If you’re a pet owner, chances are you’ve wondered, “Can dogs eat pistachios?” It’s recommended that you do not let your dog consume pistachio nuts. It can cause problems such as digestive distress or kidney stones. And there is the potential for more serious conditions like pancreatitis. Proper management of your fur baby’s nutrition is the key to keeping him healthy and active. Keep reading to find out the dangers of feeding your dog pistachios.
To avoid pistachio poisoning this guide will help you learn more about the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment, recovery, management, and the Cost to take care of your pet.
Can Dogs Eat Pistachios?
A good sign that you care about your dog’s health is that you’re browsing articles and blogs to get advice on what human foods can be safe for your four legged child. You want to avoid the nightmare of giving her food that could cause her to get sick. Despite the fact that dogs’ digestive systems have evolved through thousands of years from that of their close relatives the wolf, there are still plenty of human foods that can be toxic.
For humans, pistachios can provide numerous health benefits. They’re a great source of protein, fiber, and antioxidants. As well as being a good fat. For dogs, pistachios can lead to numerous health problems. Some which may require veterinary care, which can cost a lot of money, between treatments, medications, recovery, and follow up. For this reason, it’s better to avoid allowing your dog to eat pistachios; especially for an extended period of time.
What’s Wrong with Dogs Eating Pistachios?
Pistachios are high in fat. One ounce of pistachios contains 156 calories. If your dog has a weight problem, pistachios would definitely not be a good option for them to snack on. Even if your canine has a healthy weight, too many pistachios can change that. Obesity causes a variety of medical problems for dogs, including diabetes and stress on their hearts.
Any type of nut can cause a canine to experience digestive distress. Pistachios are no exception. Many dogs get an upset stomach from nuts. Symptoms include:
- Orange urine
- Greasy stools
If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to stop feeding your four legged child pistachios, or any other type of nuts. Ignoring these symptoms and continuing to give pistachios to your dog can lead to more serious conditions like pancreatitis, liver damage, contact dermatitis, or bladder stones. If you notice more severe symptoms, it’s important to get her to a vet for diagnosis as soon as you can. These severe symptoms are:
- Difficulty breathing
- Heart arrhythmias
- Lack of appetite
- Orange urine
- Severe abdominal pain
- Swollen abdomen
- Weight loss
What Makes Pistachios Bad for Dogs to Eat?
It may seem weird that a tiny nut that is so good for you can be so bad for your dog. But dogs digest things differently than humans. And their bodies are not capable of converting all the same vitamins and nutrients from human foods. Not to mention that there are things we are immune to that our dogs aren’t. This can often lead our dogs to develop medical conditions that could affect their quality of life.
That’s why it’s recommended to ensure your dog is getting a healthy, well balanced diet – full of foods that are safe for him. This means excluding pistachios, and a lot of other nuts, from his meals and snacks. The best option is to limit your dog’s diet to ingredients that are made specifically for dogs, including his food and treats.
Be sure to keep the kitty food from him if you’re a dual pet owner. Cat food can be highly dangerous to your pooch over time. If you do plan to feed your dog human foods, there are plenty of ingredients you can use to make him homemade treats. Check out some of our other guides to see what ingredients are safe to include; and which to avoid, such as pistachios.
Pistachios Can Have Mold, Which isn’t Safe For Dogs
A lot of <cite>pistachios have a type of mold called Aspergillus</cite> (MA Doster, TJ Michailides – Phytopathology, 1994 – apsnet.org). This comes from being improperly harvested or stored. The nut will usually still be safe for humans to consume, as long as the shell is closed. However, if you find a pistachio nut that’s already opened, it’s a good idea to throw that one away.
Dogs, however, are much more vulnerable to these toxins. The mold that grows on pistachio shells creates a chemical called aflatoxin, which can damage your dog’s liver. Signs that your pooch may be suffering from aflatoxin poisoning are:
- Liver failure
- Loss of appetite
Pistachios Can Cause Allergic Reactions in Some Dogs
In general, most dogs are not allergic to nuts. This includes pistachios. However, that doesn’t mean this is the case for every dog. If you have a pet that already has some type of food allergies, you certainly want to avoid letting her eat any type of nuts, including pistachios. This type of nut, which is actually classified as a fruit, excretes oil called urushiol.
This oil can cause an allergic reaction called contact dermatitis. Signs to watch out for include a skin rash that appears on your dog’s face and around his mouth. Too many pistachios can also lead to pistachio poisoning. If not treated, this can lead to bladder stones, liver or kidney failure and pancreatitis. Pancreatitis can also develop due to consuming pistachios over a long period of time. If your dog already has pancreatitis, it is important to exclude pistachios from her diet completely.
Pistachio Shells are Difficult for Dogs to Digest
Pistachio shells can be difficult for dogs to digest. These shells can break into sharp, tiny pieces which can lead to a choking obstruction in their esophagus or digestive tract. And because they are not easily digestible, this means the shell will travel throughout your dog’s entire internal organs, in the same hard form as it was when swallowed.
You could put your dog at risk of having the sharp shell cause rips in their intestinal tract, which frequently requires surgery. Not to mention the discomfort your pet will feel when it comes time to pass the shell through their poop. For small breeds, this could be extremely uncomfortable; and possibly dangerous. Your pet could end up passing blood with their feces due to punctures or tears from the sharp pieces.
Pistachio Nuts Contain Phosphorus
In small amounts, phosphorous is safe for your canine. In fact, it is a necessary nutrient for healthy kidney function. Phosphorus also helps with muscle contractions, which are vital for an active pup. It’s an ingredient you frequently see in your dog’s store bought dog food. As well as in pistachios, which have a high phosphorus content.
There’s a saying that you can never have too much of a good thing. This does not apply to your dog’s diet. Too much phosphorus can be dangerous for your pet. It’s believed that too much phosphorus can cause bladder stones. Bladder stones can lead to urinary tract infections and blockages. They are also caused by calcium, magnesium, ammonia, and carbonates. Severe bladder stones can lead to your dog experiencing:
- Intense pain
- Acute kidney failure
- Bacterial infection
- Death if not properly treated
Pistachio Nuts Contain Salt
When you pick up a bag of pistachios from the store, chances are you don’t look at the salt content. Why would you? Salt is what makes nuts taste so good. Have you ever tried eating unsalted peanuts, sunflower seeds, or pistachio? The amount of salt won’t be a problem for you, as long as you’re consuming your snack in moderation. But it can be a big problem for your pooch.
Salt is an ingredient that most experts advise to keep away from your dogs. Too much sodium can cause water retention, which can cause injury to kidneys. This is true for canines and humans alike. For dogs with heart problems, having too much sodium can cause severe health problems. Dogs can also suffer from sodium ion poisoning if they consume too much salt.
Protect Your Dog from the Dangers of Pistachios
So, can dogs eat pistachio? Now you know the various risks associated with pistachios, hopefully you’ll decide to keep them out of your pet’s diet. It can be difficult to consume a snack while your dog is staring at you with big, pleading eyes but resist the temptation. You are an adult and you have to protect your dog from himself. We all know that dogs are willing to eat anything that comes near their mouths.
A safe alternative to pistachios is to give your pup some sunflower seeds or peanuts. Granted they do not have a nut allergy. Snacks like these are great for hikes or training purposes. If you are going to substitute with either of these, some of the same rules you’d use with pistachios do apply. Make sure these products are salt free and shelled. Limit the quantity your dog is given. A handful won’t hurt but don’t give your pets a whole bag of them; even the snack size. And as always, watch for any signs of an adverse reaction.
Article # pr0001-aspx-smd-ebiz-extcmp- Updated 2019/2020
Kassidy Shepperd is the editor in chief for Canine-Prime.com. She is is a dog lover/trainer, a freelance writer and a volunteer at many pet rescue and shelter centers. Kassidy is based in Colorado and regularly writes for dog related magazines and blogs.