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Can Dogs Eat Cashews?        

As one of the healthiest nuts for humans, cashews are a staple in many households. If you’ve see your dog eyeing this tasty snack, you may have wondered, “Can dogs eat cashews?” or “Can dogs eat foods made with cashews?” Yes, dogs can eat plain cashews, but there are some important things to keep in mind before tossing a few of them in your pet’s direction. Always consult your veterinarian before adding any new food to your pup’s diet to ensure it’s an appropriate snack for them.

Cashews—like most nuts—are high in fat. While dogs need some fat in their diet for body maintenance, growth and development, too much of it can lead to health problems in dogs, just as it can in humans.

A couple of nuts as an occasional snack are unlikely to cause problems for your dog, but—if eaten regularly or in large quantities—can lead to gastrointestinal distress, obesity and pancreatic inflammation. The small size and curved shape of cashews can also present a choking hazard for your pup since they can easily become lodged in the esophagus. For these reasons, you should avoid feeding your dog cashews. If your dog happens to get to a few cashews, however, there is no immediate risk of toxicity.

Are Cashews Good for Dogs?

Your next question might be, “Are there health benefits for dogs who eat cashews?”

The answer to this is, not really. 

Cashews offer no significant health benefits to dogs. While cashews are high in protein, the benefits of this protein are outweighed by their high fat content. Dogs should get all their required protein from a high-quality dog food. Commercially available dog food is nutritionally balanced, nutrient complete and formulated to meet your dog’s specific needs based on their age, breed and any underlying health conditions. If you decide to offer your pup cashews, feed them just a couple of nuts at a time and only on occasion.

 Can dogs eat salted cashews? Salt and other flavorings are often added to cashews to make them tastier, but that lowers their value as a dog snack. If your dog consumes a large number of cashews, all the added salt can cause health problems, including dehydration, excessive thirst and urination, vomiting, diarrhea, kidney problems, tremors and even seizures. Some spices that are commonly added to nuts can also cause gastrointestinal distress and other health problems such as kidney failure, anemia and death if dogs ingest them in large quantities.

Another risk of feeding cashews to dogs is that packaged nuts are often mixed with other nuts that may be toxic to dogs. Macadamia nuts are particularly problematic. These nuts contain an as-yet-unidentified substance that causes vomiting, weakness (especially of the back legs), fever, imbalance and tremors in dogs who eat them. Dogs can develop these signs after consuming as little as one tenth of an ounce of nuts per two pounds of body weight. Besides macadamia nuts, other nuts that are commonly mixed with cashews that can also pose a choking hazard to dogs who eat them quickly without chewing include peanuts, almonds and pistachios.

How to Feed Cashews to Your Dog 

Can dogs eat cashews safely? If you still want to offer your dog a cashew on occasion, here are the most important things to keep in mind:

  • Limit your dog’s intake of cashews to only a couple of nuts on infrequent occasions
  • Make sure that the cashew nuts you offer your dog contain no salt or other added seasonings
  • Ensure that there aren’t any other nuts, especially macadamia nuts, mixed in with the cashews
  • Monitor your dog closely after feeding them cashews to ensure they do not have an adverse reaction

FAQs about cashews and dogs

Cashews can be fed to dogs in small quantities infrequently if they are unsalted and don’t have any added spices. Roasted cashews often contain salt and seasonings that can cause stomach upset if your pup eats them. If fed frequently in larger quantities, salted cashews can cause even more significant illness in your pup by causing neurologic signs (such as tremoring and seizures), pancreatic inflammation and kidney failure. So, can dogs eat raw cashews? The answer is yes, as long as they are plain and offered in small amounts, infrequently.

Even feeding your dog too many raw, unsalted cashews can cause health issues. If your dog fills up on high-fat cashews instead of eating their regular dog food, they’ll miss out on nutrition they need to stay healthy. That’s why snacks, like cashews, which offer little to no nutritional value for your dog, should make up no more than 10 percent of your pet’s daily calories. In addition, any dog can become sick after eating cashews or other nuts if they have a food sensitivity or nut allergy.

Just like humans, dogs can experience sensitivities to nuts. While nut allergies in dogs are much less common than they are in humans, dogs’ allergic reactions to nuts can look the same as they do in humans. If your pet develops swelling or hives—or starts scratching more than usual—after consuming nuts, it’s possible that they are having an allergic reaction. In this case, if you’re asking, “Can dogs eat cashew nuts?” the answer for your pet is no.

The answer to the question, “Can dogs eat cashews safely?” often depends on how many and how often your canine eats them. While there’s no specific number of cashews that are safe for a dog to eat, more than a couple on very sparing occasions is likely too many for any dog. Nuts are high in fat and low in nutritional value. If eaten regularly or in large quantities, cashews can cause gastrointestinal distress, obesity and pancreatic inflammation.

While most varieties of nuts are not toxic for dogs to eat, nuts are high in fat and hard to digest. All this fat can also lead to obesity if dogs eat nuts too often. In general, more than a couple of any variety of nut is unhealthy for your dog.

There is one type of nut you especially want to avoid letting your pet get a taste of—macadamia nuts. They are highly toxic for dogs, even in small quantities, and can cause weakness in the back legs, fever, imbalance, tremors, vomiting and diarrhea.

See your veterinarian or an emergency vet right away if you believe your dog has eaten a macadamia nut.