Although it is not the most popular nut out there, many people enjoy snacking on pistachios from time to time. Whether they are by themselves, or part of a trail mix, it has a unique type of flavor loved by many. They might be tedious to crack open, but they have a unique taste to them that works by itself, or even in ice cream.
While pistachios are perfectly fine for the vast majority of humans, are dogs able to snack on them as well? Whether a dog intentionally eats them or ends up sneaking into a bag, a lot of people end up having this question.
Can dogs eat pistachios?
Dogs can technically eat pistachios, but it is not considered a recommended snack. There are no toxins that are harmful to dogs in the nut, but they have too many negatives to recommend them over other nut options out there. If they do eat a few pistachios, they should be fine, but keep an eye on them for any unhealthy warning signs.
How does a dog process pistachios?
Pistachios are very similar to other nuts out there as far as an impact on dogs. Some nutrients, such as protein, can be beneficial for their health. However, there are significant reasons to avoid pistachios.
Perhaps the biggest problem for dogs is the fact that pistachios are high in fat. Even though this is considered a healthy fat, the nuts can cause an upset stomach after consuming too many. In extreme cases, they can also cause more severe health issues such as pancreatitis.
The shells of pistachios are also pretty tricky for dogs, so keep them away from pets at all costs. Since dogs cannot open these shells, they can end up being a pretty severe choking hazard for them.
What is the proper amount of pistachios for dogs?
Pistachio should be extremely limited to dogs, even if they are begging for them. Limit them to just a few, and make sure that they are already out of the shell. Be extra cautious the very first time, as some dogs have faster reactions to a lot of fat in the diet than others.
If covered with salt or any other type of coating, scrape it off as much as possible. Too much sodium further complicates the digestive process for dogs when they have nuts in their system.
People who have any reservations with their dog should stay on the side of caution, and never introduce the nut to them. Most experts say this is especially true if they have had health issues in the past. Those dogs more prone to health issues from foods in the past are more likely to struggle with pistachios.
How can an owner make pistachios safer?
Pistachios have a few negatives working against them, but owners can make it a little safer for their dog to enjoy the snack if they insist on giving it to them.
The first step is pretty simple, as humans must do it to consume pistachios properly as well. Opening the shells before giving it to them is a must, as dogs tend to jump right in and eat them with the shell. Dogs are not aware of just how much damage swallowing pistachio shells can do. It is painful going down and can be painful when it leaves the body later on.
Another step in the process is to try removing as much salt as possible from the pistachios. Sodium can cause some mild poisoning with dogs and hurts them from a nutritional standpoint. Their body is going to struggle with retaining water, so pistachios are even worse for dogs during hot days. They do not have the same attraction to salty foods as humans, so taking the salt off as much as possible can be beneficial without sacrificing taste to them. With or without salt, they will consume pistachios if presented with one.
What is pistachio poisoning? Can dogs get pistachio poisoning?
The pistachio is part of the cashew family, which means that they do run the risk of causing poisoning in humans, as well as dogs. Dogs are a little more prone to this issue, especially if there are any traces of Aspergillus mold.
If a dog is starting to act differently after consuming pistachios, make sure to monitor the situation closely. They might have a mild upset stomach, but other symptoms could mean they have something a little more dangerous.
Pistachio poisoning warning signs include excessive vomiting, orange-colored urine, general laziness, loss of appetite, and jaundice. A veterinarian will be able to check out every dog and see what is going on, even during the early stages.
The dog just ate a lot of pistachios. What should an owner do?
Dog owners can be meticulous about keeping pistachios out of reach, but dogs are very resourceful if they can find out where food is. If a dog has consumed a decent amount of pistachios, it is crucial to take action sooner rather than later.
First, examine the dog and how they are currently acting. If a person is gone for a while and come back to pistachios finished off, it might be challenging to estimate how long they have been in the system. They may already be showing warning signs that they are getting sick, and that is when to contact the veterinarian right away.
If the dog is currently doing alright, this is when it is time to take a look at the pistachios themselves. How old are the pistachios, and in what state were they in out of the bag? Specifically, look to see if there is any mold because that could increase the risk of complications. Pistachios that are still in the shell are going to cause more of a threat, as there is just one more thing that can go wrong inside the dog’s stomach.
Some of the early symptoms are pretty generic, like sleepiness, vomiting, and diarrhea, but it shows that something is wrong almost right away. It is better to take extra precautions and go to the veterinarian early, instead of letting it turn into something worse. When in doubt, get them checked out and try to give them as many details as possible.
What are some tips to keep dogs safe from pistachios?
Hiding food from dogs is easier said than done, and they are usually resourceful enough to get what they want if it is somewhat close. Taking a few extra steps will reduce the risk of issues popping up.
The first step is to make sure that they are sealed off and put in a safe place. Please do not leave any nuts out around dogs, or they will quickly disappear. Sometimes, a resealable bag is not good enough, so using a sturdier, sealable option might be the way to go. Feel free to put pistachios in a reusable storage container and refill it when necessary.
The higher the problematic foods are for dogs off the ground, the less likely they are to get into them. Most dogs are not capable of climbing up on the counters and into cabinets. Stay diligent with putting everything away after eating, and everything will usually be fine.
What nuts are better options for dogs compared to pistachios?
Generally speaking, no nut is considered a fantastic snack option for dogs. However, it is easier said than done to keep them away from the food, so owners will eventually give in at times.
Peanuts out of the shell, cashews, hazelnuts, and chestnuts are considered much safest options for dog owners. They all are more comfortable to eat without any shell in the way, and relatively easy for dogs to chew up before swallowing. They still have high levels of fat, but not to the same extreme as other options out there.
Nuts should always be treated more as a snack than a meal. They usually are not part of a dog’s diet in most cases, and they can get most of the nutrients they need from other sources. Along with nuts, seeds provide similar nutritional value as well.
So, are pistachios safe for dogs?
It is fine to allow a dog to indulge in a few pistachios here and there, but only under supervision. With all that said, there are better nuts out there that probably make a lot more sense overall. There are just too many risks involved with allowing dogs to snack on pistachios, and there is always a chance that they overindulge.
Make sure to monitor their intake at all times, and to hide any pistachios that are in the kitchen. Coming home to a dog who broke into the pistachios and had as many as they wanted could end up causing many different health issues no owner wants to handle.
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.