Which Nuts Are Safe for Dogs To Eat?

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11 min read
11 min read

Updated - Apr 5th, 2023

Packed with vitamins and minerals, nuts are a nutrient-rich snack enjoyed by humans. But can dogs eat nuts, too?

The short answer is that most nuts are safe for dogs, but not all. If your pup snags one or two nuts on the sly, that’s probably not a problem. However, some nuts are toxic and pose serious risks.

Key Points

  • Dogs can eat some nuts in small amounts, but not all. 
  • Dogs have a different gastrointestinal system than humans, and don’t process fats the same way we do. Since nuts are high in fat and calories, dogs should only eat them in small quantities. 
  • Dogs should not eat flavored or salted nuts. 
  • Don’t feed your dog peanut butter with added sugar or sneaky artificial sweeteners like xylitol.


Safe nuts for dogsUnsafe nuts for dogs
Brazil nutsAlmonds
ChestnutsMacadamia nuts
Pine nutsPecans

Safe nuts for dogs

Let’s take a closer look at some common nuts that are safe for dogs to consume in small amounts. 


Most dog parents think about peanuts first when considering a nut treat for their pup. After all, what dog doesn’t salivate over peanut butter? 

Peanuts, which are technically legumes rather than nuts, are safe for your dog. However, they do contain a high fat content that could pose problems for your pup’s gastrointestinal system. Giving your pooch an unseasoned roasted or boiled peanut or two likely won’t cause any issues, but large quantities of these tasty treats may. 

Like all nuts, peanuts can also cause choking or blockage issues. Since dogs gulp or gobble their food, nuts can become stuck in their esophagus or windpipe, or even cause an intestinal blockage. This is especially true for small breeds. When feeding your pooch, it’s better to eat small pieces of peanuts rather than the whole nut.

Peanut butter

Any treat aisle in a pet store will feature many doggie snacks flavored with peanut butter. These manufactured dog treats are safe for dogs to eat, because formulators have carefully rationed the amount of nuts in each portion – but when whipping up homemade treats for Fido, you have to be more careful. 

A spoonful of peanut butter is a common way for dog parents to easily give their dogs medication. This is fine if you use a small amount, but don’t overdo it. Too much peanut butter, and your canine companion could end up with an upset stomach or pancreatitis from the high fat content.

It’s also important to pay attention to the ingredients in the peanut butter or any nut butter. Steer clear of salts, sugars (especially artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes), and seasoning – all of which can cause problems for your dog’s tummy. 

Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in a few peanut butter brands, is very toxic to dogs if ingested. It can quickly make your dog very sick, sometimes in as little as 10 to 60 minutes. Symptoms of xylitol toxicity include dangerously low blood sugar, vomiting, weakness, staggering, and even seizures. Avoid any products your dog could get into that contain xylitol. 

Roasted cashews

Cashews are safe for dogs if roasted. Luckily, since they’re from the same botanical family as poison ivy or sumac, they’re mostly sold roasted. If you come across any raw cashews, don’t feed them to your pooch since ingestion can cause a toxic reaction.

Cashews also contain high amounts of fat and calories. For this reason, offer them sparingly. Too many could cause pancreatitis or a tummy ache. They also contain high amounts of potassium, which can create issues for dogs susceptible to urinary tract problems.

As always, be mindful of how you serve your pup this snack. Since cashews are large nuts, they can pose a choking or intestinal blockage hazard even for large breeds – but this is especially true for small breeds. It’s best to serve cashews in smaller pieces for your pup.

Roasted chestnuts

The American chestnut is a safe nut to offer your dog (not the horse chestnut, which is toxic to dogs). However, American chestnuts are very large and can present choking or blockage hazards. Your dog should only eat small portions of this large nut – and only if it’s roasted. 

Brazil nuts

These large nuts are safe for your dog. However, they’re the fattiest of the nuts. Eating one Brazil nut may not affect your large dog, but offering more could cause an upset stomach or the more serious issue of pancreatitis. For a small dog, eating even one Brazil nut could be unsafe.

Since Brazil nuts are so large, small breed dogs risk choking on them or experiencing intestinal blockage. Larger dogs aren’t entirely immune to this risk, either – make sure they don’t gulp their treat too quickly, and consider serving Brazil nuts in smaller pieces.

Pine nuts

These nuts are not toxic to your dog. However, they do contain high levels of fats and phosphorus, so offer sparingly. Too many can cause gastrointestinal upsets or even pancreatitis. The high phosphorus levels could also spell trouble for dogs susceptible to urinary tract problems.

Unsafe nuts for dogs

Below is a list of nuts that are not safe for dogs and should never be consumed by canines.


A dog’s digestive system can’t process almonds well – so while they aren’t toxic to your dog, they could cause gastrointestinal problems.

Almonds can also be a choking hazard if gobbled down quickly. The large size and shape of this nut could cause it to get lodged in the windpipe, esophagus, or intestines.

Almonds are a popular human snack, so many almonds sold in grocery stores contain salts, seasoning, or chocolate coatings. These ingredients can cause your pup several issues, like spiked blood sugar or salt toxicity. In short, almonds are not a safe treat option for your pooch.


The most common walnuts are black and English. Neither of them is completely safe to feed to your dog. Besides presenting the usual choking and blockage issues, there’s also a darker side to these nuts.

Walnuts (especially black walnuts) can contain juglone, a poisonous substance secreted by the roots of the walnut trees. Juglone can cause convulsions or seizures in dogs. 

Walnuts also can contain mycotoxins, toxic substances produced by molds and fungi that also may cause convulsions, seizures, or liver damage. If you have a walnut tree, make sure your pooch stays away from any moldy walnuts that have fallen.

English walnuts (most commonly used for cooking) are the safest of the walnuts and not toxic to your dog. They contain low levels of juglone, and are not as toxic as the black walnut. However, they also contain high fat and calories and should only be offered sparingly – and never whole. If you’re unsure what type of walnut you have in your kitchen cabinet, it’s always better to play it safe and leave the nuts for your brownies rather than your pooch. 


Pecan pie is a favorite on many holiday tables. However, pecans are not safe for your pup. Like walnuts, they often contain mycotoxins and juglone, which could cause convulsions, seizures, and liver damage in dogs. Make sure your furry friend steers clear of these toxic nuts.


Pistachios are a delicious and nutritious human food – but they aren’t an ideal dog snack. While they aren’t considered toxic to dogs, pistachios can contain juglone, aspergillus mold, or mycotoxins that can cause liver failure when ingested.

Pistachios can also be a choking or blockage hazard, especially if your dog grabs and gobbles any with the shells still on. 


Like pecans, walnuts, and pistachios, hazelnuts are risky because they may contain mycotoxins and juglone. It’s best to avoid sharing this popular nut with your dog.

Macadamia nuts

These nuts are toxic to your dog, regardless of whether they’re raw or roasted. Scientists don’t know why the toxicity level exists (much like with raisins and grapes), but studies have proven that dogs should never have macadamia nuts. There is no safe amount of these nuts for your dog.

Macadamia poisoning may be present if your dog shows signs of back leg weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, and more serious gastrointestinal problems.

Hickory nuts

These nuts are not safe for your dog for the same reasons as pecans, walnuts, pistachios, and hazelnuts. They can carry mycotoxins or molds that can cause convulsions and seizures. 

Tips for safely feeding your dog nuts

Even when feeding your pup nuts on the “safe” list, it’s important to keep some best practices in mind:

  • Limit portion sizes. Nuts are a high-fat and high-calorie food, which could spell trouble for your pooch – and even put them at risk of developing obesity down the line. Sharing too many nuts from your mixed-nut snack bowl could cause your pup to have a terrible tummy ache. In extreme cases, it could even cause pancreatitis: inflammation of the pancreas that results from an overload of fats in your dog’s diet. Acute pancreatitis is severe and requires veterinary care.
  • Look out for mold and fungus. All nuts run the risk of containing mold or fungus that can be toxic to your dog if ingested. This is especially true of raw nuts, so only offer your dog roasted or boiled nuts to be safe. Molds can also be present on old nuts – so that bag of nuts hiding in the back of your pantry is better thrown in the trash than offered as a treat for your dog.
  • Skip the seasonings. Many nuts are sprinkled with salts, spices, and sweeteners. These aren’t good nutritional options for your pooch, since dogs can’t process seasonings or salts; ingesting too much could cause salt toxicity or a bad tummy ache.
  • Avoid nutshells. Nutshells are never a good idea. They aren’t digestible and pose choking and blockage hazards. Their hard shells can also have sharp edges that may cause perforations in their intestinal tract, requiring emergency surgery.

If you can’t resist those puppy-dog eyes pleading up at your bowl of nuts, try feeding your fur baby unsalted, cooked, or roasted nuts. They’re the safest options for dogs.

How many nuts can my dog eat?

Even if your dog is nuts for nuts, it’s not the best idea for canines to eat too many. Nuts are high in fat, which can pose serious problems for your pooch if they overindulge. Too many nuts could lead to weight gain – or, it could cause pancreatitis, which may result in vomiting, diarrhea, and an upset stomach for your dog. 

Be sure to contact your veterinarian if your dog exhibits signs of pancreatitis, or if your dog ingests toxic nuts. Don’t make your dog throw up if you think they ate a toxic nut; instead call your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435) for help.

Some nut toxicity signs to watch out for include:

When in doubt about portion sizes, be sure to consult your veterinarian. They can provide personalized recommendations for how many nuts your pup can safely consume.

In a nutshell: Dogs can eat certain nuts

While some nuts are safe for dogs to consume in small amounts, others are highly toxic. Dogs should only eat safe nuts in small quantities. Never give your dog salted or flavored nuts – and if you decide to give your dog peanut butter, make sure it’s free of artificial sweeteners like xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. Always consult your veterinarian if your dog ingests a toxic nut, especially if they exhibit signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, or lethargy.

Besides their usual dog food, many other fruits and vegetables carry nutritional benefits for your beloved fur baby, like blueberries, bananas, broccoli, or pumpkin. There are hundreds of quick and easy treat ideas available on the internet that your pooch will love! Rather than offering them something that may carry a risk to their health, try a safe, healthy snack for your dog.

Unexpected trips to the vet can add up. A Pumpkin Dog Insurance plan can help pay 90% of vet bills for eligible accidents and illnesses.

Can dogs eat nuts FAQs

Which nuts are poisonous to dogs?

Nuts that are poisonous to dogs include almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, pecans, and walnuts.

Can dogs eat almonds?

No, almonds are not safe for dogs.

Can dogs eat cashews?

Roasted cashews are safe for dogs to eat in small quantities, so long as they’re unseasoned and free of added flavoring.

Can dogs eat pecans?

Dogs cannot eat pecans. Pecans contain juglone, which is highly toxic to dogs. 

Can dogs eat walnuts?

Like pecans, walnuts contain juglone, which can cause convulsions and seizures in dogs. Therefore, your pup should steer clear of walnuts at all costs.

Can dogs eat Brazil nuts?

Dogs can eat unsalted and unflavored Brazil nuts in small amounts.  

Can dogs eat macadamia nuts?

Macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs and should always be kept out of your pooch’s reach.

What should I do if my dog ingested a toxic nut?

If you think your dog got their paws on some toxic nuts, be sure to monitor them for any unusual behavioral signs such as lethargy, vomiting, or diarrhea. Immediately contact your vet if your dog exhibits such signs.

Lynn Guthrie

Lynn Guthrie

Writer, Mom of a Fab Fur Fam of Five
Lynn is a writer and long-time Learning & Development Manager at a large PNW retailer. She's also mom to 3 dogs & 2 cats!
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