Pet Wellness Guides > Can My Dog Eat Pecans? - Pet Insurance Review

Can My Dog Eat Pecans?

Posted: 10/31/2023 | BY: Jenna Bruce | Categories: Dog , Health problems , Top Tips

Can my dog eat pecans? It’s a question a lot of veterinarians hear. While these tasty tree nuts can make for a nutritious protein-rich snack for people, they aren’t the ideal treat for your pup. Pecans contain a toxin that can make your dog very sick and even damage their neurological system. Keep reading to learn more about why your dog should not eat pecans.

Key Points

  • Pecans are not a good treat option for dogs.
  • Pecans can pose a choking hazard.
  • Pecans contain phytochemicals that are toxic to dogs. They also sometimes have a mold on the shells that can be toxic to dogs.
  • Pecans contain a lot of fat, which can be problematic for dogs, especially those with a history of pancreatitis or who have had their gallbladder removed.

can my dog eat pecans?

Are Pecans Safe for Dogs?

Here are some reasons why it’s not a good idea to feed your dog pecans:

Toxic Risk

Pecans contain a toxin called juglone that can be harmful to dogs (and horses) If ingested in high amounts. If ingested, your dog may experience gastric upset as well as vomiting and/or diarrhea. If your pup happens to snatch one or two pecans that have accidentally fallen on the floor, it’s likely they will not experience any adverse symptoms. But it is definitely not advised that your pup eat a lot of these nuts.

Mold Risk

Pecans are one of those nuts that are pretty susceptible to mold, much like walnuts. This mold contains something called “tremorgenic mycotoxins,” which are harmful substances produced by certain types of molds. Should your dog consume these toxins it can result in tremors, seizures, and even neurological damage. 

And finally, pecans may also contain another natural poison called aflatoxin, which is produced from another mold that grows on pecans known as Aspergillus. Dogs suffering from aflatoxin poisoning may experience sluggishness, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice (a yellowish tint to their gums, skin and eyes caused by liver damage), diarrhea and unexplained bruising or bleeding.

Now you may be wondering, for good reason, why it’s ok for humans to ingest all of this stuff. Why don’t we get sick from ingesting the molds and toxins sometimes found on pecans? It comes down to the difference in digestive systems. The GI systems of our pups just aren’t built to handle these kidneys of pathogens. Conversely, if you’ve ever had the displeasure of seeing your dog gnawing on a chipmunk or squirrel that has clearly been dead for a few days, you know they didn’t get sick. But if we eat meat that has been left on the counter overnight, we may experience GI upset.

Choking Hazard

Because of their size, pecans can be a choking hazard if eaten whole. Their size and texture can also cause a life-threatening intestinal blockage, particularly in small breed dogs, that can require emergency surgery.

Pancreatitis

Like other nuts, pecans are high in fat. Eating too many could lead to the development of serious conditions like acute pancreatitis or gastroenteritis, both of which may require hospitalization.

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What to Do if Your Dog Eats Pecans

As we mentioned earlier, should your dog quickly scarf down a pecan or two that fell on the floor when you were baking, it’s no reason to become too alarmed. Simply keep your eye on them and watch for any signs of illness. 

If your dog has gotten into a bag of pecans and eaten a large amount (a handful or more),  call your vet right away. If they are closed, call the closest emergency veterinary clinic. 

Immediate symptoms to look out for include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased urination

Depending on how many pecans your dog ate, her size, age, and overall health, these symptoms could last for only a few hours or, in more serious cases, the vomiting and diarrhea will not let up and become even more intense. In these instances you’ll need to get your pup to the vet ASAP, as their condition can become fatal if left untreated.

Are Other Nuts Safe to Give Your Dog?

Most vets will tell you to refrain from feeding your pup any nuts. Certain varieties like peanuts (okay it’s technically a legume) and almonds may be considered “less harmful,” yet they can still pose a choking hazard, cause GI distress and potentially result in an intestinal blockage. In addition, most nuts contain harmful additives like salt and other flavorings. 

Nuts you should absolutely NEVER give your dog as they are considered very toxic to dogs are:

  • Macadamia 
  • Hickory nuts
  • Black Walnuts
  • Pistachios

What About Peanut Butter for Dogs?

Since they are technically a legume and not a nut, you might think it’s okay to give your peanut butter. Any pup parents know dogs go nuts for peanut butter. But is it actually safe to feed your dog?

Peanuts, and peanut butter, are very high in fat. While a little as a treat once in a while or to hide a pill in is fine, don’t make a habit of feeding your pup a lot of peanut butter, as they could pack on the pounds or develop pancreatitis.

It’s also important to mention that you should only give your dog peanut butter that does not contain any added sugar or salt. Also be absolutely certain it does not contain a sugar substitute called xylitol. This is HIGHLY toxic to dogs and can lead to death if ingested.

Final Thoughts

Can my dog eat pecans? No. While pecans can be a perfectly delicious and safe nut for humans to eat, they can be incredibly toxic to dogs. Should your dog snag one or two, there is most likely nothing to worry about. But if they eat a handful or more, call your vet immediately and monitor your pup for illness.

Because the Unexpected Can Happen in the Blink of an Eye

One minute your dog is fine and the next, they’ve gotten into your pantry and eaten something they shouldn’t. And now they are very ill and you’re scared. These are the moments no pup parent wants to experience. But they happen all too frequently.

Did you know that 1 out of 3 pets will require emergency veterinary care at some point in their life? Are you financially prepared should an emergency occur?

Pet insurance can help you offset the costs of veterinary care. When you’re faced with a bill for thousands of dollars, it’s nice to have someone pay a big chunk of it on your behalf.

If you’ve been thinking about pet insurance but weren’t sure which provider is the right fit for you, here are the top providers based on reviews from pet parents just like you:

 

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References:

 

https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-pecans

 

https://www.thesprucepets.com/can-dogs-eat-pecans-4844512

 

Disclaimer

The information contained on this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's health care or treatment plan.

The authors of this blog are not veterinarians and do not claim to be experts in pet health. The information provided here is based on our own experiences and research, as well as information from reputable sources. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.

We encourage you to do your own research and consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about your pet's health.

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