Pistachios are no doubt associated with a lot of health benefits; they are delicious and versatile.
But, as a pet owner, you’re probably asking the question, can dogs eat pistachios? This is one question that has stirred up so much controversy.
Before we proceed to the rest of this post, my simple answer here is NO.
Some vets indeed believe it is not a big deal to be consumed, while others do not recommend them for dogs.
In my few years as a dog owner, I have seen the benefits and risks associated with this nut. I can assure you that the risks far outweigh the benefits.
This article is intended to crack open this mystery, so you can be able to judge for yourself once and for all the implications (whether positive or negative) of feeding your furry pal with pistachios.
Facts About Pistachios
Pistachios are seeds from one of the oldest flowering nut trees globally, known as the pistachio tree (Pistacia vera). The pistachio tree is native to Central Asia and the Middle East and has a long history as a common and treasured food source.
They are desert plants and are highly tolerant of saline soil. This tree features wide-spreading branches, with a height limited to 30 feet or 9 meters. They also have a life span of 150 when in their natural habitat.
The Pistachios seed are commonly thought of as a nut but are not botanical nuts but culinary nuts. As tiny as they are, they pack a powerful nutritional punch.
They are characterized by a hard, cream-colored exterior shell, light green flesh, and mauve-colored skin. In their ripened stage, the shell of this fruit abruptly and partly splits open and changes to autumnal red/yellow.
Are Pistachios Bad For Dogs?
If you are still reading this post, it means you’re considering treating your dog to pistachios. Before you do that, you want to consider the hazards this nut will present to your furry pal.
The pistachio in itself is not the problem, but the chemical contained in it may not be very friendly and could cause certain problems to your canine’s digestive system.
Let us briefly look at the common dangers associated with this nut.
Digestive System Obstruction
Humans generally don’t consume pistachio with the shell on, but dogs are not as picky as we are and would most likely consume with the shells on. When this happens, there is a high chance of this nut posing a choking hazard.
If they manage to swallow, their delicate digestive tissue is at risk of being torn during elimination. This is because they are indigestible.
Crops such as tree nuts like pistachios are commonly associated with a micro fungus that causes a rare type of mold known as Aspergillus.
This mold, in turn, produces aflatoxins that are poisonous and can be detrimental to both the health of humans and dogs alike.
But, dogs are known to be sensitive to this toxin and are at risk of so many health issues such as lethargy, liver failure, dark urine, and vomiting. (3)
Urushiol and Sodium-Ion Poisoning
Also contained in pistachios is a pair of potentially damaging natural chemicals – this is talking about phosphorus and urushiol.
These chemicals, when consumed in significant amounts, can cause some problems with your furry friends.
For Phosphorus, it is known to cause a condition referred to as bladder stone. On the other hand, urushiol is known to cause allergic reactions like poison ivy and on similar body parts such as dogs’ faces and around their mouths.
One of the common risks associated with the consumption of Pistachio is its high-fat content. This is typically 205.6 grams per cup, which amounts to about sixteen times what is recommended for the daily consumption of dogs, around 33 pounds.
While the body of humans is built to accommodate this high fat, your canine buddies are not and at risk of chronic conditions and diseases such as pancreatitis, which comes with experiences such as fever, loss of appetite, belly pain, and breathing difficulty.
When Are Pistachios Bad For Dogs?
We have established that, generally, pistachios are not recommended for dogs. This does not in any way mean that pistachios are bad in all instances or quantities.
There are many precautions to take if you must feed your dogs with this nut. It would be best if you fed this nut to your dogs in minimal quantities, and even at that should be done occasionally.
Also, ensure that the pistachios are unshelled before giving to your dogs to avoid choking or digestive disruptions. This also helps to reduce the chances of toxicity.
Are Pistachios Good For Dogs?
As much as pistachios are considered bad and associated with many hazards, there are some good sides to feeding your dogs with them.
They contain a lot of valuable nutrients that are very beneficial for the health of your dog. To begin with, Pistachios contain protein, fat, and essential vitamins and minerals.
Pistachios are particularly a great source of vitamin B6, which promotes a healthy brain and heart and aids the growth and development of your pooch.
It is also a great natural source of potassium that helps the cells in your canine’s body function properly.
Compared to other nuts, pistachios contain many antioxidants, which help prevent cell damage and thus reduce the risk of diseases such as cancer. (4)
Can Dogs Have Pistachios Shells
Nutshells of pistachios have never been a good idea for dogs and never will be. This is not to say that they are considered inherently toxic, but they are not meant for dog consumption.
Pistachio shells are generally tough to start with, and they pose choking and airway blockage hazards due to difficulty swallowing. Even when finally swallowed, it will need a lot of effort for the digestive juices to break down.
Unfortunately, the digestive system of dogs does not have such capacity, and so the shells stay undigested.
Even more dangerous is when the shells get broken. Fragment of these shells can get stuck in the mouth – say between teeth.
Chances are the hard shells also have sharp edges and, as such, can cause perforations in your dog’s intestinal tract. This could call for serious medical attention. (2)
Other Dangerous Nuts To Avoid
There’s no doubt that nuts are full of protein and healthy fats that make up an essential part of our diets, but they are generally unhealthy choices when it comes to dogs.
Some nuts are healthier than others and can be occasionally given in moderation to your dog, and expect no harm to them. There are still some nuts that experts recommend should be avoided as much as possible.
I recommend erring on the side of caution and staying clear off nuts altogether, especially the below listed. (1)
Although cashews are a good source of protein, they contain high amounts of fat and calories. Also, cashews are large nuts, posing a choking hazard, even for a large breed.
Cashews have a high potassium level and can cause health issues with dogs prone to urinary problems.
Walnuts, particularly black walnuts, should be avoided at all costs because they mainly have a high chance of mold contamination and can be toxic to dogs. The toxins present in this mold can cause dangerous neurological complications such as seizures.
Similar to pistachios have a high chance of mold infestation, thereby producing aflatoxin. It can cause damage to the liver. They are also high in omega-6 fatty acids, which in dogs can cause inflammation.
It is one nut discovered to be particularly poisonous to dogs. It is so bad that even as small as one of these nut can be seriously harmful to your dog.
Effects of consuming these nuts include weakness of their legs, shiver, fever, vomit, and diarrhea.
It may not be particularly dangerous for dogs but should be avoided. Due to their high fat and phosphorus content, even the smallest quantities can irritate your dog’s stomach.
Over time, your dog stands the chance of urinary tract complications or pancreatitis.
Brazil nuts are considered one of the fattiest on the list. It already gives you an idea of the side effects that follow when consumed by your dogs.
You can be sure of a myriad of digestive problems and even worst-case scenarios such as pancreatitis.
An almond in itself is not toxic but poses a choking hazard because of its tough shells. It can cause digestive system obstruction, which, if untreated immediately, can be fatal.
Final Words On Can My Dog Eat Pistachios
I believe you can now see for yourself that there are a lot of reasons why you should avoid feeding your dogs pistachios.
We can’t deny that this nut packs a lot of nutrients your dog requires. However, I also believe it is better to play safe than expose your furry pals to unnecessary and avoidable consequences.
Pistachio is one food you want to keep to yourself and not share with your dog. Whatever nutrients this nut has to offer can still be gotten from a more appropriate and healthier source.
You can be sure that saying NO to nuts like pistachios will save your pup from health issues in the long run.
Have you ever tried pistachios with your dogs? Do you have any questions concerning feeding your furry pal with pistachios? Kindly drop your comment in the section/box provided below. I promise to respond as soon as I can.
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