There are so many ways for us to get nutrients, proteins and vitamins into our diets, and that has led so very many of us to try and get ever more fruit and nuts into our diets.
And of course, our dogs are so beloved a part of our family lives that we want them to be happy and healthy with us too. But dogs often have very different dietary needs than us.
Can dogs eat cashews? Yes they can – but certain precautions need to be taken, which we’ll explore below.
Are cashews good for dogs?
Cashews are good for dogs in the same way they are for human beings, but dogs should also eat nuts like this in far smaller quantities than their human masters would.
The reason for this is that the nutritional value of nuts is far less when eaten in bulk when compared to human beings, whose digestive systems react more favourably to us eating lots of nuts in our diet.
It’s best to avoid feeding nuts like cashews to your dog if they’re mixed in as part of a variety bag of lots of kinds of nuts.
The reason for this is that different nuts, while all well and good for human beings’ consumption, vary greatly in how safe they are for dogs to eat.
So while a peanut or a cashew nut has no toxic dangers to your dog, a macadamia nut mixed in with a variety bag would be disastrous to feed to your pet – macadamia nuts are very toxic to dogs.
Flavoured cashew nuts, or those to which spices or salt have been added, are also far less advised than plain, fresh cashew nuts for your pet.
Added salt or sugar, especially, can be pretty bad for your dog’s health long term, although it’s worth realising that you’d have to be feeding cashew nuts to your dog in big amounts daily to bring your pet to any harm.
There is protein aplenty in cashew nuts that can give plenty of benefits to your dog.
Protein is superb for muscular development, overall strength and circulation, as well as strong growth in puppies as they develop into fully fledged adult dogs.
For that reason, there are health benefits of feeding your dog cashew nuts for sure – but none that overtake how your dog might otherwise source protein from other kinds of food more specifically designed with his or her health in mind.
Dangers of cashews for dogs
Luckily, the dangers of cashews for dogs have nothing to do with any risks of poisoning or bringing toxic harm to your pet.
It’s more that, despite being healthy for we human beings, nuts often have far more fat content than we often realise.
Cashews also have lots of fatty risks for dogs, not least since pooches have digestive systems not built to as effectively break down foods like this as our own.
Again, this isn’t a big deal for dogs unless they happen to be eating cashew nuts in large numbers.
However, the lifestyle changes that a high-fat diet can give your dog are quite startling to think about sometimes.
More than weight gain, it can lead to out and out obesity, severely impacting your pet’s mobility and quality of life.
That kind of high fat diet for dogs can also greatly increase their risk of diabetes, which itself is a complete overhaul of your pet’s lifestyle, as much as it is your own.
At the highest end of the scale as far as risks of dogs eating cashews goes, they can contribute to pancreas problems through their high fat content – and pancreatitis in dogs can be fatal.
Again, it would have to be truly an excessive amount of cashews being fed to your dog to really risk bringing them to this kind of harm.
However, a responsible dog owner is also advised to make sure the cashew nuts fed to a dog come from their own bag, rather than a packet of mixed nuts.
Similarly, they ought to be plain, rather than salted, honeyed or with added sugar.
Also, make sure to keep in the good habit of supervising your dog when he or she tries new foods for the first time.
This is not only to ensure that your dog doesn’t choke on cashew nuts, but also to check if your pooch displays any signs of allergies.
Dogs are just as susceptible to nut allergies as we can be, so keep an eye on them for any side effects of this kind – puffiness, coughing too much, redness around the eyes and so on.
How many cashews can a dog eat daily?
Generally speaking, feeding nuts like cashews to your dog isn’t necessarily something that you should feel the need to be doing daily.
The kind of proteins and healthy fats that these nuts can give your pet are outperformed by other, more naturally occurring parts of his or her diet.
However, handfuls of no more than five cashews are really far and away all your dog would need to get the most out of the benefits of cashew nuts, without coming afoul of the high fat content cashews have.
Even then, you really don’t need to be feeding your dog this amount of cashews daily.
However, a lot of dog owners prefer the likes of nuts that are safe for dogs, or chunks of fruit that dogs can eat, in lieu of offering sugary, fatty snacks as treats.
Whether it’s to reward good behaviour or to train and develop your dog’s capabilities over the long term, pooches love bite sized snacks they can snatch out of the air for a job well done.
Cashews are a good fit for this, providing once again they are dished out fairly and not to excess.
Through training and development, you can help your dog to recognise that these nuts are a very sporadic snack, and not something they ought to be looking to have added to their meals or given out freely.
What to do if your dog eats cashew nuts
Dogs have a remarkable way of getting to the snacks they want – often without, or in spite of, seeking the permission of their human masters.
Young dogs and puppies especially tend to have their own agenda when it comes to deciding what they do or don’t want to eat, but pooches of any age are just as likely to be caught having found a way to get to something you rather they hadn’t.
If your dog is eating cashew nuts either by being given far too many by someone who thinks they’re helping your dog out, or by tearing open a packet and tucking it, it’s best to first ascertain what kind of cashews these are.
The first priority is learning if the cashews were mixed in with other nuts in the same bag. If so, your dog may have eaten macadamia nuts – and if that’s the case, you ought to contact your vet as a matter of urgency.
If it’s just cashews in the bag, check if they’re salted or sugared, or otherwise covered in additives and flavours.
This is more to identify any long term effects of your dog eating lots of these nuts at once. Smaller dogs, or those extremely averse to salt, can suffer the nasty effects of salt toxicity here.
Salt toxicity in dogs is something it’s worth consulting your vet about, and can cause sickness, vomiting, dizziness and other nasty ways of feeling poorly in your pet.
However, even if your dog eats plain cashew nuts, chances are he or she will have eaten all if not most of the bag by the time you chance upon them.
Luckily, this isn’t something that’s going to cause them any immediate danger, bar the choking hazard this represents – stand by with some water and tissues to pick up any pieces of cashew nut your pooch might suddenly cough up.
If your dog is frequently getting at cashew nuts without your knowledge, then certainly seek professional help and consider how to train your pet to keep away from them – they’re unwittingly adding lots of fat to their diet, risking obesity and diabetes longer term.
If this is a one off case though, you might find that your dog suffers no ill effects beyond a tummy ache, a telling off and a lesson well learned.
It’s always a smart dog owner who checks what’s safe for dogs to eat – especially since some fruits and nuts are toxic to our beloved animals.
Luckily, dogs can eat cashews safely and happily, but the health benefits they give their owners aren’t as readily felt in their own more animalistic digestive systems.
Dogs ought to eat cashew nuts in moderation as part of a healthy and balanced diet, and certainly not as a focal point or daily component in their meals – these nuts are the occasional treat at best.