Can dogs eat pistachios? Are pistachios safe for dogs? Are there any benefits or risks of dogs eating nuts? Find the answers in the guide below!
Pistachios are a rich and flavorful nut, packed full of nutrients.
They make a great snack for humans - but what about our furry friends? Often, the foods we eat ourselves aren't necessarily safe for our pets to eat.
So, are pistachios OK for dogs? We'll explore this question in detail in the guide below.
Fun Facts About Pistachios
Pistachios come from one of the oldest flowering nut trees in the world. It is thought that our ancestors 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). They have a long and storied history, 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 are pistachios good for dogs? To explore the relationship between pistachios and dogs, let's first look at nuts in general.
Nuts and Dogs
Most nuts are considered relatively healthy for humans - but what about dogs?
Well, there are a few things to understand. One is that nuts are generally very high in calories. The other is that they are high in fat.
Fat is not necessarily a bad thing, although it has been demonized in the past. Many people claim that a high-fat diet in dogs can contribute to pancreatitis, but this claim has not been adequately verified.
In fact, it appears that fat is not intrinsically bad for dogs, and some experts say that a significant portion of daily calories should come from fat sources.
The topic needs more research, but it's important to understand that, in moderation, fat is healthy for dogs. This guide explores the facts about fat in a dog's diet.
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.
Some nuts are difficult for dogs to digest, which can result in an upset stomach.
Specific nuts, like walnuts and pecans, may contain toxins that can be harmful for dogs.
So, what about pistachios? Are pistachios bad for dogs?
Can Dogs Eat Pistachios?
Are dogs allergic to pistachios? Are pistachios poisonous to dogs?
The answer to both of these questions is NO.
Pistachios are not toxic to dogs, nor do dogs typically have allergies to pistachios.
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 nut shells are toxic.
Also, 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 are Pistachios Bad for Dogs?
Feeding dogs pistachios occasionally and in small quantities is not harmful.
However, feeding a dog large quantities of pistachios or other nuts can lead to weight gain, upset stomach, and potentially more serious health problems.
Nuts should not constitute a significant portion of a dogs diet, and should be used more as an occasional treat.
If your dog is overweight, pistachios are not a good treat due to their high caloric value. Just 1 oz of pistachios contains more than 150 calories!
Additionally, pistachio shells can be harmful, so only feed your pet shelled nuts.
When are Pistachios Good For Dogs?
In moderation, treats of pistachios for dogs may actually be beneficial.
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.
In short, a few shelled pistachios make for a good snack for otherwise healthy dogs.
For overweight dogs, pistachios are not the best snack.
How to Prepare Pistachios For Dogs
Pistachios should always be shelled prior to being given to your dog.
You can either buy shelled pistachios, or remove the shells yourself.
Pistachios can be given as occasional treats, or mixed into your dog's normal food.
These nuts should not make up a significant portion of your dog's diet.
Can Dogs Eat Pistachios? Summary
So, we've answered the question of can dogs eat pistachios - and the answer is yes, in moderation.
Just be aware of a few things: pistachio shells can be harmful, pistachios are high in fat, and pistachios are high in calories.
If your dog is overweight or has pancreatitis, pistachios should be avoided. If your dog has any other medical condition, it's best to check with your vet.
As long as you remember these things, and use them in moderation, pistachios are safe for dogs!
References and Further Reading
- Bolling, B. W., Chen, C. Y. O., McKay, D. L., & Blumberg, J. B… Tree nut phytochemicals: composition, antioxidant capacity, bioactivity, impact factors. A systematic review of almonds, Brazils, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts. Nutrition research reviews, 2011.
- Truett, A. A., Borne, A. T., Monteiro, M. P., & West, D. B. Composition of dietary fat affects blood pressure and insulin responses to dietary obesity in the dog. Obesity research, 1998