Can Dogs Eat Chestnuts? Are Chestnuts Safe For Dogs?

If you love eating roasted chestnuts on a fall evening, you might look up to find your dog looking longingly at you and hoping for a bite. Is it okay to share your chestnuts with your dog, or is this something you should avoid? What if you’re out on a walk and your dog starts sniffing at chestnuts that have fallen on the ground? Can you let them have a bite, or should you test their recall and call them back to you?

Before we go into more detail, we’ll start by saying that the APSCA lists American Chestnuts, with the Latin name Castanea denata, as non-toxic to dogs. That’s good news! In small quantities, chestnuts are actually fine for your dog to eat.

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How are chestnuts good for dogs?

Chestnuts are high in fiber, with 100 grams of chestnuts containing 3 grams of fiber. Your dog’s digestive system needs fiber to function correctly, so chestnuts can help your pup avoid constipation or diarrhea.

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Image credit: Feel Photo Art, Shutterstock

Chestnuts also contain omega fatty acids, needed to provide energy and keep your dog’s coat and skin in tip-top condition.

The mineral that chestnuts are richest in is potassium. A 100-gram serving of chestnuts contains 484 mg of potassium. This is an essential mineral for helping control muscle activity and nerve impulses and brain and heart function.

Chestnuts are also low in fat, so they can be a good choice of occasional treat for dogs who are on a calorie-controlled diet.

What’s bad about chestnuts?

Raw chestnuts are difficult for your dog to chew, and if they try to bolt their food, they may accidentally swallow a whole chestnut. Depending on the size of your dog, this could cause a blockage in their stomach or intestines. It is safest to feed cooked and broken-up chestnuts for this reason.

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Image credit: Couleur, Pixabay

How to feed your dog chestnuts

The best way to feed your dog chestnuts as a treat is after they’ve been roasted and cooled. Peel away the hard outer skin if this hasn’t already been removed, and break the chestnut into small pieces. Some chestnuts will crumble easily, while others may need to be cut into pieces.

You can feed small quantities, up to five chestnuts, once a week or so. If your dog loves them as a treat on their own, you can use them in training sessions or crumble chestnuts over their dinner as a topper.

Of course, avoid pre-cooked chestnuts that have been prepared for us humans, with salt or sugar added.

It’s probably best not to allow your pup to forage for chestnuts themselves if you’re on a walk in the woods. The cases are covered in sharp needles, so your dog may get hurt in the process.

Hungry dog is a hungry German Shepherd dog eagerly waiting_david p baileys_shutterstock
Image credit: David P Baileys, Shutterstock

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Wrapping it up

As the occasional treat, chestnuts contain quite a few beneficial nutrients for dogs. Their low-fat content also makes them a good choice as a treat for overweight dogs.

You should never feed your dog uncooked whole chestnuts or allow them to eat these if they find them while you’re out walking. They can present a choking hazard, and your dog might accidentally ingest something nearby that’s not so good for them.

Feeding cooked and chopped chestnuts as a treat, either on their own or mixed with your dog’s kibble, is the safest way to feed them. As with any new food, watch out that your dog doesn’t have an adverse reaction like diarrhea, constipation, or cramps.

Feeding a small number of chestnuts, around 100 grams per week, can make an interesting addition to your pup’s diet and a great excuse to eat delicious roasted chestnuts yourself!

And before you feed your pup just anything off your plate, be sure to check out some of our other “can dogs eat” articles:


Featured Image Credit: _Alicja_, Pixabay