Anyone who has ever owned a dog will know how tricky they can be. Selective deafness is a skill some canines take to the level of theatre. If they become engrossed by a particularly interesting sight or smell, they may well ignore your calls completely.
The other side of this coin is their unabiding attention when you’d rather be left alone. For example, when opening a packet of nuts, they’ll easily hear you from three rooms away. When looking into their pleading eyes, it’s only natural to relent, but is it safe? Can dogs eat cashews?
If this scenario sounds familiar, you’re not alone. When it comes to our beloved dogs, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Read on to find out more about what’s safe to treat your dog with, and about cashews specifically!
Can Dogs Eat Cashews?
The short answer to this conundrum is that yes, your dog can have a cashew or two from time to time. So long as they’re not salted or otherwise covered in flavoring, there ought not to be any problem with sharing them. This will come as a great relief next time your dog gives you that specific look that’s so hard to ignore.
It always makes sense to err on the side of caution in these matters. If you know anyone with a peanut allergy, for example, you’ll know an allergic reaction is no joke. Nut allergies do exist in dogs, but they’re uncommon and usually not life-threatening.
Even though they’re uncommon, it’s best to test the waters as cautiously as possible. While a cashew allergy is unlikely, give your dog a small piece of one cashew to start and observe them. If they develop itchy skin, begin wheezing, or act unusually, you’ll know cashews are a treat best kept to yourself.
If your dog appears unaffected and their normal gregarious self, it’s still a good idea to keep their nuts to a minimum. Nuts are high in fat, and not something typically found in a normal canine diet. One or two shouldn’t do any harm though, and will help stave off the worst of their plaintive glances.
The Nature of Canine Diets
It may come as some surprise that dogs are omnivorous and aren’t obligate carnivores. Despite the presence of their carnassial teeth (teeth specific to assist with the shearing of flesh) dogs aren’t picky eaters. If you’ve ever dropped a morsel of food on the ground, you’ll appreciate their interest in anything resembling food.
If you’re a dog owner you may have even had to deal with them swallowing something that didn’t resemble food at all. This speaks to the wide range of foods dogs are capable of eating, and just how tough their digestive tracts are. Their ability and willingness to eat almost anything is both an evolutionary advantage and disadvantage, however.
It falls to us as responsible owners to decide what our dogs eat and to use our discernment as human beings to ensure they don’t come to harm. Due to the nature of our modern world, dogs often come into contact with foodstuffs that they’d never find in a more natural environment. Keeping them away from food they’d never encounter in the wild and haven’t evolved to process is the key to keeping your dog happy and healthy.
When in Doubt, Think Twice
When faced with the enthusiasm your dog has for whatever’s on your plate, it’s only natural to want to give them a taste. We love our dogs and they’re a part of the family, after all. Sharing food is a fundamental part of being human, and how we ended up with domesticated canines to begin with.
Unfortunately, while dogs are capable of digesting a wide range of different foods, some of them are dangerous. Many of our favorite snacks are outright poisonous to dogs, so if you’re ever in doubt it’s best to wait until you’re certain before sharing. It’s uncomfortable to deny your dog a bit of your snack, but it’s always worth double-checking to avoid disaster.
A few moments of restraint before tossing them a morsel is all it takes to stave off making them sick. Especially when our phones are usually within reach, a quick search to determine if sharing is safe is good practice. With so much information available at our fingertips, there’s no excuse!
Have a Nontoxic Treat on Hand
If your dog is particularly fervent about sharing your food, a great strategy is to prepare in advance. When your dog sidles up to you expecting to be let in on the action, simply toss them a treat designed for dogs specifically. This takes a lot of the worry out of the equation, and your dog will be happy to snaffle it down instead of your chocolate pudding.
This strategy works wonders and takes minimal planning on your part. It’s as simple as buying a packet of treats and keeping them on hand for the inevitable moment your dog’s curiosity piques. When they appear between your legs looking hopeful, produce a dog-friendly treat from your pocket and they’ll quickly forget all about what you’re eating.
If your dog is particularly treat-hungry, you might want to step up your strategy so you can finish your meal in peace. This means keeping their attention occupied so you can enjoy your lunch without them hassling you. Your dog will have fun in their attempt and you and your food will be completely forgotten about for the duration!
There are many toys available for purchase to this end which make any treat a fun and engaging experience. Rather than simply handing your dog their favorite treat, these toys require your dog to put in a little effort for their reward. This usually means pushing the toy around as it rattles from within, only falling out once it pops through a hole by happenstance.
Food and Nuts to Avoid
While the odd cashew is no problem, some nuts are known to be dangerous and should never be given to your dog under any circumstances. Macadamia nuts are outright toxic to dogs and will cause nausea, vomiting, tremors, and even hyperthermia (overheating) after around 12 hours of consumption. Black walnuts are similarly dangerous and quickly induce vomiting and neurological symptoms.
The type of walnuts that are most commonly found in households and bought for baking are English Walnuts, which aren’t toxic to dogs. If you’re unsure which you’ve got, it’s best to wait until you’re sure. A good rule of thumb is to never give your pet anything you’re not completely certain of.
It’s not uncommon to give dogs our leftovers, or some foods that we wouldn’t deem edible for ourselves. Dogs are akin to hoovers in this regard and are oftentimes overjoyed to be allowed to indulge in whatever’s put in front of them. If you’ve got any old or moldy nuts it’s important not to feed them to your dog.
Moldy food in general should never be given to a dog as it will quickly induce tremors and ataxia, causing them to seem drunk. Moldy nuts are particularly toxic and can cause severe tremors, seizures, and even death. While your dog will thank you for the slice of stale bread or cold scrambled eggs you’re no longer interested in, if it’s moldy, throw it out!
While some nuts aren’t toxic to dogs, such as peanuts, almonds, and brazil nuts, they offer other dangers. Dogs aren’t known for their calm and thorough approach to eating their food. More often than not they’re content to wolf down what they’re given as fast as they can.
Nuts are the perfect shape to get caught in the esophagus when not chewed properly and can be a serious choking hazard. Also, while not directly poisonous, some nuts such as almonds and cashews can cause digestive issues when eaten frequently and in larger portions. Intestinal blockage can arise in such situations and can cause your dog significant discomfort necessitating a trip to the vet.
Trips to the vet are costly and emotionally draining, and the last thing either you or your dog want to go through. Fortunately, so long as you’re vigilant when it comes to what your dogs eat and do your research as to what’s safe, this sort of thing is easily avoidable. If you think there’s any chance your dog could choke, you can always break the nut up a little to help them along.
Give Treats With Confidence
Giving your dog a treat ought to be a fun experience for both of you, not a moment fraught with worry. Once you’ve checked online to make sure what you want to give your dog is safe, you’ll remember for next time. Just remember, a little caution goes a long way when disaster is so easily avoided.
If this article has helped to answer the question of “Can dogs eat cashews?”, but you’ve got more questions left unanswered, contact us today and we’d love to help!