Can My Dog Eat Cashews? Are There Any Health Risks?
Cashews are rich in nutrients and have great health benefits. People all over the world add cashews to various dishes or eat them on their own.
They are a very good source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. In short, cashews are very healthy for you.
However, are they good for your dog too? Can your dog eat cashews? Are they safe?
Let's find out.
Can you give your dog cashews?
Some human foods are healthy for your dog, and some are not. For example, many nuts, like walnuts and macadamia nuts, are toxic for dogs.
Cashews, on the other hand, are considered quite safe. However, moderation is key.
Giving cashews in small quantities can actually be beneficial for your canine friend.
Cashews contain omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids that keep their coats soft and shiny.
Besides protein, fiber, and fat, cashews also contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
They are a decent source of vitamin K, copper, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus.
However, cashews are also high in calories, so dog owners need to keep an eye on how much they feed their pets.
You can give it as an occasional snack but not daily. A single serving of cashews contains roughly 18 raw, unsalted cashews and has about 160 calories.
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, the calorific requirements of different dog breeds depending on their weight and size.
A 10-pound dog needs about 275 calories a day, while a 20-pound dog needs around 400. Larger dog breeds that weigh 50-pounds or above need about 900 calories a day.
Cashew nuts are calorie dense and have a high-fat content. If your dog is at a healthy weight, you can give your pup a few of these nuts to enjoy.
What are the health benefits of cashews for dogs?
Cashews are packed with nutrients and, and in small quantities, can be a healthy snack for your dog too.
They are a good source of vitamin K which promotes healthy bones and is necessary for blood coagulation.
Vitamin K has also been known to lower the risk of certain types of cancer in humans and dogs.
Cashew nuts also contain many essential minerals such as copper, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and zinc.
Calcium and phosphorus are necessary for healthy bones and teeth.
Calcium is also essential for nerve impulse transmission, constriction and dilation of nerve vessels, and muscle contraction.
It also plays a key role in maintaining the right hormone levels in your dog.
Magnesium is one of the main components of bones, enzymes, and intracellular fluids.
Iron is extremely important for maintaining hemoglobin levels for transporting oxygen throughout the body.
It is also necessary to strengthen the immune system of your dog.
Zinc promotes growth, and wound healing, and also strengthens the immune system.
Dogs that have a zinc deficiency tend to have more infections than others.
Copper is necessary for the development of red blood cells and to maintain the pigmentation of the hair and skin.
Suggested reading: Everything You Need to Know About a Pocket Bully
Can Your Dog Have an Allergic Reaction to Cashews?
If you notice swelling, itching, or hives, your dog may be experiencing an allergic reaction.
Other symptoms may include itchy ears, rashes, vomiting, or diarrhea.
In fact, your dog could have an allergic reaction to any new food, not just cashews. So pet owners should be careful.
There are a variety of packs available in the market that offer an assortment of nuts, including cashews.
You should never feed your dog from such a pack because some nuts can be extremely toxic.
Walnuts, macadamia nuts, almonds, pecans, and hickory nuts are toxic to dogs.
How should you feed cashews?
If you want to feed your dog cashews, it is best to pick the packaged and unsalted kinds. Raw cashews are fine and so are the roasted ones.
Ensure that you only give small amounts and do not feed them on a regular basis.
You should also avoid salt and other seasonings. Food items that have a high amount of fat or high salt content can be hard on your dog's stomach.
Never feed your dog cashews out of a trail mix pack because your dog could develop nut allergies.
Before you feed your dog, you should also inspect the nuts for mold.
Some molds may contain a toxin called aflatoxin that could cause an upset stomach or bowel obstruction in your dog.
In extreme toxicity cases, it may also cause liver failure. Mould may also contain tremorgenic mycotoxins that could cause neurotoxicity in dogs.
You should also avoid feeding your dog unshelled cashews because they can be a choking hazard.
The shells also contain a toxin called anacardic acid, which causes skin irritation and gastroenteritis.
Chocolate is also toxic for dogs, which means chocolate-covered cashews are also something that pet owners should avoid feeding their dogs.
Nut products sweetened with xylitol should also not be given because xylitol is also toxic to dogs.
Related Read: Can Dogs Eat Pork?
What are the dangers of feeding your dog cashews?
Although nut allergies are not very common in dogs, some dogs may be allergic to cashew nuts.
If your dog is allergic, even the smallest amount could cause mild to severe allergic reactions in your dog.
The signs of an allergic reaction may include lethargy, fever, vomiting, weakness, and an elevated heart rate.
Cashews, especially the unshelled ones, may also be a choking hazard for your dog.
Ingesting cashew shells may also lead to obstruction of the intestines in dogs.
The high-fat content and shells could also upset your dog's stomach, and your dog may suffer from diarrhea and vomiting.
Generally, small amounts of cashews when given occasionally do not cause any problems.
However, if you are feeding large quantities of cashews to your dog, it could cause many health problems down the road.
Pancreatitis is the painful swelling of the pancreas. Certain dog breeds are considered predisposed to developing pancreatitis, such as Cocker Spaniels, Miniature Schnauzers, and some terrier breeds.
If your dog is prone to pancreatitis, the high-fat content of cashews is a big concern.
That is because the body is unable to break down the fat since the pancreas is inflamed.
Ideally, you should avoid too much fat in the diet for dogs prone to pancreatitis.
The symptoms include pain in the abdomen, decreased appetite, persistent vomiting, and lethargy.
Your pet will need aggressive treatment if the disease is not diagnosed on time.
Food items high in calories have been linked to obesity. Cashews are also high in fat, so pet parents should be careful about how much they feed their dogs.
They are also high in calories. An ounce of these nuts contains about 160 calories.
Small dogs weighing 10-pound or so only need about 220 calories a day.
Cashews should never make up a significant portion of your dog's diet.
The occasional treat here and there is fine, and it can actually be beneficial.
Obesity increases the risk of other health problems for your dog, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and kidney disease.
Phosphorus is a necessary mineral for healthy bones.
However, if you feed your dog too many cashews, the excess phosphorus could harden inside your dog's bladder.
It could lead to painful bladder stones, which may require surgical removal by a veterinarian.
Can your dog have cashew butter and milk?
Your dog loves peanut butter. Since your pet has not had an adverse reaction to peanuts, is it okay to give it cashew butter? In small quantities, cashew butter and cashew milk are perfectly safe for your canine companion.
Of course, your pet should not be allergic to cashews in the first place.
Do you want to feed your dog store-bought cashew butter? In that case, ensure that you check the ingredient list carefully.
You want to make sure that it does not contain other types of nuts, such as macadamia nuts or hazelnuts.
You should also check for xylitol or chocolate because they are toxic for dogs.
Sweetened cashew milk or cashew butter is also not good for your dog.
If you want to give your furry friends a taste of cashew butter, consider making it at home.
However, if you want to introduce a new food to your dog's diet, it is always a good idea to consult your vet.
Your vet is the best person to let you know if you can feed your pooch cashews or similar foods.
Cashews, in moderation, can actually be a healthy snack option for your dog.
However, monitor your pet closely to ensure that they are not having an adverse reaction.
If you notice something is wrong with your dog after having cashews, take it to the vet immediately.
Related read: Can Dogs Eat Pistachios?
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