Even in a best-case scenario, nuts tend not to be the best snack for a dog. They have a high fat content, which can lead to stomach upset (and subsequent vomiting and diarrhoea) and even potentially pancreatitis. They also tend to come with a lot of salt, which dogs don’t handle as well as we do (to say nothing of the potential for stomach irritation from more exciting varieties like Thai sweet chili crispy coatings).

Also, nuts are the right size to be a choking hazard and even, in the case of Brazil nuts, a potential intestinal blockage for smaller dogs. Further, some nuts can develop mould depending on how they’ve been processed and stored, and the mycotoxins produced by the mould can be a serious issue for dogs.

That said, if your dog accidentally swipes some nuts off the counter, not all nuts are dangerous. Read our guide below to find out which nuts are safe for dogs, and which may require a call to the vet.

Peanuts are OK as a very occasional treat

Peanuts (and yes, we know they’re actually legumes!) definitely take them out of their indigestible shells first, but unsalted peanuts are safe for your dog.

Most dogs do love peanut butter (though watch the portion size, as the calories add up quickly!).

Make sure it has no additives like sugar, palm oil or, especially, artificial sweeteners.

A wooden bowl containing peanuts placed on a marble surface

These nuts are non-toxic

However, it is not a good idea to feed them deliberately to your dog.

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Hazelnuts
  • Walnuts

There is one exception here: the walnuts we use for cooking are almost always English walnuts, which are non-toxic. But a different species, black walnuts, can be dangerous for dogs to ingest. This is much more likely to occur if your dog encounters walnuts out in the wild under a tree, especially in the south of the UK. If your dog eats walnuts outside and you’re not sure of the species, and especially if they show any signs of illness, give your vet a call.

  • Pistachios

Pistachios are also non-toxic but not optimal, and particular care should be taken with the shells as they are indigestible so may cause blockages and may be sharp.

  • Brazil nuts

Again, they are not toxic, but because of their size, they pack a lot more fat (and potentially) salt relative to smaller nuts, so they are one to watch out for.

Macadamia nuts are dangerous

This is one nut that must definitely be avoided for all dogs. Veterinarians aren’t sure of exactly why they are so toxic for dogs, but even a few macadamia nuts can make your pet extremely ill.

Symptoms of macadamia intoxication include vomiting, loss of coordination, hyperthermia, and weakness.

If you know or suspect your dog has ingested macadamia nuts, contact a vet right away so they can advise on how best to treat your dog.

An image of macadamia nuts placed on a white surface

What is the treatment for eating nuts?

Treatment may include induced vomiting if the nuts were eaten recently, or support for your dog’s symptoms if they have already started to become ill.

If you have any concerns about what your dog has eaten, call our Video Vets Now telehealth service or your nearest Vets Now clinic for advice.