Pistachios are a tasty source of many vitamins and antioxidants that are beneficial to us. They’re convenient snacks that are loaded with nutrients for the human body and low on the calorie scale. Pistachios are packed with fiber, iron, potassium, and several vitamins. But just how nutritionally beneficial are pistachios to your furry companion?
As natural omnivores, dogs can (and will) eat just about anything. When we have our favorite snack and our dogs beg us for just a small sampling (or try to just snatch it away and run), how safe can we feel giving them our pistachios? The simple answer is, your dog can have pistachio nuts, but just like everything else, moderation is key. You should feel safe if your dog has a few pistachio nuts.
Feeding Pistachios to Your Dog
If you decide to give your dog a few pistachios, make sure you’re feeding them to your dog without the shell. We don’t eat it and neither should they. The shells are difficult to chew and even more difficult to swallow, leaving your dogs with nothing but a choking and obstruction hazard – especially for smaller breeds. Pistachios, like many nuts, have a high concentration of many things, including protein, fats, and vitamins. Some of these may be valuable supplements in your dog’s diet, and some may be detrimental to a dog’s health.
Potassium is an electrolyte that dogs need to carry out various functions in their bodies. Their muscles and heart depend on potassium to optimize the electric charges through their nerves. Without enough potassium, your dog may not have a lot of energy or any desire to eat at all. Pistachios happen to be a great source of potassium, and in small increments could be a possible supplement for your dog along with other foods in moderation.
Foods that are high in fiber help a dog’s digestive system. Without a proper source of fiber, dogs could suffer from constipation and other digestive issues. Pistachios have a good amount of fiber content that might aid a dog experiencing mild cases of constipation or diarrhea caused by a fiber deficiency.
Pistachios provide a good supply of vitamins, including vitamin B6. This vitamin in particular is essential for a dog’s brain development, heart functionality, growth, and overall health.
Dogs’ bodies are very good at digesting fat from healthy sources. It’s worth it to mention, however, that the high content of fat in pistachios could be enough to send a dog’s pancreas over the edge if eaten too much. The pancreas works hard to create
enzymes. These enzymes are carried into the small intestine which helps it break food down with ease. When the pancreas becomes inflamed, it will start to release those enzymes incorrectly and backfire into the pancreas itself. This inflammation is considered pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is potentially life-threatening and is a condition that requires immediate veterinary care. Depending on how quickly the condition is caught and catered to, a dog with pancreatitis could be facing supportive care, hospitalization, or death.
Protein Protein is a must-have for dogs’ health, and ours. Protein releases amino acids that aid in the development of strong muscles and healthy skin and fur. Pistachios have a high concentration of protein, however, which may involve risks if eaten too much or too often. Dogs are not able to easily digest the high content of protein found in pistachios. Instead, dogs can have meats, dairy, and egg products to achieve a better level of proteins. The inability to digest the high volume of protein in pistachios can lead to intestinal blockages, especially for small dog breeds.
If your dog gets into a bag of pistachios with the shells still intact, and you notice issues with their breathing, this could be caused by the pistachio shells. Pistachio shells have the potential to cause blockages in your dog’s throat. They can also become stuck in a dog’s digestive tract which may cause them to have severe tummy aches or worse. Each of these obstructions merits a veterinary visit.
What Can Your Dog Eat?
Our dogs deserve a treat now and then, so they know they’re the “goodest boy”. When snack time comes around, it’s wise to remember that there are some foods that they can’t enjoy without getting sick, and some table foods offer health benefits. Recall these healthier treats instead.
Many fruits can provide valuable dietary supplements for your dog along with balanced meals. Dogs can have apples, cantaloupe (and other melons, like watermelon), bananas, kiwis, mango, and oranges. Other fruits are healthy for dogs, including blueberries, cucumbers, and cranberries. Avoid raisins and grapes, however, as they can be highly toxic for dogs. Cherries are not considered safe either, because their pits and stems can become obstruction hazards. The same can be said for plums and peaches – plus their puts contain cyanide.
Not all nuts are toxic. Some nuts like macadamia nuts and walnuts are entirely toxic for dogs, and some nuts like almonds and cashews aren’t toxic, but dogs can have them only in small amounts. If your dog is whining for a snack, they can eat pistachios (without the shell), cashews, and peanuts just fine. Making your own butter will relieve the chance of choking, but it will still contain high volumes of fat. Regardless, it should only be consumed in small quantities, and should never be salted or seasoned.
Highly fragrant vegetables like garlic, onions, and leeks are extremely toxic to dogs. Instead, dogs can eat carrots, lettuce, bell peppers, kale, broccoli, and a few other vegetables. These can be great sources of fiber and vitamins which can benefit a dog. Many of these vegetables are only considered supplements to their balanced diet and shouldn’t substitute for their well-balanced meal plans.
Beans are still an excellent part of a dog’s healthy diet. They contain a valuable source of fiber and protein. Dogs can have pinto beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, soy beans, butter beans, and even green beans! Just like us humans, though, beans can make them gassy. To avoid an upset stomach, try not to feed them too many.
Dogs can eat seafood. They can have shellfish like crab and lobster, but they can only eat the meat, not the shells, legs, or tails. As for fin fish, they can eat tuna, salmon, sardines, and mackerel, but they cannot eat the bones without risking internal damage. Seafood needs to be completely cooked so they don’t get sick. Seafood has low fat levels and high digestible protein levels and is a great source of omega-3s. Seafood that contains lots of heavy metals, like swordfish and shark, is not the best choice of seafood for your dog.
Should we give our dogs fistfuls of pistachios or pour them into their food bowls as a meal? Not a good idea. They need a well-balanced diet enriched with all of the vitamins and minerals they deserve to develop and maintain a healthy standard of living. Nevertheless, a few pistachios when they give you “the face” won’t hurt if they’re unsalted, unseasoned, and unshelled and if they’re free from any allergies.