Can Dogs Have Pecans? Are Pecans Bad For Dogs?


can dogs have pecans

For humans, pecans are one of the more popular nuts out there. They can be snacked on by themselves, or be part of a bigger recipe like pecan pie or pecan ice cream. Humans have loved them for centuries, but nuts can be hit or miss with dogs.

Before sharing a few bites with the pet, it is important to do basic research on any type of food. That is particularly true for nuts since some are potentially fatal for canines.

Can dogs have pecans?

Pecans are not a suitable nut option for dogs. Even a few pecans still come loaded with toxins such as aflatoxins or juglone. Both of these can cause pretty serious issues for dogs and may also lead to a risk of death.

a bowl of pecans

How do dogs process pecans?

The pecan comes from trees, and their shells are notoriously hard to crack. That is why they are generally sold out of their shells, making it easy to snack on or use in different recipes.

Pecans offer 19 vitamins and minerals, healthy fats, and have even shown to lower cholesterol in humans. That is a big reason why they are so popular. Couple that with the fact that they go well with sweets, and it has turned into a very popular nut. That might be just fine for humans, but dogs do not process the nut quite the same way.

The first toxin that can cause problems in pecans is juglone. This naturally found toxin makes its way in a few different nuts, but it is usually not enough to harm humans. For dogs, it is a little different, as it does not take much for a dog to feel effects. The more pecans a dog eats, the higher risk they have of having some serious complications.

Another natural poison found in pecans that is very hard for dogs to process is aflatoxin. The toxin is entirely harmless for all humans, except for those who have severe nut allergies. However, just a little bit of mold can create a problem with pecans for dogs. This mold might not even seem noticeable initially, but it can intensify in a hurry once inside a dog.

Dogs are not going to have trouble processing pecans instantly, but if they have had too many, it is usually noticeable within that same day. They might show some early symptoms, which buys some time for owners who want to make sure that they keep everybody as safe as possible.

How many pecans can a dog eat safely?

Experts recommend staying away from pecans when possible, but there might be an instance where a dog has a few. If they only consume one or two pieces of the nut, or maybe a bite of pecan pie, they are likely going to be just fine.

That means it is not necessary to freak out if a dog finds some crumbs on the kitchen floor, or they steal a single pecan from their owner. With that said, a person should always be paying attention to how the dog is reacting if they have any worries whatsoever. It might not seem like that big of a deal, but some dogs are more prone to having health issues than others. Age also puts dogs at a bit more risk, as the pecan problems can mix with other health issues they might be going through.

a hungry dog

Can dogs pass away from eating pecans?

Unfortunately, pecans have proven to be lethal in certain situations. This only tends to happen if they consume a lot of pecans at once, and owners ignore warning signs.

Getting treatment is the key. Right after dogs show warning signs, veterinarians can hook them up to IV fluids, give them medication, or even more drastic measures if necessary. 

What should a person do if their dog has consumed a lot of pecans?

Nothing is scarier than coming home to a dog near an empty container of pecans. It is an owner’s worst nightmare, especially if they know just how much trouble pecans can cause.

The first thing to do is to find the dog if it is not nearby. Canines might be in hiding if they are struggling from a health perspective, which makes it even more essential to find them as quickly as possible. Check for some of the early warning signs, and contact a veterinarian right away if they are struggling already.

If they are not showing any symptoms at this stage, it does not mean that they are in the clear just yet. No one knows how recently they consumed the pecans, so it might not be kicking in just yet. However, while keeping one eye on the dog, this is a good time to invest the remnants of the pecans and try to guess how many they consumed.

Take a look at the container, and try to guess what it looked like before the dog got its paws on it. If there are any remaining pecans, check to see if there are any traces of mold whatsoever. If there is mold, the chances of complications increase, and it makes it all the more important to monitor the dog for the rest of the day.

If it ends up being that a ton of pecans are missing, the best step is probably to reach out to a veterinarian even without the dog showing any symptoms. They will be able to check essentials and see if there is anything they can do now to be proactive about it.

When taking care of the dog, make sure to be extra careful and not panic that much around them. Dogs may already be feeling ill, and anxiety can catch up to them as well. A few dogs enjoy going to the vet, so getting them there as quickly as possible while staying calm will keep everything under control.

bag of pecans

What are the first warning signs dogs will show if they are ill from pecans?

Dogs are often pretty lazy after eating pecans, but that might be hard to gauge with as much as dogs asleep anyway. That is why the more telling signed might be vomiting or diarrhea. These symptoms happen fairly quickly, so make sure to check around the house to see if they already vomited somewhere else.

In the long term, make sure to inspect their vomit and stool. If there is blood in either, it is time to take the dog to a vet to go through further checks. If it intensifies, it is also a warning sign that things are getting worse, not better.

Other signs that take a little longer to develop include the yellowing of eyes, urine looking a different color, and a significant change in behavior. These are all signs that there may be something wrong with the liver, and acting quickly can help prevent something serious from happening.

What precautions should a person take when hiding pecans from dogs?

Any person who enjoys eating pecans but does not want to put their dog at risk should be very aware of where they store them at all times. Make sure that they are in a container that fully closes, and is not particularly easy for dogs to get into. Putting them in a cabinet offers up another line of defense in case the dog gets bored and tries to break in.

To keep them from wanting to eat the pecans, never give them a taste at any point. By doing this, it prevents them from ever knowing if it is good or bad, and it might reduce their drive to get into them. There is also the option of just not keeping pecans around, but that would force humans to change their eating habits for the sake of the dog.

What are some alternatives to pecans that are safe for dogs?

Perhaps the most well-known nut that is relatively safe for dogs in small amounts is the peanut. They particularly enjoy peanut butter, and peanuts do not have the same type of toxins that a lot of other nuts have. It still is a pretty fatty nut that can cause some trouble if dogs eat a lot of them, but they are excellent as a snack.

Chestnuts and hazelnuts are two other options that are worth treating dogs with if they show interest. Everything works out better in moderation, but there is nothing wrong with giving them a small treat. With any nut, make sure to minimize any coating such as salt, or remove it altogether. Too much sodium in a dog’s diet can lead to unnecessary complications.

happy dog running

So, are pecans bad for dogs?

Feeding pecans to dogs, even in the smallest amount, is not considered a good idea. There are plenty of other snack options out there that humans and dogs can share a lot more safely. Go with those options instead, and do not run the risk of possibly facing some pretty severe health issues with the dog.

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.

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