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Can Dogs Eat Walnuts?

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You look down at your floor to see you pooch chowing down on a biscuit, and realize it’s not a biscuit at all! Possibly, it’s a nut that’s fallen out of a snack dish or out of the bag. Should you freak out? Here are the facts on whether or not your dog can safely eat walnuts.

“Walnuts are fine,” assures Dr. Ashley Hughes, DVM, at Friendship Hospital for Animals in Washington, DC, if your dog picks one up off of your kitchen floor or eats a bit of a crushed one that’s fallen from the counter. Of course, if your dog is consuming walnuts in the form of a treat, think about what else is in there, such as chocolate, says Hughes.

Black Walnuts, native to Northeastern U.S. and Canada, are toxic to horses and dogs, but non-toxic to cats. And if you have a walnut tree in your neighborhood, know that dogs ingesting old walnuts off the ground have the potential to develop tremors and seizures from walnut hulls that are moldy and contain penitrem A.

One nut that is toxic to dogs? Macadamia nuts. They can cause hind end weakness, tremors, lethargy and hyperthermia in dogs.

“Nuts in general have a high fat content, so even if they are not toxic, they can still cause an upset stomach in some dogs,” says Hughes.

Ultimately, skip the nuts and replace them with any kind of dog treats. Remember, “in general, only 10 percent of dogs diet should come from treats,” says Hughes. “And most dogs are as happy to eat a dog treats as a walnut!”


Vanessa Volitina