are low in sugar. Cashews are packed with beneficial nutrients.

Cashews are high in unsaturated fats, which are associated with a reduced risk of early mortality and heart disease. In addition, they have about the same amount of protein as cooked meat. Cashews also contain considerable copper, which is necessary for energy production, brain development, and a healthy immune system. They’re also high in magnesium and manganese, two minerals vital for bone health.

Polyphenols and carotenoids are two types of antioxidants present in cashews. Antioxidants are plant chemicals that help keep your body healthy by neutralizing free radicals, which cause harm. As a result, inflammation is reduced. Cashews have long been associated with minimizing the risk of diseases, including stroke and heart disease. In addition, cashews appear to have some anti-hypertensive, anti-triglyceride, and anti-cholesterol properties.

The high fiber and protein content in cashews might help your dog feel more satisfied and less hungry. When all of these things are considered together, they may also assist in weight reduction. In addition, cashews are low in sugar and high in fiber; this quality may help lower blood sugar levels and protect against type II diabetes.

Can Cashews Benefit Your Dog?

Like a variety of other nutritious human foods, cashews are safe for your dog to eat but they aren’t a vital element of a balanced diet for your dog.

dog sitting in front of a blue background

Allergic Reactions in Response to Cashew Consumption In Dogs

Nut allergies may be harmful to people, but they’re less prevalent in dogs. Dairy, eggs, and chicken are the most common allergens in dogs. Therefore, the essential thing for dog owners to watch out for when giving their dog a new treat is the indicators of an allergic response.

True food allergies trigger an immunological reaction that manifests as hives, face swelling, and itching. Gastrointestinal symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea. A severe response, analogous to severe peanut allergies in people, can develop on rare occasions, resulting in anaphylaxis. However, food allergies aren’t as frequent as many people believe. Despite the slight likelihood of your dog experiencing an allergic response to cashew nuts, red, inflamed skin, diarrhea, vomiting, sneezing, itchy ears, chronic ear infections, itchy, runny eyes, constant licking, swelling, itching, and hives are among the common symptoms of an allergic reaction in dogs.

Because certain nuts are hazardous to dogs, you should avoid giving your pet cashew nuts from variety packs. In addition, human allergic responses to nuts demonstrate that even a tiny quantity can create issues. If you think your dog is experiencing an allergic reaction to cashews, stop feeding them the cashews and contact your veterinarian.

Ways in Which Cashews Can Be Harmful to Dogs

Regardless of being filled with good nutrients, there are many ways that cashews can be harmful to your dogs. If you plan to feed your dog cashews or have already given your dog cashews as a treat, then you must know the problems that cashews can cause to your dogs. This way, you will be ready to take prompt actions if required.

They’re High in Calories and Might Make Your Dog Gain Weight

Cashews are a protein-rich, high-fat snack. The high-fat content of cashews might cause difficulties for dogs, especially if they’re given in large quantities. Fatty diets cause obesity. Cashews should be avoided by overweight dogs or dogs that are prone to weight gain. Many low-calorie foods might be given as treats instead, such as green beans or butter-free, air-popped popcorn.

The calories given by all treats combined should not exceed 10% of your dog’s total daily calories. This prevents your dog’s diet from becoming unbalanced. If you want to assist a dog in losing weight, there are two non-negotiable requirements for success: you must determine a daily calorie limit and stick to it. Your veterinarian may be able to assist you in creating a dietary plan for your dog. Weight reduction food for dogs is high in dietary protein and fiber but low in fat. Dietary protein promotes metabolism and energy expenditure.

dog running through the grass

Flavoring and Seasonings on Cashews Can Be Dangerous for Dogs

Cashews can be coated in cocoa powder or spices like garlic and pepper, and they can also have a high salt content. The high salt content of those delicious coatings can induce gastrointestinal distress in dogs. Too much salt in the diet might cause high blood pressure in some dogs. In addition, high-salt diets might aggravate the symptoms of other problems in dogs like urinary stones or underlying heart or renal illness.

The majority of pre-packaged nuts are salted. Because salt promotes dehydration, you should always keep the quantity of salt you give your dog to a minimum. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take a lot of salted cashews to harm your pet. Toxic chemicals like garlic or onion powder are among them; these flavorings are normal for human consumption but can be harmful to dogs.

Another hazardous component to dogs is xylitol, which is a sugar replacement. If you’re sharing cashews with your dog, always go for raw, plain kinds, or choose an alternative dog-friendly treat.

The dog’s pancreas identifies xylitol as actual sugar and releases insulin to store it. Within 30 minutes of consuming it, the insulin eliminates natural sugar from circulation. This causes weakness, tremors, and even convulsions in severe cases in your dogs. In addition, ingestion of xylitol can cause liver failure (and death), and symptoms can take up to eight hours to appear.

Flavored cashews could harm your dog’s renal system too. A high-sodium diet upsets the salt balance, causing the kidneys to operate inefficiently and remove less water, leading to high blood pressure. Renal disease is caused by high salt levels, which place a lot of strain on the kidneys.

Lethargy, excessive drinking, frequent urination, and a loss of appetite are sometimes misdiagnosed as common canine illnesses that are easier to treat when in reality, the dog’s renal function is damaged. In addition, infections of the urinary tract, tick-borne diseases, pancreatitis, liver disease, and various other ailments can cause similar symptoms.

A High Fat Diet Can Cause Pancreatitis In Dogs

Cashews are filled with proteins and fats, which may lead to health issues in dogs. This is why it’s advised to give your dogs cashews in a limited amount. A high-fat diet can cause pancreatitis. This is a potentially life-threatening illness that needs prompt veterinary treatment.

Inflammation of the pancreas is known as pancreatitis. The pancreas is a long, flat gland in the upper belly behind the stomach. The pancreas generates digestive enzymes and hormones that govern how your body consumes sugar. In dogs, pancreatitis is an inflammatory response inside the pancreas that causes stomach discomfort, loss of appetite, and vomiting. An enzyme that is being activated prematurely causes inflammation in the pancreas. As a result, digestive enzymes are stored in their inactive forms. Since in pancreatitis the enzymes are activated before their use, they digest the gland itself.

Severe lethargy, abdominal discomfort, persistent vomiting, severe dehydration, collapse, and shock are all symptoms of acute pancreatitis in dogs. These symptoms might not occur immediately after feeding your dog cashews but due to the prolonged increase in fats in your dog’s diet. A dog with chronic pancreatitis is usually not as unwell as a dog with acute pancreatitis. Clinical signs include lethargy, reduced appetite to the point of not eating at all, vomiting, and abdominal discomfort.

The pancreas should be rested by withholding food and water for 24 hours and closely monitoring fat intake. A gastrointestinal-supportive low-fat or ultra-low-fat prescription diet can also help in the long-termed regulation of pancreatitis.

dog standing on a deck looking up at the camera

Cashews Infested by Mold Can Cause Toxicity in Dogs

Moldy food can be quite toxic to dogs. Therefore, you should try to keep them away from it. For example, cashews can develop mold on their surface due to moisture and contamination. If ingested, the mold produces mycotoxins, which are very toxic compounds. Mycotoxins come in various forms, but the most frequent are tremorgenic mycotoxins, which induce tremors and seizures in dogs who ingest them.

Other, less frequent mycotoxins, such as aflatoxins, can kill the cells in your dog’s liver. This leads to liver failure. Common symptoms of liver failure in dogs include lack of appetite, yellow staining of the whites of the eyes and other tissues, bloody vomiting, bloody diarrhea, dark and tarry diarrhea, fever, black urine, unusual bleeding, and bruises. Mycotoxin poisoning can be lethal in extreme circumstances. Aflatoxins can also induce immune system disruption, renal damage, cancer, and red blood cell destruction.

Mycotoxin poisoning in a dog is an emergency that necessitates prompt hospitalization and treatment.

Safe Ways To Feed Your Dogs Cashews

When consumed in significant quantities, the protein, fiber, and fats found in cashews might become problematic. This is true for both humans and dogs, but dogs have a far lower tolerance for excessive fats and proteins.

Avoid Salted Cashews

As a general rule, avoid salted cashews. The dogs’ stomachs aren’t built to handle a lot of sodium, so adding too much to their food can cause dehydration and gastrointestinal problems. So if you’re going to offer dogs cashews, stick to raw cashews and avoid any cashews with added flavorings and seasonings.

Make Sure To Use Small Quantities

Another crucial piece of advice is to give your dog cashews in small quantities. For overweight dogs, all that fat in cashews can make them even more overweight.

Things To Know When Feeding Cashew Butter

Most store-bought cashew butter will have other components added to it. Excessive salt, sugars, or oils should be looked out for. You may make your dog-safe cashew butter for your dog by mixing 1 cup unsalted cashews with a splash of honey in a food processor until smooth. But, once again, you’ll want to serve it in moderation.

a bowl of cashews behind a pile of cashews

Less Treats

In general, treats should not account for more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie consumption. Due to the high-calorie content of cashews (almost 10 calories per nut), less is more. This is especially significant if your dog is overweight or inactive. If your dog already has gastrointestinal problems or food allergies, you might want to stick to dog-friendly diets that aren’t quite as rich.

Look Out For Molds

Before feeding cashews to your dog, examine them for mold. Aflatoxin is a poisonous byproduct mainly generated by Aspergillus fungus. This is found in moldy food products. When consumed by dogs, aflatoxins can have several impacts. Many dogs die due to liver failure, despite rapid diagnosis and treatment.

Healthier Alternatives For Cashews For Your Dog

Although giving your dog cashews sometimes is okay, numerous healthy treat choices are equally as tasty and less hazardous.

Apples

According to the AKC, apples can supply vitamin C, fiber, and calcium. Chop up the apple, and remove the seeds and core before serving.

Blueberries

Blueberries are the ideal reward size for dogs of all sizes. According to the AKC, they’re high in antioxidants and vitamin C.

Carrots

Fruits are naturally delicious, so it’s no surprise that dogs enjoy them. What about veggies, though? According to the AKC, carrots are a healthy option because of their vitamin A and fiber content. Carrots, either raw or cooked, may be consumed by most dogs; however, chop raw carrots to avoid choking hazards. Carrots are a popular treat among puppies that are eager for new flavors. They’re not only delicious, but they’re also very healthy.

dog laying in the grass eating a treat

Peaches and Bananas

Peaches and bananas are abundant in vitamins, but they also contain a lot of sugar, so they should be consumed in moderation.

Watermelons

Consider giving your dog some juicy watermelon for a hydration boost on hot summer days. Before serving, make sure the seeds and rind are removed.

Other Options

Homemade dog biscuits prepared with whole wheat flour, eggs, peanut butter, and canned pumpkin are a delicious and risk-free way to satisfy your dog’s sweet tooth.

Final Thoughts

Cashews are fine for dogs to consume if they’re unsalted and not combined with other nuts. Even if cashews aren’t the healthiest option for a treat, eating them in little amounts regularly won’t hurt your dog. Consult your veterinarian if you notice any allergies after the consumption of cashews.

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