Can Dogs Eat Pistachios? What You Need To Know

Can dogs eat pistachios?Every time I eat pistachios I’m reminded of my childhood Jack Russell who got a hold of a pistachio and appeared to be choking.

After taking a look I found he was not choking but instead had a pistachio shell lodged in his gums.

Eventually, after some effort, I was able to safely remove it.

This encounter has led me to answer the question “can dogs eat pistachios?”.

The quick answer is yes, but they are not recommended. There are dangers which we will cover below.

Pistachios For Dogs

Pistachios are a food that is okay for dogs to eat but have risks such as gastrointestinal distress, pancreatitis, and a potential choking hazard.

Dogs shouldn’t eat more than a couple at a time and should only be given them sparingly.

The shell should always be removed before giving any pistachios to your dog. It can cause an intestinal blockage or be a choking hazard for smaller dogs.

If your dog chews on the shell it can splinter. The splinters are sharp and can cause harm to your dog’s mouth or gastrointestinal tract.

If you give pistachios to your dog be sure that they are plain. Pistachios are often covered in salt and other flavors which can be harmful.

Though pistachios are generally safe, a good rule to follow is that all nuts should be off limits for dogs.

For example, nuts that are toxic and should be avoided at all costs include walnuts, pecans, and macadamia nuts.

Potential Dangers of Pistachios

Gastrointestinal Distress

Dogs cannot digest pistachios as easily as humans. They have a high fat content which can easily cause gastrointestinal distress and pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas which can occur when high amounts of fats are consumed. Due to the high fat content of pistachios, pancreatitis can occur relatively fast.

Symptoms of pancreatitis and gastrointestinal distress in dogs:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Difficulty breathing

Choking/Obstruction Hazard

As mentioned above, pistachio shells should always be removed as they can cause intestinal blockages or be a choking hazard if swallowed.

They can also splinter into sharp pieces potentially causing harm to your dog’s mouth or digestive tract.

Fun fact: Pistachios are related to the mango and poison ivy.

My Dog Ate Pistachios. What should I do?

If your dog has only eaten a few pistachios they should be fine. Just be sure to keep an eye on them for any signs of choking, obstructions, or digestive distress.

If your dog eats too many pistachios they will most likely have some gastrointestinal distress such as diarrhea or vomiting, but usually nothing too serious. 

However, lets say your dog somehow ate your entire package of pistachios, then you should definitely contact a veterinarian immediately.

If they have eaten a large amount of pistachios with the shells this can be quite serious as there is a high likelihood of an intestinal blockage.

Fun fact: Pistachios get their green and purple hue from antioxidants.

Pistachio Nutrients

Pistachios are a very nutritious and healthy snack for humans. They are loaded with protein, fat, and fiber.

They are also an excellent source of vitamin B-6, thiamine(vitamin B1), copper, potassium, magnesium, and iron.

Unfortunately, because of the high fat content, dogs are unable to enjoy the full benefits of pistachios. The small amount a dog would be allowed to eat would only have a fraction of the benefits.

Conclusion: Can Dogs Eat Pistachios?

“Can dogs eat pistachios?” is a question I am happy to answer considering the incident my own dog had with them.

Though they can eat them, pistachios for dogs are not recommended. Pistachios, as nutritious as they are, have a very high fat content which can cause gastrointestinal upset or pancreatitis in dogs.

The shells can also be a choking hazard. If a canine chews them they can splinter into sharp pieces causing harm to their mouth or digestive system if swallowed.

If you decide to give your dog pistachios be sure to do it in moderation and always remove the shells.


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