Can Dogs Eat Pistachios?
It's no secret our furry friends love to get a sniff of what we're eating. Heck, they might even try to get a taste! (And often succeed.)
If you fancy nuts, particularly pistachios, you know they're generally healthy snacks for us humans. But can dogs eat pistachios, too?
Whether your curious canine has gotten into your pistachio stash or you're hoping to share a pack, we have some good news: your pooch can eat them since they're not toxic to dogs. But the question of should your dog eat pistachios depends on how many you feed and how you go about feeding them.
Are Pistachios Good or Bad for Dogs?
Like other nuts—with the exception of macadamia nuts which are toxic for dogs—pistachios can be a nutritious and scrumptious snack for your pup. But there are a few things to be mindful of before you start filling Fido's bowl with the little green nuts.
First, the benefits of pistachios. Aside from being absolutely delicious, pistachios are packed with nutrients your dog is sure to benefit from, such as:
- Protein (for building muscle)
- Antioxidants (for eye health)
- Unsaturated fats (the good kind, for heart health)
- Fiber (for digestive health)
- Potassium (for bone and cardiovascular health)
While these are certainly advantages to sharing pistachios with your four-legged friend, they're not a picture-perfect food for a few reasons.
First and foremost, the culprits that make these green cashews so darn tasty—the amount of calories (and therefore, fat). According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a single pistachio contains four calories, which can add up quickly and impact your dog's health if frequently given.
Too much fat in your dog's diet can lead to diseases, like gastrointestinal upset and pancreatitis. Dogs with pancreatitis may experience:
Something else to watch out for is aflatoxin poisoning. Aflatoxins are toxins naturally produced by particular molds that can grow in foods like nuts, corn, and other grains, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Signs of aflatoxin poisoning include:
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained bruising or bleeding
So, while pistachios aren't toxic themselves, the conditions in which they're kept can potentially be harmful to your pet.
RELATED: Can Dogs Eat Peanuts?
How to Feed Your Dog Pistachio Nuts Safely
Got a pup who's a pistachio nut? Fortunately, there are a few ways you can safely share this protein-packed snack without causing them harm.
If you'd like to give Fido a few pistachio nuts, it's important that they're unsalted and as plain as can be. Like humans, too much salt can pose problems for our pups—specifically salt toxicity.
When feeding pistachios, remove the shells or buy no-shell pistachios to avoid them altogether. Not only are pistachios shells a choking hazard for your dog, but they can also cause gastrointestinal obstruction.
Pistachio Ice Cream
If your canine companion loves sweet treats, it's in his best interest to skip sharing a scoop of pistachio ice cream—even if he flashes you those adorable puppy eyes!
"Pistachios are not toxic to dogs, but ice cream contains dairy, which is one of the most common sources of allergies we see in dogs and can easily cause gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea and vomiting," says Yui Shapard, DVM, and educational director at Association of Asian Veterinary Medical Professionals. "So, we don't condone giving dogs ice cream (or any dairy) in general."
How Many Pistachios Can Dogs Eat at a Time?
"How many pistachios they can eat largely depends on the size of the dog, but I wouldn't recommend more than a few per day since they are fairly heavy in calorie density," Shapard says. "Getting dogs used to eating non-dog food can lead to obesity and aversion for well-balanced commercial diets. If it's given as an alternative to a typical high-value treat for training purposes, then I see no harm in it at all."
Other Healthy Snacks for Dogs
Although pistachios are technically safe for dogs to eat and do have their nutritional benefits, they can easily become junk food. When it comes to snacks, experts generally recommend the "10 percent rule," where no more than 10 percent of your dog's snacks come from treats. Fortunately, there are treats out there that are both healthy and yummy for your beloved pal to enjoy!
Below are a few veggies that make pawsome treats for your pup:
Consult with your veterinarian to see which veggies may be best to incorporate into your dog's diet. Assuming a certain veggie is a good fit for your dog—and he loves it, of course!—cut each veggie into small pieces and remove any part that may be hard on the stomach for a totally safe feeding/eating experience.