Nuts are some of the most nutritionally dense and healthy foods that we can eat. That delicious fatty flavor is something that most of us really adore. Nuts are full of protein, minerals, and other compounds that boost our health. They are also really versatile. We use them in almost everything we desire to add a flavor of nutty goodness.
The almond itself is one of the most popular nuts. But they are still not as popular as the peanut. However, their popularity is ever growing at an astonishing rate. They are becoming our snack of choice for many.
Today many pantries contain almonds. This means that our pets are now constantly exposed to almonds. But there is a lot of discussion going on about whether almonds are good for pets. The number one question is usually "can dogs have almonds?"
The short answer is yes although it is not recommended that you feed your dog whole almonds. It is best to crush them up first since whole almonds tend to splinter when chewed and this can damage the dog's esophagus and digestive tract.
In terms of toxicity, almonds are just as safe for your dog as peanuts—that is, there is little to no risk of poisoning associated with eating the occasional almond. So if your dog chomps down a nut or two don't panic. But remember that dogs too can have nut allergies. If you are at all concerned about this you can have your veterinarian text the animal for such allergies.
And if you do decide to offer almonds to your dog start slowly. Give just one or two nuts a week for a few months. If all goes well you can double that and go for another few months. Just don't go overboard. Limit your pet's nut intake to no more than 10 or 12 nuts per week.
What Are the Health Benefits?
There are a lot of potential benefits associated with feeding this ultra-healthy nut to people, and it is not unreasonable to believe that many of these benefits may apply to our canine companions, too. Unlike cats, dogs are omnivores, which means that they are able to extract nutrition from plant sources—including nut-based foods.
One reason to give almonds to your pet is that they are high in Vitamin E. This vitamin can have a powerful effect on your dog’s overall health because of the role it plays in immunity.
Supplementation of Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, has been linked not only to a decreased incidence of common infections, but also to a decreased risk of developing tumors. Giving your dog foods that are high in this disease-fighting micronutrient may give their immune system the boost it needs to destroy a wide variety of pathogens and cancer cells. This means fewer colds, fewer visits to the vet’s office, and more years of life.
Not only do almonds have Vitamin E but they are also high in fatty acids which help to increase skin, joint, and brain health. So giving your dog almonds may slow the progression of diseases like arthritis. Dogs who eat the vitamins and fatty acids found in nuts may experience improved mobility and a reduction in pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
These same nutrients may be the key to giving your dog the shiny, luxurious coat they have always longed for—healthy fats are crucial to maintaining the silky luster of your dog’s fur coat. Supplementing their diet with Vitamin E and healthy fatty acids may also reduce itching, hot spots, and other skin problems.
Things to Keep in Mind
However, there are two reasons why whole almonds are not recommended for dogs: first, they pose a choking hazard, and second, they can be difficult to digest. If you want to give almonds to your dog in a way that is more canine-friendly, opt for small amounts of almond butter. They will almost certainly enjoy it more, and the nutrition will be more readily available to them.
No matter what form you give your dog almonds it is always best to give it in moderate amounts. Aside from all the good benefits of nuts they are extremely high in fat and calories. This may contribute to your pet's obesity and development of pancreatitis. If your pet is already suffering from either of these you would do best to hold off on the nuts. Also remember that eating nuts may result in upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea. If your dog reacts poorly the first time they eat any nut, consult a veterinarian.
Though whole almonds are not recommended for canine consumption, almond butter may be a safe, healthy treat for your pooch. Almonds are nontoxic and high in fatty acids and Vitamin E, which both work to support skin and immune health. Just remember that this food should be used as a supplement or a treat, not a staple—all that fat adds up quickly!