Many different types of nuts, including macadamia nuts, are toxic to dogs and should be kept away from your pet dog. No amount of macadamia is considered safe for your canine to consume. If your dog has eaten a macadamia nut or any food that contains macadamia nuts, your first phone call needs to be to your veterinarian.
Macadamia nut information
Macadamia nuts are also known as Australia nuts or Queensland nuts. The scientific name for the macadamia nut is Macadamia integrifolia and they are part of the Proteaceae family of plants. While macadamias are known to make dogs ill, no one knows precisely why the nuts are toxic or how the toxicity works. What is known is that dogs have shown notable signs of illness after being fed relatively small amounts of macadamia nut.
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Symptoms of macadamia nut poisoning
If your dog has eaten macadamia nuts, you can expect symptoms of illness to develop within approximately 12 hours. Dogs who are suffering from macadamia nut poisoning will be weak and depressed. They may vomit, suffer from a lack of coordination that is formally known as ataxia, develop hyperthermia, and can develop tremors. In some cases, dogs may also develop pancreatitis from the macadamia oil in the nuts.
Working with your veterinarian
If you notice your dog is displaying any of these symptoms and you have reason to believe that he may have ingested macadamia nuts or any other potentially toxic food, you need to call Pet Poison Helpline, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, or get him to the veterinarian immediately.
Your veterinarian will want to know how many macadamia nuts your dog has consumed as well. She will want to know if your dog ate an actual nut or if he consumed a baked good that contained macadamia nuts as one of the ingredients.
Other toxic ingredients
It is especially important to tell your veterinarian if the macadamia nuts were consumed along with other potentially toxic substances. For example, it is not uncommon for nuts to be dipped in chocolate or combined with chocolate in baked goods and treats and chocolate is also toxic to dogs. Other problematic foods include grapes, raisins, citrus, and xylitol.
While many other nuts, such as pecans, and walnuts aren't toxic, they do contain a lot of oil which can cause vomiting and pancreatitis. Your veterinarian will need to take all information into account when he is assessing your dog's illness and determining the right type of treatment to help your pet.
Treatment and prognosis
The good news about macadamia nut poisoning is that it isn't normally fatal. Most dogs will recover within 12 to 48 hours if they are given supportive veterinary care. Supportive care may involve fluids as well as pain medications and fever reducers.
For dogs that ingest a large number of nuts, your vet may administer activated charcoal or induce vomiting. Be sure to follow all care instructions that your veterinarian gives you to ensure that your pet has the best possible chance of a complete recovery.
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Macadamia Nut
- VetWest Animal Hospitals: Macadamia Nut Poisoning In Dogs
- Pet Poison Helpline: Macadamia Nuts
- Merck Veterinary Manual: Macadamia Nut Toxicosis in Dogs
- Pet Poison Helpline: Emergency Instructions
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Animal Poison Control Center