Can dogs eat pistachios? Yes, they can safely eat these tasty green nuts in small quantities. Pistachio nuts contain a number of important vitamins and minerals, like Vitamin K, Thiamin, Iron, Magnesium, and Phosphorus.
However, they also contain a high proportion of fat and often come salted. Neither is ideal for your dog. Too much fat can lead to weight management problems and other related health issues.
Additionally, any pistachio snacks shared with your pup should be shelled, unsalted, and in limited quantities.
So, now that we know the answer to, “Can dogs eat pistachios?” let’s take a look at the overall scope of pistachios and its potential benefits and risks.
Can Dogs Eat Pistachios?
Interesting Facts About Pistachios
Pistachios come from one of the oldest flowering nut trees in the world and have a long and storied history. It is thought that humans have consumed pistachios for upwards of 9,000 years.
The pistachio is also one of only two nuts ever mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 43:11). And in the modern age, they even have their own holiday (February 26th is National Pistachio Day in the United States)!
The pistachio tree grows well in hot climates. Iran is the largest exporter of pistachios, but in the United States, the majority of pistachios come from California.
Pistachios make for a popular snack in many areas of the world. They are often roasted and salted to enhance their flavor.
They are a nutritious treat for humans. But do dogs derive the same benefits as humans Are pistachios bad for dogs?
Before we answer the question, “Can dogs eat pistachios?” let’s take a look at some of its nutrients.
Pistachios are packed with vitamins and minerals. They also contain protein, fat, and fiber.
Most notably, these nuts contain a hefty dose of Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin K, Copper, Phosphorus, and Manganese. They are also a good source of Iron, Calcium, Zinc, Selenium, Folate, and Vitamin E.
It sounds like pistachios contain a powerhouse of nutrients, so why wouldn’t you feed your furry friend pistachios? We know the answer to “can dogs eat pistachios”, but are pistachios bad for dogs in some way?
Well, we must understand a few things. Firstly, nuts, including pistachios, are generally very high in calories and fat.
Although fat has been demonized in the past, it is not necessarily a bad thing. But there is the theory that a high-fat diet in dogs can contribute to pancreatitis. And some studies have started to look at this correlation and what types of fats are most ideal for dogs.
Is Fat Bad For Dogs?
Fat is not intrinsically bad for dogs. And some experts say that a significant portion of daily calories should come from fat sources.
However, too much fat can contribute to unhealthy weight gain in dogs. Similar to humans, carrying extra weight can cause health problems, like heart disease, in dogs.
The topic needs more research, but it’s important for us to understand that, in moderation, fat is healthy for dogs. With that said, the high-caloric content of nuts and other high-fat foods is important to keep an eye on. This is particularly true if your dog is overweight.
So, can dogs eat pistachios? Sure, but like all good things, keep it in moderation.
Pistachios and Dogs
We know dogs can eat pistachios. Pistachios are not toxic to dogs. And dogs do not typically have allergies to pistachios. So, if you are worried — “My dog ate a pistachio!” — you can be assured that in small quantities pistachios are safe for dogs.
With that said, there are some things to keep in mind.
Never feed your dog unshelled pistachios (or any unshelled nut). The tough shells can cause digestive issues, and some nutshells are toxic.
And to reiterate, be aware of the high-fat and high-caloric content of pistachios. Nuts should be eaten in moderation.
Lastly, allergic reactions in specific dogs are always possible. Like humans, dogs can develop allergies to nearly any food.
Pistachios are not often an allergen for dogs, but it’s always possible. So, if you choose to feed your dog pistachios, start with just a few. And then wait a few days to monitor for any adverse reaction.
When Are Pistachios Bad For Dogs?
We know that pistachios are generally safe for dogs. We’ve answered “can dogs eat pistachios”. But are pistachios bad for dogs in any instances or quantities?
Feeding dogs pistachios occasionally and in small quantities is not harmful. However, feeding a dog a large number of pistachios or other nuts can lead to weight gain, upset stomach, and potentially more serious health problems.
If your dog already has pancreatitis, high-fat foods, like pistachios should be avoided.
Pistachios are also not a good treat due to their high caloric value if your dog is overweight. Just one ounce of pistachios contains more than 150 calories!
Finally, nuts should not constitute a significant portion of a dog’s diet. They should be used more as an occasional treat.
Are Pistachios Good For Dogs?
There are some nutrients in pistachios that dogs do require:
- Thiamine is important for brain function and proper growth in dogs.
- Manganese helps to extract and digest protein and carbohydrates.
- Vitamin K helps the blood to clot.
- Vitamin B6 helps the synthesis of protein and the absorption of protein and fat.
Pistachios are protein-rich and offer a good portion of dietary fiber. They are high in fat, but the bulk of the fat content is unsaturated fat, which can have some health benefits in moderation.
So, yes, there are potentially useful nutrients for dogs in pistachios. However, they can also acquire these nutrients from well-balanced dog foods and other foods.
In short, a few shelled pistachios are an okay snack for otherwise healthy dogs. But there are better, lower fat sources of these nutrients for your pet.
Can Dogs Eat Salted Pistachios?
Pistachio nuts often come salted. And while this makes them even tastier, it also makes them more unhealthy.
Just as too much salt is not good for people, it is also bad for dogs. Avoid feeding your dog any salted treats, including salted pistachios.
Can Dogs Eat Pistachio Shells?
We know that the pistachio nut is okay for dogs, but what about the shell? Can dogs eat pistachios in the shell?
As we discussed earlier, in general, nutshells are dangerous for dogs. And this includes pistachio shells.
The shells can cause intestinal obstructions and other damage to the digestive tract. Certain nutshells are also poisonous, so you should never allow your dog to have the nutshells.
Shell the pistachio before feeding it to your pup.
Can Pistachios Treat Health Problems In Dogs?
There is no evidence that pistachios have any specific health benefits to dogs or that they can help with any health issues.
They won’t hurt your dog if they eat a few. But they are also not recommended as part of a dog’s daily diet either.
Should I Give My Dog Pistachios
While you can give your dog pistachios there is really no need. Any nutrients that your dog can derive from this nut they can get from more appropriate food sources, like their dog food
If you want to share a tasty human treat with your canine pal every now and then, a few pistachios won’t harm them. But there are also other lower calorie and lower fat human foods that are safe for dogs that might make a better healthy treat.
So, can dogs have pistachios? Yes. Is it an ideal food for them? No.
How to Prepare Pistachios for Dogs
Remember, you should always shell pistachios prior to giving them to your dog for a treat.
You can either buy shelled pistachios or remove the shells yourself. And be sure to get the unsalted variety.
Pistachios can be given as occasional treats or mixed into your dog’s normal food.
However, these nuts should not make up a significant portion of your dog’s diet.
Alternatives to Pistachios for Dogs
If you are looking to share a snack with your furry friend, you can consider one of these healthy and delicious treats:
Summary: Can Dogs Eat Pistachios?
So, we’ve answered the question of can dogs eat pistachios. And the answer is yes, but in moderation.
Just be aware of a few things. Firstly, pistachio shells can be harmful. Secondly, salted pistachios are unhealthy. And lastly, pistachios are high in fat and calories.
If your dog is overweight or has pancreatitis, pistachios should be avoided. And it’s best to check with your vet if your dog has any other medical condition.
As long as you remember these things, and feed them in moderation to your dog, pistachios are safe for dogs!
References And Further Reading
- Burke, A., (2016), “Can Dogs Eat Nuts?” American Kennel Club (AKC).
- Machado De Souza, R. A., et al, (2017), “Nuts and Human Health Outcomes: A Systematic Review,” Nutrients.
- National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, (2018), “ Basic Report: 12151, Nuts, pistachio nuts, raw,” United States Department of Agriculture.
- Truett, A. A., et al., (1998), “Composition of dietary fat affects blood pressure and insulin responses to dietary obesity in the dog,” Obesity Research.
- Yuill, C., (2011), “Nutrition – General Feeding Guidelines for Dogs,” VCA Hospitals.