When you shake a handful of almonds into your palm for an afternoon snack, you might not think it’s a big deal if a few stray nuts fall onto the floor and your dog swoops in to gobble them up. They’re nutty by nature, and probably enjoy moonlighting as a vacuum anyway, right?
While almonds and other nuts contain beneficial nutrients for humans, they can pose a danger for dogs for a variety of reasons. So let’s get the bad news out of the way—no, dogs shouldn’t eat almonds. They’re not quite as toxic as, say, macadamia nuts, but the downsides really aren’t worth it.
Why Can’t Dogs Eat Almonds?
We understand if you’re saddened by this news. You might have envisioned viral videos of your dog catching almonds thrown from across the living room and now you have to settle for… blueberries? Why?
1. Almonds Are A Choking Hazard For Dogs
Have you noticed how your dog essentially inhales food without chewing? That’s because dogs’ digestive systems work a bit differently than ours, and the majority of the food breakdown occurs in the stomach rather than the mouth.
What this means for your pooch is that they are more likely to swallow the almond whole, which can potentially obstruct the esophagus and windpipe—especially in small breeds—and cause a life-threatening choking situation or GI obstruction. The last thing you want to do is perform the Heimlich maneuver on a chihuahua. Don’t risk it!
2. Almonds Are High In Fat
Almonds are fatty, which makes them a satisfying snack for humans, but it’s a bit too much for dogs to eat without unpleasant side effects.
Too much concentrated fat in a dog’s diet can increase their risk of developing pancreatitis, a dangerous, possibly fatal disease that requires the expertise of your veterinarian.
3. Beware Of Seasoned Or Flavored Almonds
If you enjoy your almonds roasted, salted, or seasoned, your dog should definitely not be eating them. Seasoned nuts are very high in sodium, which can lead to water retention and salt toxicity if eaten in excess, which is likely to occur if circumstances involve secretly pilfering the can of nuts from the pantry.
The dangers of water retention and salt toxicity are magnified for dogs with heart diseases, so keep a sharp eye on your nut storage if your dog is diagnosed with any comorbidities.
4. Almonds Can Cause Tummy Aches
Sure, your dog might love the taste of almonds, but their stomachs hate digesting them. Given that almonds are super fatty and sodium-rich, they can cause uncomfortable and even dangerous GI distress. Symptoms can include:
- Stomach discomfort
What If My Dog Eats Almonds?
If your dog only gets their snout into a couple almonds, they’re most likely fine. Give your vet a call so they can factor in your dog’s size, breed, and medical history to advise accordingly, and follow their instructions. Most importantly, keep a lid on your nut jar and don’t let them sneak any more!
If, however, your pup breaks into the pantry and devours an entire jar of salted or flavored almonds, call the vet immediately. Your dog could be at risk of sodium toxicity and could require IV fluids to combat salt-induced dehydration. If not too much time has passed since your dog did the nutty deed, your vet will most likely try to induce vomiting to purge their stomach.
Now that you know to cross almonds off the shopping list, check out this article to learn if dogs can eat blueberries!
This article has been reviewed by Margo Hennet, DVM.
Margo Hennet, DVM, cVMA, and veterinarian at BARK is a canine nutrition, health, & wellness connoisseur. She has a combined 10 years of experience in clinical medicine, research, and education—that’s 70 dog years of know-how—and graduated from Colorado State University as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. She completed specialized training in internal medicine prior to working as a general practitioner in Colorado, has authored peer-reviewed publications and textbook chapters, holds certification in veterinary medical acupuncture, and is a member of the American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition and American Veterinary Medical Association.