Almonds are among the healthiest of all tree nuts, full of vitamins and minerals that health guidelines recommend for humans. This includes vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, copper, phosphorus and vitamin B2 (riboflavin). Almonds are also a good source of fiber and protein, as well as the “good” form of fat, monounsaturated fat. Because they’re good for you, you may assume that they’re good for your canine companion, too. But are they really? Can dogs eat almonds?
The Possible Hazards for Dogs Eating Almonds
Many people rely on almonds as a source of protein, whether in place of meat in dishes such as stir-frys or in place of dairy in various almond milk products. This substitution, however, is unnecessary for dogs.
Several kinds of nuts are actually toxic for dogs, including walnuts and macadamia nuts. They can cause high fevers, tremors, vomiting, diarrhea, pancreatitis, and difficulty walking. While almonds are not considered toxic to dogs, they can still result in many of these symptoms, including stomach upset, loss of appetite, and lethargy. In some cases, chronic pancreatitis can lead to a fatal disorder. Always bring your dog to the vet if they experience any of these symptoms.
Almonds can also be a choking hazard for dogs, as they typically swallow them whole without chewing them. Their size makes them a perfect obstruction in the windpipe or esophagus of a dog – especially a small dog. Responsible dog owners should familiarize themselves with the Heimlich maneuver for canines in case of just such a choking episode.
An Unnecessary Snack
Many almonds on the market come highly salted, or in flavors such as smoky BBQ, that are not healthy for dogs. Excessive amounts of salt are especially harmful for dogs with heart disease, as the salt causes them to retain water. Dogs with congestive heart failure already typically retain too much water, and therefore need to be on low-salt diets.
There’s really no reason to feed almonds, or any other tree nuts, to your pup. Instead, be sure to keep a supply of healthy dog treats on hand. That way, you can reward them or just make their day a little more special without having to wonder whether the treat is safe for dogs. You should also consider getting a quote for pet insurance, so you know your beloved furry friend is protected in case they do get their paws (and tongue) on an almond or other possibly toxic snack.