Perhaps you like to eat pistachios before going to bed to help improve sleep quality and duration. It is an excellent solution to sleep issues. But is it also suitable for your favorite pet—your dog?
There is no definitive answer to whether pistachios are suitable for your dog as it depends. These nuts are rich in nutrients and health benefits, yet their high-fat content makes them unsuitable for dogs. This article explores reasons for and against feeding pistachios to your furry friend.
Can Dogs Eat Pistachios
Dogs can eat pistachios in moderation. While these nuts are not toxic to pets, they contain so much fat that they can cause health complications. Excessive fat consumption could cause obesity and diabetes, and heart disorders among dogs.
Yet, pistachios offer various evidence-based health benefits to dogs. These nuts are rich in antioxidants that minimize cell damage, improving the oxygenated blood flow across the body. Its common antioxidants include zeaxanthin and lutein, which will enhance eye health.
Pistachios are also rich in dietary fiber, which promotes healthy gut bacteria. These bacteria reduce the risk of cancer, heart disorders, and digestive complications. In addition, it is high in amino acids and proteins, which aid muscle development and strengthening. They also dilate vessels, improving blood flow.
Why Pistachios Are Unhealthy For Dogs
Regardless of the multiple health benefits, pistachios remain unsafe for dogs. They contain significant salt and additives that trigger vomiting, diarrhea, incoordination, and muscle tremors. Here is a breakdown of what each ingredient in pistachios causes.
Pistachios contain a substantial amount of salt that causes vomiting, lethargy, tremors, and excessive thirst. Excessive salt in the bloodstream enhances fluid retention, causing kidney complications. In addition, extreme fluid retention increases fatality risk among dogs with heart conditions.
Excessive Phosphorous Content
Pistachio has a high phosphorous content that can trigger kidney issues, including forming bladder stones. Symptoms of excess phosphorous in the body include diluted urine, increased urination, dehydration, excessive thirst, and renal failure. This issue worsens among dogs with hyperphosphatemia.
Improper food chewing is common among dogs. If this happens when eating pistachios, it could be a choking hazard since the nuts are hard and sizeable. The shells could also break into sharp, jagged, or piercing pieces that can puncture the gastrointestinal tract and intestines.
Pistachios contain a substantial amount of fats and calories. Excessive consumption of these elements increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, arthritis, and pancreatitis. In some cases, these fats exacerbate renal diseases in dogs.
Since pancreatitis is the most likely condition dogs will sustain, you must watch out for various symptoms, including the following.
- Lethargy, fatigue, and weakness
- Swollen and painful abdomen
- Significant weight and appetite loss
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Breathing difficulties
- Heart arrhythmias
Poorly preserved pistachios could develop aflatoxins, which are carcinogenic mycotoxins that could cause death among dogs. Feeding your dog these pistachios causes pistachio poisoning, exposing your pet to aflatoxins and other toxins.
Significant exposure to aflatoxins causes gastrointestinal complications, obesity, and pancreatitis in dogs. You’ll witness dehydration, diarrhea, vomiting, and greasy stool if your dog overindulges in improperly preserved pistachio. In addition, aflatoxin poisoning causes jaundice, lethargy, appetite loss, and liver failure.
Pistachio could also contain a chemical called urushiol, which triggers multiple allergic reactions in dogs. This chemical causes sores and itchiness, particularly around the mouth and face.
You’ll need professional help once you notice the signs mentioned above. The vet will help examine and diagnose the condition by checking your dog’s vomits, urine, and stools. Additional testing, such as x-rays and ultrasound, will be necessary if more serious symptoms are observed. These x-rays and ultrasound shall reveal pancreas enlargement or fluid accumulation.
Different treatment options are available, including IV fluids for dehydration. Prescribed medications, including anti-nausea, antibiotics, and pain management medications, are also essential in alleviating specific symptoms.
What Do I Do If My Dog Eats Pistachios?
Preventive measures are the best way to control pets from eating pistachios and getting poisoned. Yet, despite the efforts, the dog will sometimes find a way to eat these pistachios. In such instances, you’ll react based on whether the pistachios have shells, their age, and the amount consumed.
Suppose the amount consumed is significantly low. In that case, it would be best to monitor the dog for a while before indulging a vet. However, excessive consumption could put your dog at risk, meaning you’ll need instant professional help. Your dog will likely exhibit unusual urination, dehydration, excessive thirst, and diarrhea in such instances. Once you notice the signs, call a vet.
You might also want to confirm the age of the pistachios, including how they were stored. Old and poorly kept pistachios might have aflatoxin, which is toxic to dogs. Pistachio poisoning causes lethargy, jaundice, liver failure, appetite loss, and vomiting. You’re required to seek medical help once these symptoms increase.
The dog’s breed might also determine the urgency of medical help. For instance, pistachio nuts can block the intestines of small breed dogs, causing multiple digestive and nutritional complications. Comprehensive medical assistance suffices in such cases. However, you might need to watch for signs of aflatoxins in more giant breeds.
Once a vet steps in, you’ll need to provide critical medical history details on your pooch. The idea is to identify issues that could complicate the treatment. This professional shall examine the puppy vomits, blood, stool, and urine to establish the presence of these aflatoxins. An ultrasound shall help determine whether the GI tract is punctured and if there is accumulated fluid in the abdomen.
Here is an expert tip: you’ll need multiple visits to the vet if your dog has a health condition. This could be costly, meaning a pet insurance cover is handy and protects you against unforeseen pet health expenses.
Other Nuts To Avoid
Pistachios are not the only nuts your dog should avoid. Macadamia, walnuts, and pecans are popular nuts that can affect your dog’s health if eaten.
Macadamia nuts are fat-rich, causing lethargy, joint stiffness, muscle wasting and tremors, vomiting, and nerve damage. These nuts can also overstimulate the pancreas, resulting in pancreatitis.
It is not recommended to give walnuts to your dog intentionally as they are hard to digest and can cause gastrointestinal distress and blockage, obesity, lethargy, and pancreatitis.
Pecans carry various molds and toxins that cause gastrointestinal distress and neurological issues. While these molds might not be dangerous to human beings, they are fatal for dogs.
Pistachios are not an excellent choice for your dog. While they offer a few health benefits, adverse effects outweigh them. They cause various complications, including obesity, pancreatitis, and renal complications. Ensure that you get medical help once you notice the symptoms mentioned above.
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