Dog eating walnuts from a bowl

Can Dogs Eat Walnuts? No, And…

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Dogs love to try new foods, and our furry friends are often curious to test out human snacks. In some instances you may be wondering what foods can dogs not eat?

One food that may tempt your dog is walnuts. Walnuts are aromatic and delicious, so your dog is sure to want a sample. You may be wondering: are walnuts bad for dogs? While walnuts aren’t inherently poisonous to dogs, they should still be avoided.

There are various risks to consider when feeding your dog walnuts. Read on for a complete guide on feeding your dog walnuts.

Can Dogs Eat Walnuts?

No, your dog shouldn’t eat walnuts.

Technically, walnuts are safe for your dog to eat. However, walnuts are susceptible to molds that are quite toxic to dogs. A fresh, clean, grocery store walnut should be safe for your dog to eat. That being said, a safe walnut will likely still cause your dog indigestion and probably isn’t worth it.

Never let your dog eat walnuts from the wild, as they are highly likely to have some kind of toxic mold inside. Your dog should also avoid black walnuts, a subtype of walnut that is poisonous to dogs.

Are There Any Safety Concerns Feeding Walnuts to My Dog?

If you were curious about “can dogs eat walnuts?”, know that the primary safety concern when feeding walnuts to your dog is mold. Walnuts from the wilderness often have types of mold that are toxic to dogs. If your dog eats a wild walnut, you may need to take them to the veterinarian.

Grocery store walnuts usually aren’t dangerous for dogs to eat. However, walnuts are hard for dogs to digest, causing vomiting and diarrhea. If your dog is on the smaller side, a walnut can cause an intestinal blockage.

Walnuts are too high in fat for a healthy dog’s diet. Regularly feeding your dog walnuts can lead to serious health conditions like pancreatitis.

Finally, although grocery store walnuts won’t have mold, they will probably have salt or other seasonings that won’t agree with your puppy. With all these factors in mind, it is a good idea to avoid giving your dog walnuts.

How Many Walnuts Can I Feed My Dog?

If you do give your dog walnuts, you should only give your dog small, occasional servings. A single walnut every once in a while would probably be safe, but any more could cause health problems.

Keep track of whether walnuts cause your dog indigestion. If they do, stop feeding your dog walnuts. Indigestion caused by walnuts could lead to other chronic health issues.

How To Prepare Walnuts for Dogs

Walnuts don’t require much preparation when feeding them to dogs. Make sure the walnuts are fresh, clean, and don’t have any added ingredients. If your dog is small, you may want to break up the walnut first, as the large nut could be a choking hazard.

Tips from Our Vets

The following is a list of tips on how to think about what human foods are (and may not be) safe for your dog from Dr. Jennifer Coates’ article on Foods Dogs Can and Cannot Eat.

There are some human foods that dogs can eat safely, as well as some human foods dogs can’t eat.

If you have a dog, you might be used to seeing adorable puppy eyes begging for a bite of, well, anything that you happen to be eating.

While it’s natural to want to share human food with your furry pal, many of the foods we eat are toxic to dogs. Some reasons foods may be harmful to your pup include:

  • Foods that are a problem due to our physiological differences (foods we can handle that a dog’s stomach can’t)
  • Other foods aren’t toxic, but are still potentially dangerous for dogs because they are hard to digest
  • Another category of foods that are a problem for dogs are foods that may contain high levels of fat

Some tips and words of caution if you are feeding your pet human foods:

  • Always keep in mind that new foods of any kind, including switching to a different dog food, can cause stomach upset.
  • When you find a human food you’d like to share with your pup, go slowly. Give small amounts at first and watch for any problems like vomiting or diarrhea before giving more.
  • Remember that treats should make up less than 10% of your dog’s diet. So all of the foods that are safe for your dog should be given in moderation to avoid weight gain and nutrient excesses and deficiencies.

What To Do if Your Dog Eats Something He Shouldn’t

Now that you know what foods are safe for dogs, it’s a good idea to know what to do if your pup eats food that’s toxic to dogs.

If your dog does end up eating something he shouldn’t, try not to panic. You have a few options for getting the help your dog needs:

  • The first is to call your dog’s veterinarian, who can advise you to either come into the office or to watch for signs of poisoning, obstruction, or other potential problems.
  • If it’s after hours, you can try calling an emergency veterinarian.
  • Another option is to call a pet poison control line. Be aware that there is a fee to use these services. Two that we can recommend are the ASPCA Animal Poison Control at (888) 426-4435 and the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661.

In some cases, you might be told to induce vomiting in your dog. It is helpful to keep hydrogen peroxide on hand in case you need to do this.

Do not induce vomiting unless your veterinarian or someone from one of the pet poison control hotlines advises you to do so, however, because in some cases, vomiting can make the situation worse. [efn_note]Is it ever safe to induce vomiting? ASPCA.org. November 19, 2019. Accessed April 28, 2021.[/efn_note]

Final Thoughts

Walnuts aren’t the worst thing to feed your dog, but they certainly won’t provide any nutritional benefits to your pet. At best, a walnut will only cause mild indigestion. Even if your dog begs you to share, they will thank you in the long run for protecting them from stomach aches and other more serious health risks.

You can also learn more about the foods your dog should and shouldn’t eat in our series of guides on the topic, including whether your dog can eat bread, beets, ice cream, peppers, or plums.

Beyond that, you’re likely also interested in the quality of your dog’s food and your pet’s health, in addition to having questions about what your dog can and can’t eat. We happen to have a ton of resources on these very topics!

One is our guide which will teach you how to add fiber to a dog’s diet, along with or our guide to choosing the high fiber dog food. If you’re looking into dog upset stomach we have a guide for that as well, and we can even help answer how long does it take a dog to digest food?. If you’re portioning your dog’s food you can also check out our guide to choosing the best automatic dog feeder.

We also have a series of health and nutritional information for your dog. Our dog weight calculator and our answer to how heavy should my dog be? can help you determine if your dog is the proper weight and size, and we even have a collection of breed-specific growth charts such as our goldendoodle growth chart, great dane growth chart, golden retriever growth chart, chihuahua growth chart, or our labrador growth chart.

Pet News Daily Staff
Pet News Daily writers are experts in pet care, health and behavior. We are members of Society for Professional Journalists and practice ethical journalism.