Can Dogs Eat Almonds?
Man’s best friend will eat just about anything a man will. We humans add a little more discretion to our meal plans, and most of us know what our bodies can and can’t handle. How can we be sure our dogs are eating the right food products that won’t harm them? For example, almonds are a vitamin-rich source of protein and fiber in humans. For the human body, almonds can help lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight. They improve our bone strength, gut health, and our sugar content. Being that they’re packed with so many beneficial nutrients for humans, it’s natural to assume we can give Fido a handful when they get to begging. Problem is, this could be harmful to your furry friend.
Why Almonds Are Bad for Dogs
Most nuts cause gastrointestinal afflictions in dogs that can be very painful and deadly. Dogs can have very small amounts of unsalted, unseasoned peanuts from time to time, which explains why many of us are ok with our dogs eating peanut butter as a treat or incentive to take medicine. But this is a smooth, buttery food source from a nut that isn’t toxic to dogs.
Likewise, processing almonds into almond butter may provide better digestive qualities to your dog. However, just as too much peanut butter can still be a problem, so can almond butter. Almond milk can be looked at in the same way. It’s much less “almondy” since it’s so diluted, but other ingredients could still be harmful to them.
Dogs will not benefit from it nutritionally, and there are so many other delicious treats that are much healthier for your companion. Almonds alone aren’t necessarily toxic to dogs, but they can pose a choking hazard, water retention, and tummy aches.
The protein provided in almonds isn’t easily digested in dogs. Dogs can have chicken and lamb to offer them an optimized level of proteins best suited for their digestive system. The inability to digest the high protein volume in almonds can cause intestinal blockages, especially in smaller breeds.
While dogs are very efficient in digesting fats, the amount of high fat in a single almond can cause their pancreas to work overtime. The pancreas works hard to produce enzymes that help the rest of the digestive tract break down food. When the pancreas becomes inflamed, it begins releasing these enzymes within itself instead of the small intestine, and it essentially starts to digest itself. This is called pancreatitis, and depending on when the ailment is caught, it could mean supportive care, hospitalization, or death for your pup.
Seasoned almonds could be another hazard to dogs. Depending on the flavor of the seasoning, the dog could be extremely averted to it. For example, onions can cause red blood cell damage and depletion in dogs, thus providing toxic qualities that should be avoided in all forms. Therefore, ingesting flavored almonds such as sour cream and onion could cause serious toxicity.
A dog lover knows as well as anybody that many of our fur babies “inhale” their food instead of taking the time to chew. Small breeds of dogs could be in danger of choking when they eat an almond without breaking it down. Other than blocking the windpipe and esophagus, the almond could become lodged in the intestines which will need surgery to correct.
Salted almonds, if consumed in high amounts, can cause water retention and toxicity in dogs. Their cells increase the amount of fluid allowed in the body to compensate for the high volume of sodium. As a result, their bellies will appear to be enlarged, and after prolonged ingestion of salted almonds, they could be gaining a substantial amount of weight.
Almonds are known carriers of Aspergillus flavus which is a mold that contains aflatoxins. If a pet’s food contains these aflatoxins, the overall accumulation and consistent consumption will poison them. Aflatoxins do not have an antidote, so if the toxin is caught in time, treatment would just involve removing it from their diet and starting them on a healthier one. They could survive this poisoning if caught early on, however, the long-term ramifications could manifest as liver damage.
If Your Dog Consumes Almonds, This Is What You Should Do
Firstly, don’t panic. If there isn’t a nut allergy present, one or two almonds should not be fatal. The first step is to watch intently for signs of choking and other obstructions. If you’ve noticed your dog has eaten a whole bag by himself, it may be wise to call the veterinary clinic for professional advice.
Otherwise, keep a close eye on possible poisoning symptoms, like vomiting, diarrhea, apathy, loss of appetite, and general discomfort. If they exhibit any of these signs, take them to the vet or animal hospital immediately. In the future, pay close attention to where you place your snacks to prevent your dog from getting curious.
What Can Your Dog Eat?
We want our pets to be happy and healthy. When they start begging for our food when we enjoy our snacks, keep in mind there are some foods that they can’t enjoy. Try opting for one of these treats instead.
Not all nuts are toxic, and some are just a little safer to eat. Dogs can eat pistachios and peanuts safely. They still contain high volumes of fat, so they should only be consumed in small quantities.
Many fruits are considered great supplements to your dog’s diet. For example, dogs can have apples, bananas, cantaloupe, pineapple, strawberries, and watermelon to name a few. Some other fruits are considered quite healthy for dogs, including blueberries and cucumbers. Contrarily, raisins and grapes should be avoided, and they tend to not enjoy acidic fruits.
Aromatic vegetables like onions and garlic are toxic for dogs. Instead, dogs can eat carrots, broccoli, green beans, broccoli, kale, spinach, and a few other vegetables. These vegetables are great sources of vitamins and fiber, but many of them are still considered supplements to their balanced diet.
While beans cannot replace meat in a dog’s diet like they can for humans, some beans are still an excellent source of fiber and protein for dogs. Dogs can have beans in the variety of pinto, black, kidney, garbanzo, lima, soy, and butter. Embarrassingly so, beans can make them gassy. As such, try not to feed them too many.
Dogs can eat seafood if the animal doesn’t have high mercury content, if you feed your dog the meat, and not the shells or bones, and if the meat is thoroughly cooked. Shrimp, crab, lobster, scallops, tuna, salmon, sardines, and mackerel contain low levels of fat, high levels of digestible protein, and are an ideal source of omega-3s.
With a big world of healthy, digestible foods and treats out there for your dog to eat, it’s a great idea to pay attention to what their diet consists of. They have different digestive needs than we do. Some things we find delicious are considered dangerous and toxic for them to consume. Almonds happen to be one of those foods we should watch. No matter how much they beg, try to avoid giving them your almonds.
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