Can Dogs Eat Pistachios? Read Before You Feed

The answer to this question is two-fold, so yes . . . and no.

Yes, dogs can eat pistachios because they are not toxic to them.

But because they are very high in fats, and also contain molds that put your dog at risk of liver failure, they’re not recommended either.

Nuts generally give dogs an upset stomach and can lead to many more digestive issues.

In addition to all that, they can be a choking hazard.

Fat is not bad, but it has been known to cause pancreatitis in dogs.

In moderation, however, it can be healthy.

What we are trying to say is that pistachios, given in small quantities are not bad for dogs.

You must, however, note the keyword here – small quantities. If you give your dog too many, they may adversely affect his health. Let’s go over the benefits and drawbacks.

Health benefits of pistachios

Health benefits of pistachios 2

Nuts are considered to be highly nutritional and filled with Omega 3 fatty acids.

They also contain potassium, calcium, and Vitamin C.

On top of this they contain the daily allowed allowance of Vitamin B.

What is pistachio poisoning?

Now, pistachios are not toxic, we have already established this, and feeding your dog one or two at a time will not directly affect them.

In case your dog ingests too many, the canine system is actually not able to properly digest all of the proteins contained in nuts.

If eaten in large quantities, it can cause obesity, pancreatitis, and gastrointestinal disorders.

Pistachio also harbors Aspergillus mold and dogs are susceptible to the aflatoxin produced by the mold. Exposure to this is what we call pistachio poisoning and it can cause serious consequences to your precious poodle.

Signs and symptoms of pistachio poisoning

If you see any of the following symptoms, your dog may have ingested too many pistachio nuts.

For a dog that has eaten too many nuts:

  • Dehydration
  • Greasy appearing stools
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting.

Signs of pancreatitis:

  • Dehydration
  • Depression
  • Difficulty Diarrhea
  • breathing
  • Fever
  • Lack of appetite
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Lethargy
  • Orange urine
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Vomiting.

Signs of poisoning from Aspergillus aflatoxin mold:

  • Jaundice
  • Liver failure
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite.

Now, the Aspergillus mold is not only found in the pistachio nuts, but it can also be found in several plants such as hay, corn, and also wheat.

So, if you have any of these in your home, you must be very careful when it comes to exposure to your dog.

In some cases, animals will ingest this toxin and pass it on to other animals. There are no animal species that is immune to this toxin.

Causes of pistachio poisoning

Although pistachios aren’t dangerous, they can cause other dangers to your dog if you’re not careful. Let’s take a look at them below.

Salt

The pistachios that humans love to snack on will have some added salt and other types of seasonings in order to make them tasty.

The salt increases water retention in dogs, which also increases the possibility of kidney failure.

This is very dangerous if your dog suffers from kidney failure.

Aflatoxin

The aflatoxin is caused by the mold Aspergillus.  This is mildly toxic to humans, but in dogs, it is quite bad. Trace amounts of the mold can also be found in almonds, walnuts and also Brazil nuts.

High levels of phosphorus.

Nuts have high phosphorus content that can easily cause gall bladder stones.

Choking hazard

Dogs don’t chew food like humans, and as such most products can be a choking hazard. This pistachio nut is quite hard, and this combined with its size makes it quite dangerous.

It is also sold in its shell, and this means that the dog will need to break it. It can break in several uneven pieces, which increase the chances of puncturing the esophagus and other intestinal parts.

Pancreatitis

They are very high in fat, and this is the main cause of pancreatitis. It is a very painful disorder that can considerably shorten your canine’s life.

Diagnosis of pistachio poisoning

Once you identify the symptoms associated with this poisoning, you must take your dog to the vet immediately. The vet will require a medical history of your dog, and he will conduct a general examination.

A chemistry profile will be required and then after that, a blood count will be done. The urine, vomit, and stool will be tested so they can expose the underlying diseases in your dog or the existence of the aflatoxin.

A preliminary diagnosis will be made based on the information collected and prompt treatment will follow immediately afterward.

Now, if he needs to do further testing, this will depend on the symptoms the dog is exhibiting. If the dog shows any signs of dehydration of damage to the esophagus, then an ultrasound and x-ray of the chest and throat area will be required.

This will help to see if there is any tearing of the esophagus and if there is an enlargement of the dog’s heart. This may also reveal enlargement of the pancreas and fluid accumulation.

Treatment of pistachio poisoned dogs

The course of treatment will depend on how the pistachio has affected your dog. Immediate treatment will include IV fluids for dehydration, and other medications will also be prescribed in order to alleviate specific symptoms.

The medications will include; anti-nausea, antibiotics, and pain management drugs. These can be given either through an intramuscular injection or intravenously.

Aflatoxin brings the great danger of damage to the liver and therefore the doctor will prescribe hepatoprotection and vitamin K supplements.

Other frequently asked questions:

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Resources

[1] “Can Dogs Eat Pistachios? A Potential Digestive Nightmare for Dogs.” Smart Dog Owners. Last modified August 11, 2018. https://smartdogowners.com/pistachios/.

[2] “Can My Dog Eat Pistachios?” The Dog People by Rover.com. Last modified May 29, 2018. https://www.rover.com/blog/can-my-dog-eat-pistachios/.

[3] “Nuts Dangers to Dogs.” Pet Insurance | Nationwide is America’s Best Pet Insurance. Accessed January 26, 2019. https://www.petinsurance.com/healthzone/pet-articles/pet-health-toxins/Nut-Dangers-to-Dogs.aspx?extcmp=smd-ebiz-PR0001-hambone.

[4] Meadows, Austin. “Can Dogs Eat Pistachios As A Snack?” The Labrador Site. Last modified August 13, 2018. https://www.thelabradorsite.com/can-dogs-eat-pistachios/.

[5] Peña, Melvin. “Can Dogs Eat Nuts? Find Out Which Nuts Are Safe? And Which Aren’t.” Dogster. Last modified November 5, 2018. https://www.dogster.com/dog-health-care/can-dogs-eat-nuts.

About the Author

Dog Nutrition

Dog Nutrition

The Dog Nutrition team is here to help you navigate the stormy ocean waters that are the dog products industry. With over 10+ years experience in dealing with dog products and caring dog owners, we look beneath the surface to uncover hidden features, deals, and some of the most popular, best selling and highest reviewed dog products you can purchase.

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