Cashews are a popular snack for humans as they are tasty, filling, and nutrient-dense. But when your canine companions start giving you those puppy dog eyes as you're munching on a handful of these nuts, you may wonder - can dogs eat cashews? Even if cashews aren't toxic to them, are cashews good for dogs? Can my dog eat cashew butter?
Below, we'll discuss whether or not your dog can safely eat cashews, the health benefits, and potential downsides. As with any new food, we recommend that you consult with your veterinarian prior.
Can Dogs Eat Cashews?
Some nuts are highly toxic to dogs, but cashews are considered safe for dogs to eat! You may even find them in dog foods and treats.
If you want to give your pooch cashews as a treat, ensure you keep counts as dogs should only eat them in moderation. While they have great nutritional value, those nutrients can cause problems if fed too frequently.
When in doubt or if you have a dog with an underlying health condition, it's best to consult with your vet before giving your pet cashews.
Health Benefits Of Eating Cashews
Compared to other human foods, cashews have incredible health benefits that both people and their pets can enjoy!
- Omega-6 Fatty Acids - These work to control inflammation across the body and create a smooth and silky coat.
- Fiber - Fiber is necessary for healthy and regular digestion. It also helps fight against weight gain by helping you feel full for more extended periods.
- Protein-Protein is a vital energy source and one your canine companion needs high levels of.
- Vitamins - Cashews are high in vitamin K, which is necessary for normal blood clotting and strong bones.
- Minerals - Calcium, copper, magnesium, iron, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc all help promote healthy circulatory, skeletal, and nervous systems!
The Downside Of Eating Cashews
Despite all of the nutrients in cashews, these tropical nuts aren't a normal part of a dog's diet, and there's nothing in them that dogs cannot obtain through a well-formulated dog food. In fact, eating cashews as treats can actually be a detriment to some dogs' health.
Cashews are high in fats, and they may be healthy fats, but they are still fats. If too many cashews are fed to your dog, you'll notice serious health problems from excess fat. If your dog is prone to pancreatitis, its pancreas may become inflamed as it meets more fat than it can break down. Symptoms of pancreatitis include decreased appetite, abdominal pain, stomach upset, and lethargy.
High Caloric Content
Because of their high levels of fat, cashews are also calorie-dense. Treats should never account for more than 10% of your dog's daily calories, but a single ounce of cashews will cover 160 calories in one go. If your pet is already struggling with obesity, it may be best to avoid feeding your dog cashews.
Nut allergies are more common and severe in humans than in dogs, but there's still a chance that your pet may have an allergic reaction. The first time you give your dog cashews, look out for symptoms of allergic reactions, such as itching, swelling, and hives.
Cashews can get stuck in a dog's airway or digestive tract, particularly for small breeds of dogs. If you have a small dog, consider cutting cashews into small pieces.
High Phosphorus Content
Cashew nuts are high in phosphorus. In dogs, it doesn't take much for there to be an overabundance of this vital mineral. Excess phosphorus can accumulate and harden inside your dog's bladder, causing bladder stones.
What Is The Best Way To Feed Dogs Cashews
The best and easiest way to feed your dog cashews is to give them a few raw cashews as an occasional treat. You don't need to do anything special to them! However, there are a few considerations to keep in mind.
Avoid Variety Packs
Never feed your dog cashews from a nut variety pack. Some nuts are extremely toxic to dogs, and it doesn't take much contact with those nuts to cause problems. For this reason, only feed cashew from a cashew-only nut bag and avoid contamination with other nuts.
Avoid Salt And Flavorings
Cashews are one of the more popular healthy human foods, and so you'll see many flavored or salted cashews on your grocery store shelves. It's important to avoid both of those. Salt is dangerous for dogs with heart disease, and too much salt can lead to salt toxicosis. Also, you will want to avoid any flavoring as they can contain toxic ingredients. Pet parents should only feed their dogs' unsalted cashews.
A little goes a long way with these tasty nuts. A handful of nuts may be a good snack for a human, but it will be entirely too much for a dog's stomach and digestive system. This is particularly true for small breeds! When feeding cashews to your dog, only offer 3 to 5 at a time. Remember, these are a treat, not a meal replacement!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Dogs Eat Cashew Butter?
Yes! However, you should be aware that much of the premade cashew butter available in the grocery store includes added sugars, oils, and salts. It would be best for you to make your own dog-safe cashew butter, and it's very easy to do so! Simply use a food processor to blend together a cup of unsalted cashews and a teaspoon of honey.
What Types Of Nuts Are Harmful To Dogs?
Not all nuts are safe for dogs. Nuts that are dangerous for dogs to eat include macadamia nuts, walnuts, almonds, hickory nuts, and pecans. Macadamia nuts, in particular, can cause serious illness.
What Are Healthy Alternatives To Eating Cashews?
Cashews aren't a bad human food to give your dog occasionally, but there are healthier alternatives that you can offer. Celery are crunchy and slightly sweet, like cashews, but low in fat and calories. Watermelon is a very hydrating option for hot summer days. Homemade dog biscuits can be made from whole wheat flour, eggs, peanut butter, and canned pumpkin.
Can Dogs Have Cashew Milk?
Dogs can have cashew milk as long as it doesn't contain other nuts or added sugar. As with any new food, be sure to consult with your veterinarian.