You may not normally eat macadamia nuts as a snack, but they are all around us in baked goods. While it is tempting to give your dog a cookie as a treat, you really need to know the answer to the question – can dogs eat macadamia nuts?
As we’ve stated, you may not normally munch on macadamia nuts on purpose, but they are present in many other foods we consume. For example, they are regular ingredients in such things as cakes, muffins, cookies and are even added in some trail mix snacks.
But should you let your dog enjoy something that contains macadamia nuts? The simple answer is no. In fact, this nut variety happens to hold the top spot on many published lists of things not to feed your dog.
The Low Down On Macadamia Nuts
Macadamia nuts happen to be one of many human foods that are toxic to dogs. What is so interesting about macadamia nuts and their toxicity is that the actual reason why they are unsafe for dogs is yet to be fully understood.
Researchers and veterinarians have struggled to identify what it is about macadamia nuts that make them so bad for canines to eat. What complicates the matter further is that cats and humans have not reactions to the nuts.
Each food has a specific component contained within it that can be considered a trigger. That trigger may set off allergies or some other type of reaction. Toxic foods also contain triggers.
The challenge with macadamia nuts is finding what the trigger is that sets off the symptoms. Plus, there is no clear idea on what precisely is targeted within your dog by that yet to be identified trigger.
But what has been identified is that a small amount of macadamia nuts is all that is required in order to poison your pooch. Research has shown that as little as one-tenth of an ounce of macadamia nuts to two pounds of body weight can produce severe symptoms.
So, the easy way to remember this is to just refrain from feeding your dog anything that contains macadamia nuts. Even if you are unsure, the best thing to do is just avoid this issue altogether.
What Happens When You Feed Your Nutty Dog Any Macadamia Nuts?
There are several signs to watch for that will tip you off that Rover chomped on a muffin with macadamia nuts inside. Your dog is going to show signs of weakness. It is usually displayed in the hind legs.
Other symptoms include fever, tremors, vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. Depending on the size of your dog and the amount of macadamia nuts consumed, the severity of the symptoms will vary.
In some dogs the symptoms resolve themselves in a few days. Serous cases where your dog is constantly shaking, has a high fever and can’t walk translates to mean an emergency trip to your local vet clinic.
What Should You Do If Your Nutty Pooch Downs Some Macadamia Nuts?
Well, there are a few things you can do before you take that panicked rush trip to the vet. Before you get too worked up over the situation, you really have to spend some time making close observations.
One of the best ways to help your pooch deal with what is happening to his body is to administer activated charcoal or a cathartic. This will speed up the time it takes for the nuts to work their way through your dog’s digestive system.
The idea is to move them through as quickly as possible without harming your dog. If your dog has more severe symptoms, your best bet is to seek professional treatment at a vet clinic.
Again, if the volume of macadamia nuts ingested was large, treatment will have to be more aggressive. But there is a silver lining related to the possibility of your dog having some of these nuts.
Your dog, provided it is treated in a timely manner, is going to get through this and recover fully.
What Can You Feed Your Dog Instead of Macadamia Nuts?
There are actually a few nuts that are not toxic to dogs and they can chew on them frequently. The list includes peanuts, cashews and hazelnuts. The key to keep Rover from getting sick from these nuts is to feed them in moderation.
One of the benefits of the ‘good nuts’ for your dog is that they contain proteins that are typically good for them. Be sure that the nuts you do provide are unsalted and in the case of cashews, roasted is best.
Peanut butter is often a product selected to use with some dog toys to encourage interaction and play. While peanuts are not a problem for dogs, peanut butter does present other challenges.
Read the label to see what else is in the peanut butter and is your dog has food sensitivities, you may want to refrain from feeding any type of nut to avoid potential issues from developing as a result.
If you have a small breed dog, you may want to avoid feeding hazelnuts as they do present a choking hazard for smaller dogs.
You really have to read labels, even on snack foods. Just like humans can suffer from nut allergies, there are some nuts that are toxic to dogs – like the macadamia nut is. As they typically lurk inside other foods such as baking, you need to be very careful when enjoying something like a cookie or muffin if you have a four-legged friend your share you home with.
Fortunately, your nutty dog will start to act even nuttier if he happens to ingest even a tiny amount of macadamia nuts. The signs are obvious and should tip you off instantly that something isn’t right.
You can home medicate if the symptoms are not serious and your dog will be okay in a few days. However, if the symptoms are severe, you have no alternative than to make a trip to the veterinarian for proper treatment.
The upside is that although your dog will get poisoned from the nuts, recovery is normal. That is, if treatment is administered soon after the symptoms have been identified.
Another bonus is that if your dog goes nuts for nuts, you do have a few alternative choices available to you. All you have to remember is to not over feed the nuts you provide as treats.
Or you could just avoid the possibility of a problem developing by feeding your dog treats that do not include any kind of nut in the recipe. Seek advice from your local pet store or vet office.