Not only do we humans find cashews delicious, but we often hear from health experts that nuts are nutrient powerhouses, chock full of antioxidants, protein and essential fats. So when you're snacking on some cashews and your dog looks at you with those pleading eyes, you probably don't think twice about sharing some with her. After all, she eats peanut butter regularly, right? But are cashews as healthy for her as they are for you?
Cashews provide fiber and have nutrients beneficial to your furry friend. Cashews contain antioxidants and omega-6 fatty acids, which the ASPCA says that, in the correct balance with omega-3 fatty acids, help heal inflammation in the body. They also contribute to healthy skin and a soft, shiny coat. Cashews include calcium, copper, flavanols, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, vitamin K and zinc. Dogs benefit from all of these vitamins and minerals in moderate amounts.
Although cashews are lower in fat than most other nuts, they are still high in fat and calories. Too many calories and too much fat in your dog's diet causes unhealthy weight gain and increases her risk of developing pancreatitis, a painful inflammation of the pancreas. Cashews usually come salted, and too much sodium causes problems for dogs just like it does humans. Also, dogs can be allergic to nuts, and Cesar's Way warns that regular consumption of cashews can lead to bladder stones caused by the high phosphorus content. Some dogs also have a hard time digesting nuts, which can upset their digestive system.
So Yes or No to Cashews?
Cashews are OK for your dog to eat in moderation unless she is allergic or prone to pancreatitis or bladder stones. Consider that a 1-ounce serving of whole cashews, approximately 18 to 20 cashews, has about 160 calories, 13 grams of fat and 95 milligrams of sodium, according to FatSecret. If possible, give her unsalted or reduced-salt cashews to limit her sodium intake.
Nuts Dangerous to Dogs
Macadamia nuts and walnuts are toxic and should never be given to your dog. Macadamia nuts cause paralysis and seizures, and walnuts are poisonous. All other nuts are safe for your dog to eat provided she is not allergic and doesn't have any trouble digesting them.
By Jodi L. Hartley
Can I Give My Dog...?: Can I Give My Dog Cashews?
Cesar's Way: Dog Nutrition: A to Z
AllDogHealth: Can Dogs Eat Cashews?
ASPCA: Nutrients Your Dog Needs
Planters: Whole Deluxe Cashews Nutrition Information
About the Author
Jodi L. Hartley has been a writer and public relations professional since 1992. Her experience includes public relations and marketing for a pet service/retail business, as well as volunteer work with animal rescue organizations. Hartley holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and an M.B.A.