Can dogs eat walnuts?
Such few dog owners really know the answer to this question.
And most of us, are baffled by the intricacies of different types of foods much more than we’d like to acknowledge.
And so, we thought, being the Can Dogs Eat GUIDE Blog that we are, why not answer this very important question today.
Can Dogs Eat Walnuts: The Perfect Wintery Snack
For us humans, walnuts are one of the many cute little nuts we like to munch on during the winter months.
I mean that whole creamy, buttery goodness of a walnut….
Ah, my mouth is watering just thinking about them
But what about our dogs? Sure, they may salivate at the sight of them and wag their tails asking for one. But are they safe for them?
Can dogs eat walnuts?
In a nutshell, yes.
There are certain very big limitations to this.
Can Dogs Eat Walnuts: Is It Safe?
Unfortunately, the answer to this can be a bit confusing to understand at times.
That is because it is simultaneously, both yes and no.
What does that mean?
Well, for starters, not all types are safe. At the same time though, there are varieties that could be perfectly safe for your pup.
One such variety are English walnuts. Mostly used for cooking, these types of walnuts do not contain any poison that could be harmful to your dog.
Can Dogs Eat Walnuts: The Poisonous Substance to Beware Off
Yes. That’s right.
Many walnuts, in fact- most walnuts, contain a substance known as juglone. A fact that is hardly surprising, considering that the scientific name for walnuts is Juglandaceae.
Okay, I’ll admit, not sure if the name of the poisonous substance has any correlation with the name of the actual species itself.
But be that as it may, walnut plants still contain a substantial amount of juglone that can be very poisonous to dogs. And humans too. Which is why, black walnuts are to be avoided AT ALL COSTS.
This applies to both humans as well as our dogs.
According to researchers, the primary reason behind the presence of this toxin is to protect it from predators and act as a natural herbicide for other plants that may take up precious area.
Almost all walnut plants contain prejuglone- a nontoxic compound. Over time, however, as oxidation reactions occur, the prejuglone gets converted to juglone thereby making the consumption of walnuts a very dangerous task.
Can Dogs Eat Walnuts: How Can Humans Eat Walnuts Then?
All this information may sound a tad bit frightening until you realize-
Humans have been eating walnuts since forever…
How is that possible?
Like I said earlier, not all types of walnuts are toxic to dogs. This is because while categories such as Black Walnuts contain a large amount of juglone, their counterpart, the English Walnut does not. Thereby making it perfectly safe for dogs (and humans) to consume.
Can Dogs Eat Walnuts: Are English Walnuts Perfectly Safe?
Or at least, not all the time.
The reason for this is that raw walnuts can still pose multiple risks to your pooch.
For instance, many nuts are prone to catching fungus when in their raw form.
Which is why, it is always a good idea to toast them a little before feeding these to your canine friend.
Can Dogs Eat Walnuts: What About the Fat Content?
Yet again, this is one factor that dog owners should really keep in mind.
The truth is, giving them a high fat diet not only puts our dogs at the risk of obesity, but can also act as a gateway for multiple other problems.
Some of these include pulmonary problems, brain functionality problems, lethargy, depression and well, pancreatitis.
To put things in perspective, a dog should have no more than 14 grams of fat per day. And even less so if they are already obese. At the same time, one ounce of walnuts contains 18 grams of fat!
Can Dogs Eat Walnuts: Walnuts as Treats
So, while your dog can have four to five walnuts as a treat from time to time, feeding them a hefty amount could potentially be disastrous.
And whilst all the aforementioned ideas are a reason for this, the major cause is the threat of pancreatitis.
This is because pancreatitis can develop very quickly in dogs and is often a deadly condition.
As it just so happens to be, researchers have linked sudden amounts of high fat content being introduced to a dog’s feed as one of the leading causes of this health condition.
Another similar problem which may arise if we’re not careful with the number of walnuts we give to our dogs is known as Bloat. Once again, this has been tied to a high fat intake.
Unlike pancreatitis though, Bloat can become very dangerous, very quickly. In fact, so rapid is its progression that it often tends to prove fatal for many dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Walnuts: Nutritional Perspective
Most nuts are very high in healthy nutrients.
The same goes for walnuts.
As it turns out, not only these a delightful treat to munch on but also a good source of good cholesterols and healthy fats. One of these is omega-6 fatty acid, also referred to as linoleic acid.
At the same time, walnuts are the only nuts that contain the healthy omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid.
But it doesn’t end there.
They may also act as a source of several vitamins and minerals that our bodies require. Some of these include copper, folic acid, Vitamin B6, Phosphorous, Manganese and Vitamin E.
Proteins too, comprise a significant proportion of the nutrients present in walnuts.
But the million-dollar question is:
Can our dogs get the same nutritional benefits as we might from these nuts? In other words, can dogs eat walnuts and benefit from these. Or, if we’ll only be feeding these to them for fun.
Luckily, the minerals and vitamins are good for our dogs. And so too are the proteins, however, when it comes to the immense fat content, we are once again urged to remain on the cautionary side when feeding walnuts to our dogs rather than to go all out.
In conclusion therefore, no. Your dog will not reap the same level of benefits from munching on these nuts as you yourself might.
Can Dogs Eat Walnuts: Fun Facts About Walnuts
Although it might have saddened you to find out that walnuts should not be the primary source of treats for your canine buddy, it might still be amusing to know that these nuts are packed with a flavorful history regardless, and a whole bunch of fun facts too!
- Walnuts contain more Omega-3 fatty acids than any other nut.
- Humans, it turns out, have been munching on walnuts for thousands of years. The Romans, in fact, used to write about all the medicinal uses of walnuts.
- Similarly, Greeks used to refer to them as karyon, meaning ‘head’ since walnut shells tend to resemble human heads.
- Overall, there are more than two hundred types of walnuts in this world!
Can dogs eat walnuts as treats?
Yes. But it’s best to feed them only a few at a time.
Can dogs eat walnuts if the walnuts have been toasted?
Yes! In fact, the best way to get rid of fungi etc. is to toast nuts before feeding them to your dog.
Can dogs eat walnuts if these are flavored?
Artificial flavorings are to be avoided at all costs since these can be very dangerous to dogs.
Can dogs eat walnuts every day?
Not really, no. It’s best to feed walnuts in very little amounts to your buddy. And doing so every day, kind of takes away from the whole point.
Can dogs eat walnuts with other nuts?
All nuts are high in fat content. Which is why, it is best to only feed one type to your dog at a time. And even then, be very minimalistic with it.
Can dogs eat black walnuts?
Absolutely NOT. Black walnuts contain a high amount of toxins and can be deadly to both you and your pet!