With such an emphasis on healthy eating, people are turning towards nuts for filling snacks that offer protein, healthy fats, and the satisfaction of a good crunch. Cashews are quickly gaining in popularity, especially among vegetarians and vegans looking for ways to make creamy sauces and desserts. But before you let your dog have a handful of your snack, keep a few things in mind.
Can Dogs Have Cashews?
Dogs can have cashews in small amounts if they don’t have a history of certain health conditions. Dogs with a history of pancreatitis shouldn’t eat cashews because they’re high in fat. Dogs who have had pancreatitis have to remain on a low-fat diet for the rest of their life, and even a relatively small amount of fat can trigger another attack. If your dog is prone to allergic reactions, nuts are not a good choice and they should be avoided at all costs. Dogs that have had urinary problems, particularly bladder stones, shouldn’t eat nuts because of the fat and mineral content. If your dog has had any of these medical problems, it’s likely they’re on a limited ingredient diet, and you shouldn’t stray from that no matter how hard your dog is begging for a treat.
Do cashews provide any health benefits to dogs? They provide enough to make small amounts okay for your dog. Cashews are a fantastic source of omega-6 fatty acids. These aid in the health of your dog’s coat, giving it a lustrous shine. Combined with the right ratio of omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids help heal inflammation in the body. Additionally, cashews contain calcium, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorous, all of which aid in healthy bone development. They’re packed with antioxidants, too, which reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. If you’re worried about your dog’s antioxidant intake and your vet agrees with you, you still shouldn’t give them a large amount of nuts. A better option would be specially formulated antioxidant chew sticks developed specifically for canines.
Cashews: The Importance of Moderation
Healthy fats are good, but too many will still cause weight gain, poor digestion, and pancreatitis. Dogs require moderation in everything they eat, so ensure you aren’t overdoing the cashews. If your dog is allergic to nuts, their reaction will be evident within a few hours of consumption. In the case of your dog vomiting immediately after eating cashews or having diarrhea later that day, you should stop giving them the nuts. Some dogs break out in hives that are painful and very itchy. If your dog gets hives, you should call your veterinarian to discuss administration of an antihistamine like diphenhydramine (Benedryl). Finally, if there’s any facial swelling, you should take your dog to the vet immediately. Facial swelling can quickly affect the airways and create breathing difficulties. In these instances, your dog may require a steroid to reduce the inflammation. Anaphylactic shock is rare and happens almost immediately after they eat the offending allergen. Anaphylactic shock is considered a true medical emergency; if untreated, it can quickly kill your dog.
Finally, cashews typically have a lot of salt. Dogs don’t do well with large amounts of salt, and too much can actually lead to salt poisoning, so stick to the unsalted varieties of cashews. Nuts are high in protein, and a lot of nuts will fill your dog up, decreasing how much of their food they’re hungry for. Inadvertently replacing their normal diet with non-dog food can be damaging to their health and lead to malnutrition if it happens frequently. Any cashew snacks you give your dog should be given before or after their meal by at least four hours.
Your dog gets the nutrition they need from their dog food. Anything that’s given in addition to their regular diet should be fed in strict moderation to ensure your dog’s diet is balanced and healthy.