Can Dogs have Macadamia Nuts?
In general, nuts are not recommended for dogs, there are some that your dog can eat as long as you take the proper precautions such as peanuts or almonds.
However, there are others like the Macadamia nut that should be totally prohibited in your dog’s diet. These nuts are even among the most toxic and harmful foods for them, here we will explain why.
What are the Macadamia Nuts?
Macadamia nuts are a hard-textured fruit considered a gourmet fruit originating in Australia. They can be eaten as a raw snack just like any other nut, toasted, or also in recipes for the preparation of desserts.
This is one of the most exquisite and healthiest nuts for people, due to its richness in monounsaturated fats and other benefits.
But for dogs, unfortunately, it is quite the opposite.
Humans and even other animals such as cats can eat these nuts, but dogs simply cannot digest these foods.
Veterinarians and associations such as the ASPCA’s (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) Animal Poison Control Center have proved this.
Dogs Can’t Eat Macadamia Nuts.
Among all the varieties of nuts, Macadamia is undoubtedly the most toxic for dogs. You have to be careful with this food because even small amounts can be harmful to your pet.
It is known that these nuts, both raw and cooked, can cause severe neurological problems in dogs, including tremors, convulsions, paralysis, and many other symptoms.
What Makes Macadamia Nuts So Harmful?
While it is not known exactly what compound or toxin makes them so dangerous, Macadamia nuts are known to have high concentrations of phosphorus and fat.
The fat is harmful to dogs because they have a harder time digesting it, and it can also irritate their stomachs. On the other hand, excess phosphorus can produce stones in the bladder.
This is because their digestive system is different from ours, so they will not always be able to assimilate some foods in the same way as humans. In fact, this excess fat in the nuts can cause pancreatitis, kidney failure, and many other problems.
The rations that complement our dog’s diet in the form of a reward or snack, should not exceed 10% of the total daily caloric intake and the high caloric content of nuts produces an even rapid increase in weight in them.
This applies to any type of nuts such as pecans, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, nutmeg, sunflower seeds, cashews, etc.
How Much Is “Too Much”?
Not all cases are the same; the intoxication caused by the ingestion of this type of nuts will depend on the size, weight, age, and physical condition of each dog.
A dog would have to ingest more than 2 grams of nuts per kilogram of body weight to begin to suffer certain symptoms; however, sensitivity to the toxin varies among dogs too.
In the case of a dog weighing approximately 15 kg, only four nuts could cause symptoms of intoxication, such as stiffness, walking problems and liver damage.
The symptoms usually appear between approximately 6 – 12 hours after ingestion. The most common symptoms are weakness and inability to walk, especially with the hind legs.
Symptoms do vary, but the most common are:
- Severe vomiting.
- General weakness.
Although this can be very scary, mild symptoms usually disappear within 24 to 48 hours of ingestion. If a dog consumes 6 to 7 grams, the symptoms and consequences are much more serious:
- Neurological disorders.
- Trembling and difficulty in movement.
- Excessive salivation.
- Increased heart rate.
- Increased breathing rate.
- Blockage of the digestive tract.
- Paralysis in the hind legs.
Keep in mind that, if the dog ingests these nuts covered with chocolate, sweetener xylitol, sugar among others, the symptoms can be worse since these extra ingredients are also toxic to them and can even threaten the life of your dog.
How to prevent your Dog from Eating Macadamia Nuts.
The best way to prevent your dog from getting accidental indigestion is to avoid Macadamia nuts altogether, and for every member of the family to know the dangers they pose to the dog.
We must keep in mind that this type of nut is a very common ingredient in homes and it is found as an ingredient in many types of desserts, cookies, and candies.
For this reason, it’s best to check what ingredients are in your dog’s food, in case you are not sure what kind of ingredients have some candies, cookies, or any snack it’s better to avoid giving it to them.
You should also pay attention that your dog doesn’t eat things from the floor while you’re walking on the street, avoid having strangers give it any food without supervision, and also avoid having it eat leftover food or garbage.
If your Dog has Eaten Macadamia Nuts, What should you do?
If your dog has eaten Macadamia nuts, you should stay calm and try to find out how much it has ingested, because if it has eaten a very small amount, it will be enough for you to keep an eye on it for the next few hours.
The most recommendable thing is to contact your vet as soon as you detect this problem if you think your dog is in danger so that the vet can evaluate the case and verify if the amount ingested is dangerous or not.
If this problem is detected in the first few hours, your vet may suggest some home treatments to induce vomiting.
Although there is no antidote for this type of poisoning, fortunately, most dogs and pets can recover well if they are treated early.
Treatment can include gastric decontamination to remove the toxin, fluid therapy, anti-nausea and anti-pain medications, and muscle relaxants. Oxygen may be needed if there are signs of respiratory distress.
It can also include a change in diet, to an extremely low-fat diet, when the pancreas is overloaded with fat, becomes inflamed and incredibly painful for them.
Dogs that have suffered from pancreatitis can remain on a low-fat diet for the rest of their lives. Even so, usually, when all the measures are taken in time, dogs return to normal in a couple of days.
What Other Food Can You Replace Macadamia Nuts With?
There are other types of nuts that are not toxic to dogs. Some provide protein, vitamins, and antioxidants such as peanuts, hazelnuts, or peanut butter.
But you should take different precautions and moderate measures to give them to your dog so that it doesn’t hurt it because they are still a little difficult for dogs to digest.
You can also get other types of snacks such as dog food, pieces of fruit, or vegetables, always making sure they are healthy for your dog.
Can dogs have macadamia nuts? Although they have many benefits for people, it’s best to keep Macadamia nuts away from your dog.
Nuts in general do not bring benefits to the dogs’ diet, quite the contrary. Also, this is not necessary for its diet, there are many other healthy and safe snacks available for dogs.
This type of poisoning is not fatal, however, if your dog eats these nuts by accident contact your veterinarian.