Can Dogs Eat Pistachios?
August 12th, 2022
Who doesn’t remember going out to the ice cream parlor for a scoop of pistachio ice cream?
Or perhaps they’ve become your favourite treat, right after finishing your workout, because of their rich nutrients?
The piney freshness of the nut is something many people have enjoyed. If you’re a pet parent, you might be wondering – can dogs eat pistachios?
If you are, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll answer all the important questions such as:
- Can dogs eat pistachio nuts?
- How many pistachios can dogs eat?
- Do dogs get sick if they eat too many pistachios?
- How can pet parents feed pistachios safely to their pets?
So, let’s get into this.
Can I Feed My Dog Pistachios?
Can dogs eat pistachios? Yes, they can.
Giving your pets pistachio nuts in small quantities can be a great way to boost their health.
As with other nuts, pistachios should never completely replace the food your adult dog or puppy regularly eats.
You can add a few pistachios to the meal or substitute a portion of their meal with pistachios.
Pistachios: They Are Safe For Dogs
Now you might be thinking – okay, pistachios can be consumed by pets.
But can dogs eat pistachios safely? How safe are pistachios? Are they toxic in any way?
Well, pistachios aren’t inherently poisonous to dogs. That’s why they can munch on a few of them occasionally.
But, since they aren’t a natural diet for your pooch, eating too many can give them a tummy ache or diarrhea.
However, if compared to other nuts, pistachios come at the top of the list of safe nuts to give your dog.
It’s important to remember that how you feed pistachios is as important as how many.
Let’s explore this in a few different ways.
Raw vs cooked
When you want to give your dogs some of these green or yellow treats, don’t ever give them raw.
Some studies show that raw pistachios can sometimes be contaminated with Penicillium spp. and Aspergillus, which are two types of fungi.
Other studies indicate that there is a high concentration of Aflatoxin, a group of toxins produced by fungi strains called Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus, which can be carcinogenic in dogs and humans alike.
Even as little as 50 parts per billion of Aflatoxin can be particularly bad for your pet.
Any of these fungi may cause your pet to fall ill, leading to symptoms like:
- Loss of appetite
- Yellow tint in the eyes and gums
- Liver damage
So, give your dog some pistachios. Just make sure you boil them or dry roast them before feeding.
With shell vs without shell
Some pet parents also wonder what they need to do with the shells.
Can dogs eat pistachio shells if they are roasted or boiled? The answer is No.
Just think about it. Do you eat pistachio shells (even if they are boiled or roasted)?
No, you don’t. That’s because the shells can get lodged in the throat, becoming a choking hazard.
If eaten, the shells can cause digestive problems, by not getting properly digested.
This can increase the risk of symptoms like:
- Loss of energy
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal cramps and pain
- Intestinal obstruction
So, feed your dog pistachio nuts that have been removed from their shells and which have been boiled or roasted.
Salted vs unsalted and flavored vs plain
Now, you may also have a question pertaining to flavor - can dogs eat flavored pistachios? Can dogs eat salted pistachios?
It’s best if you stick to unsalted and unflavored pistachios.
That’s because artificial flavorings often contain chemicals to retain the flavor of the pistachios and to keep the nuts from spoiling.
These chemicals may become toxic for your dog.
Similarly, salted pistachios contain very high levels of sodium, which can cause in your pet symptoms like:
- Muscle tremors
- Uncoordinated mobility
You’ll need to get your dog to drink lots of water to reduce the salt levels in his/her body.
Having a portable pup drink bottle can be very handy in these circumstances.
In severe cases, there may even be fluid accumulation because of the excess salt and this can lead to damage to your fur baby’s brain, kidneys, heart and blood vessels.
If your dog is unwell as it is or suffers from a condition that makes him/her more vulnerable to salt toxicity or fluid retention, it could be very bad for your pet’s long-term health.
Ultimately, the best pistachios for your dogs are nuts that have been de-shelled, boiled/roasted and completely plain with zero salt/flavor.
Related Read: Can Dogs Eat Pork?
Nutrition Is the Key
Now that you know that pistachios can be eaten by dogs, the question is why?
What benefits does your fur baby get if he/she eats a couple of pistachio nuts each week?
Pistachios are incredibly nutritious and your pooch can benefit greatly from the vitamins and minerals you get from this delicious nut.
In fact, they are a great way to supplement any missing nutrients in your pet.
For one, pistachios are rich in protein and fiber, which can be very filling for your pet.
If you have a tendency to be too generous with dog food servings, consider giving your pet one pistachio or two in his meal a few times a week.
The pistachio nut satiates your pet faster and encourages the growth of a healthy microbiome in your gut, which in turn facilitates digestion.
Pistachios are known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease – and this is true both for people and pets.
This nut also contains a lot of potassium, which acts as an electrolyte for your pet. It can be particularly helpful in refuelling and strengthening your dog’s muscles, joints and nerves, particularly after you’ve taken her for a run or a hike.
Pistachio nuts also contain unsaturated fatty acids, which reduce inflammation and provide antioxidants that protect your fur baby’s body from free radicals.
The fat found in pistachios is actually unsaturated, which keeps your pooch’s cholesterol and blood pressure under control.
Plus, these nuts have been found to have insulin-lowering and glucose-lowering effects, which can be very helpful in keeping your dog safe and healthy.
If you feed your furry friend pistachio nuts the right way, you’ll see that they are much healthier and more energetic than before.
How Often Can Dogs Have Pistachios?
Ideally, it is better to give your dog pistachios once or twice a week.
Give them only 2-3 pistachios during each serving. This will ensure that your pet gets all the incredible health benefits of these nuts, without compromising their safety and wellbeing.
Plus, when you restrict the number of pistachios and how frequently they eat them, you have the opportunity to introduce other nuts and food which are equally important to their diet.
This can create a well-balanced meal for your dog, helping him/her get all the vitamins and minerals he/she needs to thrive.
How Do Dogs Get Pistachios Poisoning?
While it’s true that pistachios aren’t inherently dangerous to pooches, these nuts can cause adverse health effects if improperly consumed.
Pistachio poisoning is a very real threat to dogs that are fed unprocessed or incorrectly processed pistachios.
Nuts which are stored in the wrong container or at the wrong temperature can develop mould, which can be toxic when ingested.
Eating too many pistachios (anything above 3 pistachio nuts, more than 1-2 times a week is high) can cause gastrointestinal issues in your dog.
Apart from this, there is a huge risk of pancreatitis and even the risk of obesity in puppies and adult dogs.
The symptoms we notice when pets eat raw or salted pistachios or nuts in their shells are prime examples of pistachio poisoning.
In addition to those symptoms, you may also notice other signs of poisoning, such as:
- Discoloured urine (usually orange)
- Greasy stools
- Problems with breathing
- Heart arrhythmias
- Intense fevers
- Sudden weight loss or weight gain
Too many pistachio nuts can increase the phosphorus content in your dog to dangerous levels, which can make your pet vulnerable to bladder stones.
Some of these stones can be so big, that you may need to take your pet to the vet, for surgery.
Even if the stones are small enough to break apart and pass out of your dog’s system, it can be a very painful experience for your pet.
Keeping track of these listed symptoms can help you identify when your furry friend could use a helping hand.
In saying all this, it's very crucial to remember that if you feed your dog pistachio nuts in the right way – de-shelled, cooked, plain, and in controlled quantities – you should ideally never face the problem of pistachio poisoning.
Here Are Some Other Nuts For Dogs
So, now you have the answer to your question – can dogs eat pistachios?
What other nuts can your pooch munch on? Well, your fur baby can eat any of the following nuts – in moderation, of course:
- Pine nuts
Nuts can be a very wonderful addition to your dog’s diet, and they can make their meals more wholesome and nutritious.
They are also part of our list of safe food that dogs can eat.
Now that you know all about feeding dogs pistachio nuts, what other fascinating facts do you want to know?
If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at our post on the 10 Frequently Asked Questions About Dogs.
This post contains lots of incredible insights about dogs and everything they need.
Take a look and have a great time raising your beloved fur baby.
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