Can Dogs Eat Almonds?
It's no secret that dogs love to eat—especially when their favorite human is eating, too. If your dog begs to share your snack, it can be hard to know what is and is not safe to share with your pet. What about the bowl of almonds you're snacking on? While a few almonds are generally not a cause to panic, you should avoid giving them to your dog.
Are Almonds Good or Bad for Dogs?
"Almonds are actually not toxic to dogs, at least the common 'sweet' almonds," says Nikki Graham, DVM from Nottingham Animal Hospital in Hamilton, N.J. "But bitter almonds are toxic to pets and contain cyanide," she says. However, bitter almonds are not commonly sold in the United States and, if they are, are usually clearly marked on the package as the bitter variety. So, the almonds in your house are likely sweet almonds, which, while not toxic, can be harmful if your dog eats more than one or two.
The Dangers of Feeding Your Dog Almonds
If your dog eats more than a couple of almonds, Graham says, they can experience gastrointestinal upset and vomiting, or even an intestinal blockage. However, the almond itself isn't the only thing that can pose a problem.
Almonds are small nuts, and dogs don't typically chew their food in the same way that humans do, says Graham, so it's possible that a dog, especially a small dog, can choke on an almond.
Heavy Salt Content
Many almonds are flavored with spices and salt (or even chocolate), which can be harmful to your dog if ingested. Salt, probably the most common seasoning on packaged almonds, can lead to water retention or even salt toxicity if consumed in a large quantity.
According to Graham, the high fat content in almonds can cause or worsen pancreatitis. Additionally, eating too many almonds can result in refusing to eat the rest of their usual meal, which can throw off the balance of your dog's diet, resulting in weight gain and overall worse health.
What To Do if Your Dog Eats Almonds
If your dog has eaten just a few unflavored almonds, especially if they're a larger dog, you shouldn't panic. Graham says to keep a careful eye on your dog for signs of choking, gagging, or vomiting just in case, and to call your veterinarian if these occur.
However, says Graham, if your dog has gotten into a whole bag of almonds, or if the almonds are covered in spices or chocolate, you should call your veterinarian, take your dog to a local emergency veterinary hospital, or call a pet poison control hotline like the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
It's better to be safe than sorry, and seeking immediate care can greatly improve your dog's recovery and outcome.
Can Dogs Have Almond Butter or Almond Milk?
So, almonds are not the best choice to give to your dog, but what about almond butter or almond milk? It turns out that these are not great dog snacks, either. Almond butter and almond milk are both high in fat, which can cause or worsen pancreatitis.
Additionally, Graham says, almond butter and milk can contain additives that can be dangerous for dogs. One of the more common harmful additives to keep an eye out for is xylitol, which acts as a sweetener in products and is highly toxic to dogs. If your dog does eat something with xylitol in it, Graham says to take them to an emergency veterinarian immediately to prevent hypoglycemia and liver failure.