Dogs should not eat pistachios. Although pistachios do not have harmful toxins, the high-fat content of pistachios can cause many health issues in dogs, such as pancreatitis and high blood pressure.
Read on to discover more reasons why pistachios are not the best choice to be given to your dog as a treat.
Are pistachios safe for dogs to eat?
Are pistachios ok for dogs? The answer is no. Pistachios are rich in calcium, folate, iron, selenium, vitamin E, and zinc. However, feeding your dog pistachios is a bad idea. They are not exactly the safest snacks for your furry friend.
1. Choking Hazard
The tough exterior of unshelled pistachios makes it hard for canines to chew. If dogs eat pistachios unshelled, they could easily get stuck in their throat and cause choking. Intestinal obstruction may also occur if they manage to swallow unshelled pistachios.
2. Urushiol Oil
Another reason to avoid feeding your dog pistachios is that these nuts contain a natural chemical called urushiol oil. It is fast-acting and gets absorbed quickly through the skin.
If your furry friend comes into contact with urushiol oil in pistachios, he may experience a painful skin rash that often appears around the face and mouth. The condition may worsen if he frequently scratches these rashes.
Aflatoxin is a by-product of molds called Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. These Aspergillus molds grow on crops such as corn, cottonseeds, and pistachios.
Aflatoxin that is found in pistachios is a carcinogenic compound that is poisonous to both dogs and humans. Note that dogs are more vulnerable to this toxin than humans.
Symptoms of Aflatoxin
If dogs eat pistachios contaminated with Aspergillus molds in large amounts, they are at risk of dangerous side effects. These include digestive problems, stunted growth, and acute liver damage.
In case your furry friend accidentally ingested moldy pistachios, watch out for the following symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning:
- Appetite loss
- Lack of energy
- Orange-colored urine
Diagnosis of Aflatoxin
Bring your dog to the vet right away if he exhibits these signs. Your dog will undergo some tests to determine the cause of these symptoms.
In general, they will perform a physical examination and chemistry profiling. Here are other exams the vet may require your furry friend to take:
- Complete blood count (CBC)
- X-ray or radiograph
- Urine, stool, and vomitus tests
Treatment of Aflatoxin
If your dog ate pistachios and started to get dehydrated due to aflatoxin toxicity, the vet will give him IV fluids. Medications will then be prescribed according to the symptoms that he is having.
This may include antibiotics, painkillers, or anti-nausea medications. In addition, hepatoprotectants and vitamin K treatments will be recommended if he has liver damage.
Pancreatitis may also occur during aflatoxin poisoning. If your dog suffers from this condition, the vet will recommend making certain changes in his diet.
His dog food should be low in fat and protein but high in fiber to alleviate the swelling of his pancreas. Supplements may be prescribed as well to ease stomach pains.
Once your dog recovers from aflatoxin toxicity, he may need a follow-up examination to check if his liver is functioning properly.
Can dogs have pistachios as treats?
No, it is not recommended. Pistachios are very high in fat and calories. For example, 1 cup of pistachios contains about 56 grams of fat, four times the required grams for a 15-kilo dog. Meanwhile, an ounce of pistachios has 150 calories.
Feeding your dog pistachios in large amounts can cause digestive issues such as diarrhea and upset stomach. Because of high-fat content, eating pistachios can lead to health issues such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and pancreatitis.
Can dogs eat pistachio shells?
Pistachio shells are dangerous for dogs to eat as they are choking hazards. Small dog breeds, puppies, and geriatric dogs are more prone to choking.
Moreover, the tough exterior of unshelled pistachio makes it hard for dogs to chew. The shell of the pistachio breaks into small pieces when chewed, which can get stuck in your furry friend’s gums, esophagus, and intestines.
The pistachio’s tough shell also makes it difficult to pass through the gastrointestinal tract. This exposes your furry friend to the risk of digestive issues. When ingested in large amounts, they can even cause life-threatening intestinal obstruction.
How many pistachios can dogs eat?
If your dog accidentally ingests 1–2 pistachios, it does not merit immediate concern. But be sure to closely monitor him in case he shows sudden physical and health changes.
However, consuming even small amounts of pistachios may trigger allergic reactions in some dogs, but it is a rare occurrence.
Vomiting, swelling, itchiness, diarrhea, and inflamed skin are the most common symptoms of allergies. Take your dog to the vet clinic right away if he exhibits these signs.
If your dog has eaten pistachios in large quantities, he needs to be checked by the vet right away for possible poisoning or intestinal blockage.
Can dogs eat pistachio ice cream?
Pistachio ice cream is not recommended for dogs to eat. Most canines are lactose-intolerant. Letting them consume dairy products, including ice cream, can lead to bloating, vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea.
Aside from its high sugar content, pistachio ice cream contains harmful artificial preservatives and additives.
Some may even use a sugar substitute called xylitol, which is extremely toxic to dogs. Xylitol is used in products like peanut butter and processed human food.
Read: 6 Dog Ice Cream Recipes You Can Share with Your Pooch
What other nuts can harm dogs?
Pistachio is not the only nut that needs to be kept away from your pooch. Here are other types of nuts that you should avoid adding to your dog’s diet:
Brazil nuts have extremely high-fat content that can cause digestive problems in dogs. If eaten regularly in large amounts, obesity may develop.
Macadamia nut is one of the most dangerous nuts to dogs. Ingesting it can lead to severe poisoning. Unfortunately, the compound that causes toxicity in dogs is yet to be known by experts.
Pecans can become hosts to deadly aflatoxins, much like pistachios, and may cause severe liver damage when ingested in large amounts.
Pine nuts contain high-fat content and are loaded with phosphorus. Therefore, eating these nuts in large amounts or frequently will lead to severe gastric problems and urinary tract issues.
Walnuts are possible carriers of dangerous fungi called tremorgenic mycotoxins, which can cause serious neurological problems.
Pistachios pose many health risks to dogs and should be avoided. These nuts can cause choking, intestinal blockages, skin issues, and toxicity.
Ensure your pet’s well-being by familiarizing yourself with the suitability of other nuts for dogs. Visit our Nuts & Seeds section for a comprehensive guide on safe and unsafe nuts.