Some dogs love nuts. If you're one of those dogs and you're reading this, I have bad news, unfortunately. There are several types of nut you shouldn't eat, and walnuts are one of them.
Why are walnuts toxic?
While technically not poisonous to dogs, walnuts can be the cause of major gastrointestinal issues. They can cause everything from gastric intestinal upset (a fancy term for an upset stomach) to stomach blockages, which are quite serious. Walnuts take a long time for dogs' stomachs to break down, which is why they can lead to blockages.
In addition, walnuts are easy to choke on. If you're a dog owner or if you have even a vague idea of what a dog is, you probably know that dogs tend to scarf their food down. There's a risk that your dog won't properly chew a walnut before swallowing it, which makes walnuts a serious choking hazard.
Plus, all nuts contain high levels of fat, and can lead to stomachaches for dogs, so it's best to avoid them.
What to do if your dog eats a walnut
If your dog accidentally ingests a small number of walnuts, keep an eye on them, but don't panic. Like many other nuts, walnuts aren't super good for dogs, but a very small amount probably won't harm them. If they ingest a large number of walnuts, appear to have them caught in their throat, or have stomach problems after consuming them, call your veterinarian immediately.
Additionally, if your dog consumes a moldy walnut (or any other type of moldy nut), call your vet. Moldy walnuts and other moldy nuts can contain tremorgenic mycotoxins, which can cause seizures in dogs.
There's no real benefit to giving your dog walnuts, and they come with a lot of risk. It's best to avoid giving your dog walnuts, as well as most other nuts.
Remember, if you ever have concerns about your dog's diet, or questions about introducing a new food, always contact your veterinarian.