Can Dogs Eat Walnuts?

May 19, 2024 | Dogs & Puppies | 1 comment

Written by: Dmytro Kovalenko. โœ“ Medically verified by a licensed veterinarian: Mykhailo Ozmenchuk, DVM. Explore our editorial process.

Walnuts are packed with omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, making them a superfood for humans. But what about our doggies? Many pet owners are unaware that certain nuts, including walnuts, can pose significant health risks to dogs.

This article will explore whether dogs can safely consume walnuts, uncovering the potential hazards and occasional benefits. Whether you’re an experienced pet parent or a new dog owner, you must be informed about what goes into your dog’s diet. Let’s dive in and discover can dogs eat walnuts.

Are Walnuts Bad For Dogs?

Yes, walnuts can pose several risks to dogs, making them unsuitable for canine consumption. Their high fat content can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort and potential digestive issues. However, the concerns go beyond fat content; specific compounds found in walnuts can be toxic to dogs, raising alarm among veterinary experts.

While walnuts might be a delicious and nutritious snack for humans, the same may not be true for our canine companions. It’s crucial to be aware of two primary factors contributing to walnuts’ unsuitability for dogs: black walnuts and the potential presence of toxic mold.

Black Walnuts

Black walnuts are often found in backyards and parks, and their fallen nuts might be tempting for dogs. Ingesting black walnuts can lead to:

  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Vomiting
  • And more severe reactions in sensitive dogs

Additionally, juglone in black walnuts can further exacerbate the dangers of walnut consumption for dogs. Juglone is known to cause gastrointestinal issues, vomiting, and even more severe reactions in sensitive dogs.

Moreover, the potential for mold growth on walnuts, especially when stored in humid conditions, can introduce mycotoxins that harm a dog’s health, underscoring the need for utmost caution.

Symptoms After Eating Walnuts

Several symptoms may arise after a dog consumes walnuts, indicating potential health issues. It’s crucial to be vigilant and attentive to any changes in your dog’s behavior or well-being.

  1. Gastrointestinal Upset: Due to the high-fat content of English walnuts, dogs may experience vomiting, diarrhea, or general stomach discomfort. Watch for these signs of digestive distress.
  2. Lethargy: If your dog becomes unusually lethargic or lacks their usual energy levels after eating walnuts, it could indicate an adverse reaction.
  3. Loss of Appetite: A sudden loss of interest in food can indicate something is amiss. If your dog refuses to eat after consuming walnuts, it’s a cause for concern.
  4. Abdominal Pain: Dogs might display discomfort or pain in their abdominal area, often indicated by restlessness, pacing, or whining.
  5. Vomiting: Repeated vomiting, mainly if it occurs shortly after eating walnuts, can indicate that the nuts are causing irritation or other issues in the digestive tract.
  6. Diarrhea: Frequent or severe diarrhea can lead to dehydration and nutritional imbalances, so closely monitor your dog’s bowel movements.

The severity of symptoms can vary based on factors like the dog’s size, the amount of English Walnuts consumed, and individual sensitivity.

Knowing the correct dosage of medications like Benadryl can be crucial if your dog shows signs of allergic reactions. For safe administration, the Benadryl dosage for dogs is essential to read.

Accidents happen, and sometimes your dog might ingest something harmful like walnuts. It’s important to have a safety net to help manage potential veterinary costs. Learn more about dog insurance companies & plans to keep your pet protected.

If you notice any of these symptoms after your dog has eaten walnuts, it’s essential to contact your veterinarian promptly.


Safe Alternatives to Walnuts

While walnuts are not safe for dogs due to their potential health risks, many dog-friendly treats and nuts can be safely incorporated into their diet. It’s important to always consult with your veterinarian before introducing any new foods to your dog’s diet to ensure they are appropriate for your specific pet. Here are some safe alternatives:

1. Peanuts
Peanuts, in moderation, can be a tasty treat for dogs. Ensure they are unsalted and unseasoned. Avoid peanut butter containing xylitol, a sugar substitute toxic to dogs.

2. Cashews
Cashews are safe for dogs if unsalted and given in small quantities. They are lower in fat than walnuts and provide a good source of protein and essential vitamins.

3. Almonds
While not toxic, almonds can be hard for dogs to digest and may pose a choking hazard. If giving almonds, ensure they are plain, unsalted, and broken into small, manageable pieces.

While exploring safe treats and environment enrichments for your dog, you may wonder about the safety of other common household items, such as essential oils. , Find out are essential oils safe for dogs and be prepared.

While sharing snacks with your furry companion might be tempting, walnuts are unsafe for dogs. To prioritize your dog’s well-being, choose dog-friendly treats specifically formulated to meet their dietary needs.


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Can a small amount of walnuts be safe for my dog?

While a small amount of walnuts might not immediately harm your dog, it’s best to avoid giving them any. Even small quantities can pose risks due to their high fat content and potential for mold contamination. Instead, opt for dog-safe treats to ensure your pet’s safety and well-being.

What should I do if my dog accidentally eats walnuts?

If your dog accidentally consumes walnuts, monitor them closely for signs of distress such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or abdominal pain. Contact your veterinarian immediately, especially if your dog exhibits any symptoms.

Are there any nuts that are safe for dogs to eat?

Yes, some nuts, such as unsalted peanuts and cashews, are safer for dogs in moderation. However, it’s crucial to avoid giving dogs macadamia nuts, pecans, and walnuts, as these can cause various health issues. Always consult your veterinarian before introducing new foods into your dog’s diet.

How can I prevent my dog from eating walnuts in my yard?

To prevent your dog from eating walnuts in your yard, regularly clean up fallen nuts and consider fencing off areas with walnut trees. Training your dog with commands like “leave it” can also help discourage them from picking up potentially harmful items.

What are some safe alternatives to walnuts for my dog?

Many safe and nutritious dog-friendly treats are available. Consider offering your dog fruits like blueberries, apples (without seeds), and bananas. Vegetables like carrots and green beans can also be healthy and enjoyable treats. Always ensure the treats are appropriate for your dog’s dietary needs.


1. Clinical Signs Associated with Ingestion of Black Walnut Tree (Juglans nigra) Wood, Nuts, and Hulls in Dogs: This research details the specific clinical signs and potential risks when dogs ingest parts of the black walnut tree.

2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution: Learn more about the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids in diets, predominantly in humans, which is covered in depth.

3. Foods Indigenous to the Western Hemisphere: Explore a variety of foods native to the Western Hemisphere, their historical significance, and nutritional value.

4. Some Food Toxic for Pets: Knowing which foods are harmful to pets is crucial. This resource provides an extensive list of toxic foods to avoid.


1 Comment

  1. David J.

    My pup loves to snack on nuts, but I’ll make sure to keep the walnuts away from him from now on

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