Can Dogs Eat Macadamia Nuts?
While chatting with a dog training client last week, the topic of macadamia nut poisoning in dogs popped up in our conversation. Macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs, but we could not remember exactly why this happens. After a bit of research, I think it’s important for all pet owners to be aware of macadamia nut poisoning in dogs and symptoms of toxicity.
Why are Macadamia Nuts Toxic to Dogs?
Interestingly, the cause of macadamia nut poisoning is unknown in dogs. One thing is clear: macadamia nuts are “associated with a nonfatal syndrome characterized by vomiting, ataxia, weakness, hyperthermia, and depression” (Merck Veterinary Manual, 2018).
With that said, it appears macadamia nuts can cause scary symptoms, which can easily mimic additional poisonous ingestions that are fatal. Even more interesting is these signs have only been reported in dogs.
Prevention is Best
Don’t give your dog macadamia nuts. In most cases, dogs only come into contact with macadamia nuts through humans, so ensure your entire family is aware of macadamia nut poisoning in dogs. Many human cookies and snacks contain macadamia nuts. Even if there’s a small amount of these nuts, avoid giving your dog a taste. Keep all snacks inside tightly closed cabinets. If your dog has learned to open cabinets, place the snacks on higher shelving.
Also, read dog treats and food labels carefully because you never know. If your dog ingests macadamia nuts, inform your veterinarian immediately on the amount eaten. Even better would be to bring the snack packaging with you when visiting the vet’s office.
Are Other Nuts Toxic to Dogs?
Nuts are high in fat, and can cause tummy issues if eaten in large amounts. Of course, nuts should be given sparingly to dogs watching their waistline. For larger nuts, break them into tiny pieces, so they’re easier to digest. If your dog likes nuts, place a broken up almond at the very bottom of a Kong for a nice surprise treat.
When in doubt, give your dog a spoonful of peanut butter instead of nuts.