With many of us incorporating more nuts into our diets as a means to get healthier, it’s often tempting to take our dogs along for the ride.
There’s always room to improve one’s diet, and the same goes for your pet. Yet as you explore this idea further, you may well be wondering – can dogs eat almonds?
Read on to find out the pros and cons for your pooch.
Are almonds good for dogs?
Rather than many of the processed and artificially flavored foods we find nowadays, good old fashioned nuts and berries are often the way to go for those of us becoming more health-conscious.
And taking processed foods out of your dog’s diet as much as you can is always a good idea as well, promising a boost to their health and well being, and nipping some long term health concerns in the bud while you’re at it.
Yet what is often good for us is far less healthy for the beloved canine companions in our lives. In fact, many surprising kinds of food can prove quite dangerous to dogs if eaten, even by accident.
Worst still, some kinds of nuts are actually toxic to dogs and need to be avoided at all costs.
So, are almonds good for dogs? Not really, but the good news here at least is that they aren’t one of the toxic varieties of nuts either.
Rather, they simply disagree rather strongly with how dogs tend to source and activate nutrition in their bodies.
After all, human beings are related to primates, most of whom would find tremendous nutritional value in nuts and fruits off the tree.
Yet while many fruits have been introduced successfully to dogs’ diets since their being domesticated by humankind, almonds simply aren’t one of them.
Luckily, while some nuts can prove fatal to dogs under the right circumstances, almonds are nowhere near that dangerous, except in the most drastic of circumstances.
Nevertheless, vets and experts consistently agree that feeding almonds to your dog are a bad idea and that it can cause some very uncomfortable and unpleasant issues for our beloved pets if we try it.
Dangers of almonds for dogs
While we can get a great deal of good energy from almonds if eating them, including fiber and protein, there is next to no nutritional value in such nuts for dogs.
Evolution has simply taken dogs on a different path to us, and that means that the kinds of foods they enjoy are different to us – and the health benefits they get from those kinds of foods often don’t align with our own.
While countless dog owners already knew this, it’s worth emphasizing nonetheless.
Because dogs become such a beloved part of our family, it’s incredibly easy to overlook our differences – especially for young children who haven’t had the life experience of meeting lots of different animals before.
Knowing what’s right and wrong for your pet, perhaps even more than they do can really make the difference here.
And while dogs eating almonds isn’t a life or death situation, it can become close to it sometimes if one particular risk these nuts bring isn’t kept in mind – the risk of choking.
This is an especially big risk for a small dog eating an almond. After all, dogs and humans eat very differently, and we as people are far more inclined to chew our food far more thoroughly than dogs do.
Puppies and very young pooches are particularly notorious for gulping down their meals without pausing for breath, too excited to try new flavors and get their meals inside them.
With many almonds coming coated in delicious flavors, they can prove even more tempting a proposition.
Yet almonds can very easily block a dog’s airways, suffocating them and leaving them in difficulty.
Worse still, cases have been known in which the entrance to a dog’s stomach can be blocked by almonds swallowed in bulk, preventing any other foods from getting in and making a very uncomfortable, even painful backlog.
However, once swallowed, the fattiness of almonds can be disastrous for dogs, causing tremendous gastrointestinal distress.
Your dog might become very tired very fast, or try to sleep off their unhappy feelings – unless they’re able to vomit back up the nasty almonds that caused this mess.
In really bad cases though, this can lead to pancreatic issues that can bring a poor dog close to death – it needs to be treated by a vet as soon as possible if that’s the case.
What happens if your dog eats an almond
Depending on the age, the size and the breed of your dog, the risks could be greater or diminished if he or she ends up eating an almond or two.
Naturally, those dogs in their younger or elder years are the most at risk, so keep an eye on what your pooch can get into in terms of helping themselves to snacks.
One or two almonds that enter your dog’s system are unlikely to cause any harm – but this is on the assumption that they were eaten by your dog accidentally, or in an opportune moment when he or she saw something drop on the floor and wanted to eat it.
It should, of course, never be encouraged to think that anyone can hand almonds to your dog to eat, and wherever possible, you should train your pet accordingly to ensure that, even if they do chance upon an almond while left unattended, they show no interest in eating it.
However, besides the risk of stomach upset and more serious consequences as already discussed, dogs that eat almonds can also suffer some dehydration or difficulties in urination.
That’s because the high salt levels found in many of the almonds people eat today completely messes with their more sensitive inner workings, and makes it difficult to pass water.
Naturally, that’s a pretty big and vital part of your dog’s health.
What to do if your dog eats an almond
It doesn’t do anyone in this equation, whether human or canine, any favors to note that many kinds of almonds packaged and sold today come with a rich dusting of flavors.
Smoky barbecue tastes or lip-smacking salty savory flavors are likely to prove pretty difficult for a dog to resist.
If you’ve just noticed your dog eating an almond, watch him or her closely for any signs of retching, abdominal discomfort or general unease.
Remember to stay calm – your dog looks to you as his or her master, and because of that, it will be more inclined to panic on their own behalf if they sense any panic in you.
If you’re truly troubled, by all means, get in touch with a vet – and do so if you have seen the animal eating dozens of almonds, perhaps from a bag spilled on the floor.
This would be a much more serious area for concern.
If you’re instead able or inclined to deal with things for your dog yourself though or want to evacuate your dog’s system rapidly before veterinary attention, consider inducing vomiting in your dog.
It’s never fun for them or you, and can be a difficult thing to undertake, but remember that you might just be saving their life in doing so.
Hydrogen peroxide is the best way to induce vomiting in your dog, administered by a syringe shot to the back of their throat.
This is something that can be handled by a professional if you’re squeamish, but by helping your dog clear out his or her stomach, there’s going to be far less risk of any of the nasty salt or the blockages that almonds can cause affecting their system.
Keep in mind that this is a more drastic solution to your dog consuming a large number of almonds over a short time frame, however – if only one or two have been chomped down, your dog is likely to be fine, but should be kept an eye on and discouraged from eating any more.
The signs you should be keeping an eye out for are coughing, whining, signs of internal pain and discomfort, or seeming to suddenly gag over nothing as your dog’s body fights back against the almonds.
Dogs love their snacks just as much as we do, and trying to get healthier snacks into their system is an admirable effort.
However, throwing nuts into the mix is hit and miss and best, and outright dangerous at worst.
Luckily, almonds are not toxic to dogs, unlike many other nuts that can cause severe and unpleasant side effects in our pets.
But these nuts can still cause some remarkable pain and discomfort to your dog if eaten, and certainly shouldn’t be given to your dog on purpose – no matter how much they want to get stuck into those deliciously flavored coatings.
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.