Nuts are always touted as a healthy snack for humans, but dogs don't have the same dietary needs as humans. While these nuts are a tasty addition to snack mixes and desserts for humans, they aren't a good choice for dogs. Unfortunately, you can't explain this to your canine companion, who will gobble down plenty of things if given the chance, whether they're good for him or not.
A bag of pecans might seem like your dog's new best friend, but it may not prove to be one after all. That's because these nuts can make your dog sick if he eats a large number of them.
Can dogs have pecans or walnuts?
Generally, your dog should not eat pecans or walnuts. Both types of nuts contain a toxin called juglone, which may be harmful to dogs in large quantities. This chemical is found in all plant species of the Juglandaceae family, including both walnuts and pecans.
Just like other nuts, pecans also contain a high level of fat. Not only does the extra fat show on her doggie waistline and put an extra burden on her joints but large quantities of nuts can cause gastrointestinal upset, including diarrhea and vomiting. Furthermore, if your dog eats lots of fatty foods, like nuts, she runs the risk of developing an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis.
The dangers of moldy pecans
Mold doesn't just grow in the shower. It can also get into the shell of a pecan and grow on the nut inside. When these types of nuts become damp, they can grow aspergillus fungi, a very dangerous type of mold that produces harmful aflatoxins. They can also grow other types of fungi that produce poisonous mycotoxins.
If mold has started to grow on the pecan, it can cause your pup to become ill, causing rapid breathing, hyperthermia, increased urination, and dilated pupils. It can even lead to tremors, seizures, and convulsions. Bring your dog to the vet immediately if you notice changes in his behavior or demeanor.
Dangers of salted pecans
Dogs shouldn't eat large amounts of salty foods. If your dog has gotten into of bag of salty nuts, this may cause some problems. That's because eating salty foods may cause excessive thirst or urination, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, depression, elevated temperature, or seizures. It can even lead to sodium ion poisoning or possibly death in large amounts.
Are pecan shells toxic to dogs?
If you pooch gulps down a pecan in its shell, it can pose a choking hazard or an intestinal blockage. Immediately put your fingers in his mouth to see if you can remove the shell. If you can't get it out, give a sharp rap to the dog's chest to dislodge the object. Most importantly, get your dog to the vet quickly for further treatment.
In the case of an intestinal blockage, your pooch may start to act a bit off, showing signs such as vomiting, lethargy, or appetite loss. If you notice anything unusual, contact your vet or emergency veterinarian clinic for advice.
Can pecan pie hurt dogs?
Pecan pie may be a staple of holiday desserts, but it should never be on the menu for your dog. Not only are the pecans in the pie potentially harmful to your dog but the sugar content isn't good for her either. Plus, if you are serving a sugar-free pecan pie, it could contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is very toxic to dogs.
What if my dog ate one pecan?
If your dog eats one pecan nut, it's not going to kill him. As long as he doesn't eat the whole shell or an entire bag of nuts and as long as they're not salted or moldy, he should be all right.
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Emergency Care for Your Pet
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets
- American Kennel Club: Can Dogs Eat Nuts?
- Dogster: Which Nuts Are Safe for Dogs to Eat and Which Are Toxic?
- The Labrador Site: Can Dogs Eat Pecans?
- Colorado State University Guide to Poisonous Plants: Black Walnut
- Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association: Clinical Signs Associated With Ingestion of Black Walnut Tree (Juglans nigra) Wood, Nuts, and Hulls in Dogs: 93 Cases (2001–2012)