The cashew is one of the most commonly consumed nuts by humans around the world. Either by themselves or part of a mix, it makes an excellent snack with other nuts that provide some decent nutrients as well. While they are generally considered a healthy nut for humans, not everyone is quite sure about dogs.
Before sharing a bite with a pet, it is essential to research the cashew. Is this nut one of the healthy ones, or should they be avoided entirely?
Can dogs eat cashews?
Cashews do not have toxins like a lot of other nuts, so that makes them safe in small servings for dogs. However, most people end up keeping cashews away from their dogs simply because they can cause some complications pretty quickly. It is essential to pay attention early on to see if the dog has any allergic reactions.
How a dog processes a cashew
Cashews are a popular nut option with humans because they are high and healthy fats, and high in protein. They provide the right amount of vitamins and minerals and are considered a healthy snack compared to a lot of alternatives.
The high fat in the cashew is perhaps the biggest reason why they do not necessarily mesh with a dog’s regular diet. Canines can only consume a certain amount of fats each day, and too much will potentially create issues such as pancreatitis.
In the early stages, pancreatitis might not seem like much more than a little bit of vomit and diarrhea. However, if not appropriately treated, the condition can worsen and become life-threatening in some extreme instances. It takes a lot of cashews to get to that point, but older dogs or dogs with existing health issues could become more vulnerable.
Dogs that end up snacking on a lot of fatty foods also run the risk of gaining weight rather quickly. If a dog starts putting on pounds, they become more at risk for other health issues as a byproduct.
Cashews: guilty by association
The average human usually consumes cashews as part of a mix, not by themselves. What this means is that one handful could have a variety of different nuts in them, and some are more harmful to dogs than others.
Humans need to shy away from not knowing what nuts they are eating around their dog. Some are more lethal than others, and dogs are naturally curious whenever there is food around. The cashews themselves might be fine, but if mixed heavily with other nuts, they might have some of those same issues.
What should a person do if their dog eats too many cashews?
If a dog decides to have a feast on cashews, it can look like an absolute disaster. Fortunately, it is probably not going to be too bad for the dog, but it is still essential to get everything under control early and keep an eye on the dog to see how their body reacts.
Dogs that feast on foods they are not used to tend to feel pretty sick shortly after. Make sure that if they vomit or suffer from diarrhea, there is no blood or weird colors present. When this happens, it could be a sign that they are dealing with a pretty significant illness from the cashews.
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Seeking out help from a veterinarian is always a smart decision if there are any doubts. Cashews are not nearly as dangerous as other nuts, but a veterinarian will at least provide some peace of mind if the dog is not acting as they should.
Try to take inventory on just how many cashews they consume, in case they do have any problems. A lot of dogs will start feasting if they have the opportunity, and knowing an approximate number to tell a veterinarian can be beneficial in taking the next steps.
Can a dog choke on cashews?
Any nut is a potential choking hazard, and the odd shape of cashews can be particularly problematic for dogs. It is well-known that dogs do not correctly chew up their food as much as they should, and smaller dogs, in particular, run the risk of choking on cashews.
Another way that dogs could potentially choke on cashews is if they have access to a lot of them at once. They may try to eat too many quickly, and they can get lodged in the throat.
Smaller dogs are more vulnerable when it comes to choking on cashews, but be aware of any breed if they start to have breathing problems. Cashews are not nearly as bad as some other nuts out there, especially ones usually shipped still in shells, but it is still a risk.
What is the best way to keep dogs away from cashews?
Dogs are naturally curious about anything edible, so eating cashews in front of them is going to make it very hard for them not to try. The important thing is to monitor them if they do try one or two cashews and put them away in some container that seals up completely.
Put them out of reach in a high area to reduce the temptation of trying to sneak some at a later time. This way, there is a reduced chance of coming home to a lot of half-eaten cashews on the floor.
What is the best way to prepare cashews for dogs?
Cashews generally come with at least some salt on them, and maybe other types of seasoning to give them a unique taste. The best cashews for dogs are going to be raw and natural. Salt on cashews can make a dog feel very dehydrated right away.
Dogs that might have trouble with harder nuts can also have cashews grind it up or mixed with other foods. This is a great way to control portions as well, as dogs are generally going to eat less in this way. Cashews add a little bit of crunch to a typical dog meal, which gives them a bit more variation.
What is a good portion of cashews for dogs?
If a dog wants to snack on a few cashews, it should be just fine. Please do not give them too many, or the risk of having some complications. Many people will take it cautiously in the beginning, maybe letting them taste one or two at max.
Never treat cashews like an actual meal, but more of a small snack. They are never going to be a meal replacement by any stretch of the imagination, as it would be a quick way to make a dog feel bad.
What is the worst that can happen to dogs with cashews? Can they pass away from eating them?
Even if dogs rip into cashews and eat a lot of them in one sitting, it is probably only going to make them sick temporarily. There is no doubt this is good news for any owner who comes home and sees that their dog found a way to access these nuts.
The only risk of death would be if the dog is severely allergic to cashews, or they have complications from consuming way too much fat in one sitting. This goes beyond just swelling up and developing hives while eating the nuts. The chance of an allergic reaction to nuts is pretty low for dogs, and most owners already know that they have no problems at an early age.
If cashews are a problem, what nuts work best for dogs?
Perhaps the best overall option for dogs that is readily available in most homes is peanuts. They are not the perfect snack, but they have very few problems with dogs consuming them. As long as they are mostly salt-free, it is a decent snack for dogs as a bit of a reward.
Hazelnuts and chestnuts are two other options that most people will turn to if they want to give the dog something from this food group. Seeds are another alternative, as they offer a lot of the same nutrients. They are usually a little healthier for dogs, although people should stay away from most fruit seeds since they have toxins that affect dogs in them.
A typical diet for a dog does not necessarily require nuts, so do not feel like it is entirely necessary to go that route. They can get the same nutrients from their dog food.
So, are cashews safe for dogs?
As long as an owner does not make it a significant habit to feed the dog cashews, it is okay for them to have one or two. They are not the most dangerous nut out there, but it is usually not worth the trouble. Dogs will always be naturally curious whenever they have food in front of them, but it seems pointless to get them craving a nut that they can’t enjoy too much. There are some minor benefits, but cashews are a nut option worth passing on to keep dogs safe when they are hungry for a snack.
Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.