Can Dogs Eat Pecans? Are These Nuts Safe for Our Doggos?

can dogs eat pecans

Canines love treats! Most dogs have an appetite for a variety of human-grade meals. But when it comes to sharing your pecan pie with your dog, a little caution goes a long way. Some foods that we eat can be given to dogs as well. Various fruits, vegetables, and grains are okay for your furry friend and generally won’t cause harm (check out our food page for more info). But can dogs eat pecans? Are plain pecans toxic for dogs? And what should you do if your dogs eat pecans by accident? Read on to find out all the answers!

Are Pecans Toxic to Dogs?

Unfortunately, yes. Of course, it’s hard to think of pecans being toxic. While pecans are a widely popular snack and have many health benefits for humans, the composition of these nuts could cause problems for dogs.

A naturally occurring toxin called juglone is a compound found in pecans and walnuts. This compound is considered toxic for dogs. And since juglone is found in various parts of pecans, dogs can get sick from consuming this type of kernel. Juglone can cause several gastrointestinal (GI) issues for your dog, such as vomiting and diarrhea. And in some cases, the GI symptoms can escalate in severity or become fatal.

It’s important to note that you can give your dog several other snacks and different human foods in moderation. You may want to learn more if you’re considering macadamia nuts, cashews, pistachios, peanut butter, or coconuts for your dog. With any addition to their diet, it’s important to ask a vet before serving new items to your pup. Your dog’s health and safety are paramount, and consulting a vet immediately can save your pooch from severe signs of nut allergies or life-threatening diseases.

dog eating pecans

What Are The Nutritional Risks If Dogs Eat Pecans?

Pecan nuts have great nutritional value as far as humans are concerned. Who doesn’t love a good trail mix? Typically a great source of healthy fats and several vitamins, pecans generally make for a fantastic human treat chock-full of energy. However, when it comes to your canine friend, even a few pecans can pose several risks. Chief Veterinary Officer for the American Kennel Club, Jerry Klein, cautions that pecans are not safe for canines, and dogs don’t have to eat many pecans to get sick. 

Increased Risk Of Pancreatitis If Dogs Eat Pecans

In addition to juglone, pecans contain a considerable amount of oil as well as a high-fat content. The fat and oil are harmful to a dog’s digestive system and can lead to a condition commonly referred to as pancreatitis. It’s an inflammatory reaction that occurs within the pancreas leading to symptoms such as vomiting, lethargy, and abdominal pain. An enzyme within the pancreas is activated early due to inflammation, leading to the pancreas digesting itself.

Sometimes, suspected pancreatitis symptoms in dogs can manifest as dehydration. It’s critical for a veterinarian to see them in this case to limit any further deterioration of their health. You can find out more information about when to take your dog to the vet here.

Risk Of Mold Ingestion

Pecans are similar to walnuts in several ways, one of them being their susceptibility to growing mold. With how easily mold can grow on pecans, even a fresh bunch can have a toxic effect on your dog. In fact, certain varieties of mold that can proliferate on pecans are notably dangerous varieties that contain toxic substances such as tremorgenic mycotoxins.

Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites that can lead to human and animal diseases. Exposure or ingestion of mycotoxins by dogs can cause neurological issues, seizures, tremors, ataxia, or hyperthermia. In some situations, the consumption of moldy pecan nuts can even lead to death.

In addition to mycotoxin, aflatoxin is another natural poison produced by the mold Aspergillus. Aflatoxins can be derived from various tree nuts. As for pecans, aflatoxin poisoning can result from the Aspergillus mold that forms on pecan shells.

Consuming moldy pecans leads to a greater risk of your dog being affected by aflatoxin. Ingesting this toxin can result in vomiting, sluggishness, jaundice, a loss of appetite, or other digestive issues


Should You Be Worried If Your Dog Eats Pecans?

What should you do if your dog eats pecans? It’s often difficult to control pets from their natural tendencies to explore and eat things off the ground. And it’s likely you won’t have your eyes on all their activities throughout the day. Assuming you have various nuts within your pet’s reach, your dog may ingest enough pecans to fall sick. 

There’s no need to panic if your dog accidentally consumes a few pecans in a one-off scenario. But knowing your dog’s behavior around food and the fact that you can’t keep an eye out all the time, it’s best to keep nuts and nutty snacks away from dogs.

While dogs can resist small amounts of pecans or pecan pie, the possible mold growth and chemical toxins can have some notable and unpleasant effects. Not to mention the fact that pecans are small in size and can pose choking hazards. So while one-off accidental ingestion can be safe for dogs, it’s best to keep such items out of reach as it doesn’t take a lot of pecan nuts to make your dog sick.

What To Do If Your Dog Has Eaten Pecans

If your dog has eaten pecans, especially more than just a few dropped on the floor, what should you do? Are there any signs to look out for? Yes. 

Several major symptoms present themselves when dogs eat pecans. These include vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. Such symptoms can typically be the most your dog has to deal with in less dire situations. But they’re usually the earlier signs of sickness. It’s important to look out for factors such as yellowing of the eyes and gums, blood in the vomit or stool, or even frequent bowel movements and/or urination.

If your dog has eaten too many pecans, your first priority should be to get in touch with your dog’s veterinarian right away. You can also contact the nearest emergency animal clinic for immediate help. 

are pecans safe for dogs to eat

Conclusion: Can Dogs Eat Pecans?

So can dogs eat pecans? The unfortunate truth is that pecans don’t fall into the safe-for-dogs category. Like walnuts, pecans have certain qualities and components that may harm your pooch. The presence of juglone along with a high fat and oil content make pecans unsafe for dogs. Pecans can also have a natural poison called aflatoxin present on shells.

While it’s okay if your dog somehow swipes a single pecan or two off the floor, it’s not a good idea to serve pecans or snacks containing pecans to your pooch. Common health issues in dogs from consuming pecans include mold ingestion and pancreatitis. Dogs can become critically ill even by ingesting a small amount of these otherwise popular kernels. The best approach is to keep these and other nuts stored in a safe place out of your dog’s sight.

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