Can dogs eat pistachios? The Labrador Site team take a look at whether dogs can eat pistachio nuts with or without their shells, and as part of other tasty treats.
Dogs can safely eat pistachios in small quantities. And these tasty green nuts include some useful vitamins and minerals.
But they are also high in fat, and are often prepared with added salt, which is bad for your dog. And pistachio shells can even cause bowel obstructions.
It’s important to know how many nuts to give, and how best to prepare pistachios for dogs, so they can have this treat safely.
Are Pistachios Safe For Dogs?
Pistachios are a nutritious treat for humans as they are rich in fat, carbohydrates, and protein. But do dogs derive the same benefits as humans? Can dogs have pistachios? Are pistachios bad for dogs or are pistachios safe for dogs?
It depends. In small quantities, unsalted, and unshelled, your dog could safely have one pistachio once in a long while.
Pistachios come from one of the oldest flowering nut trees in the world and have a long and storied history. They are part of the cashew nut family and grow mostly in South Asia and the Middle East.
Here are more interesting facts about pistachios.
Interesting Facts About Pistachios
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.
Are Pistachios Good For Dogs?
What about pistachios and dogs? Do they get along? Are pistachios good for dogs?
Well, 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.
So, can dogs have pistachios? 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.
Are Pistachios Toxic to 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. When pistachios and poorly harvested or processed, they can harbor a toxic mold called Aspergillus.
Aspergillus and some other fungi produce cancer-causing toxins called aflatoxins, which are dangerous to dogs and humans. You’ll see this mold as a gray or black covering on your pistachios.
So, with pistachios and dogs, if you choose to feed them to your dog, start with a few. And then wait a few days to monitor for any adverse reaction.
If you’re still unsure about the “can dogs have pistachios?” question, let’s get more information.
When Are Pistachios Bad For Dogs?
We know that pistachios are generally safe for dogs. We’ve answered “can dogs eat pistachios” or “can dogs eat pistachio nuts.” 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.
Many pet owners do not feed their dogs large nuts like pistachios and we don’t blame them. Certain vets even discourage feeding dogs pistachios just for the size. For many smaller dogs, pistachios would definitely be a choking hazard.
So, if you’re able to choose a different treat, your pup might just be safer — especially if she’s a literal puppy!
How Do I Know If My Dog Has Eaten Too Many Pistachios
Besides finding the empty jar of pistachios, you might notice long-term symptoms of pistachio over consumption. If your dog already has pancreatitis, his symptoms may get worse. Or he may develop new symptoms of pancreatitis, which include:
- Belly pain
- Fatty/Greasy stools
- Assuming the praying position (hind legs/rear in the air and forelimbs on the floor) because of the belly pain
Note though that these are all signs of pancreatitis, which may or not be caused by eating too many pistachios. Either way, be sure to see a vet if your pup shows any of these signs or symptoms.
Can Dogs Eat Pistachio Ice Cream?
According to Dr. Jerry Klein, AKC chief veterinary officer, dogs’ guts cannot process milk after weaning. They cannot process the lactose in the milk. Plus, the sugar levels make obesity a risk for dogs.
For these reasons, we strongly discourage feeding your dog ice cream of any sort. So the answer to the question “can dogs eat pistachio” ice cream would be a firm no.
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.
Health Benefits Of Pistachios For Dogs
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? Can dogs have pistachios?
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.
Are Pistachios Good For Dogs With Health Problems?
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.
How Can I Feed 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
If you do decide to feed your dog pistachios, there are a few things to keep in mind. 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:
Remember to avoid toxic foods like chocolate.
Does Dog Food Contain Pistachios?
Nuts are not a general component of dog food, since there are many other ways to gain the same nutrients.
Can Dogs Eat Pistachios? Summary
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!
Please share! Does your dog like pistachios? Have you ever fed them these nuts?
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.
- Klein, J. DVM. Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream American Kernel Club, 2021
- Ardente, A. DVM, PhD. Can Dogs Eat Nuts? PetMD, 2020.
- Kos-Barber, H. What Causes Pancreatitis in Dogs and How to Treat It PetMD, 2020
- Ward, E. DVM; Panning, A. DVM. Pancreatitis in Dogs. VCA Hospitals
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