Almonds, like many nuts, are a healthy, nutritious snack for human beings. They've got lots of great nutritional qualities, plus they're known to help keep you feeling full, which is ideal if you're on a diet. But just because they're good for people doesn't necessarily mean they're good for dogs, so let's go ahead and explore the question at hand - can dogs eat almonds?
CAN DOGS EAT ALMONDS?
Unfortunately we have to recommend that your dog not eat almonds. If she gets her paws on one or two, it probably won't be an issue, but the reality is that almonds are just not a food that's good for dogs on a number of different levels.
If you're wondering about almond butter, that's a little bit more nuanced, and we'll go into it below.
ARE ALMONDS GOOD FOR DOGS?
While almonds do have lots of nutrients in them, including fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamin E, they also have a lot of fat - way too much for dogs.
Beyond that issue, there is also the risk of choking and intestinal blockage. For larger breeds this isn't as much of a concern, but if a small dog eat almonds they can get stuck in its throat, esophagus, and even intestines. This can be extremely serious and require emergency surgery. Without that treatment, an almond can unfortunately be fatal. If your dog manages to eat an almond or two off the floor, keep an eye on him and make sure to call your vet immediately if you notice any signs that anything may be wrong.
Finally, some dogs simply have issues digesting almonds, so they can lead to gastrointestinal issues.
RISKS OF GIVING ALMONDS TO DOGS
As mentioned, almonds are extremely high in fat. The biggest risk from that is that your dog can develop pancreatitis, which is a serious condition. Even in small quantities, almonds can cause gastric issues and problems with your dog's digestive system.
Even worse than raw almonds are those that are flavored. As with any nuts, if they are served salted, the salt is definitely bad for your pup. Even worse are candied almonds, which are extremely high in sugar (or worse, the artificial sweetener Xylitol, which is very dangerous for dogs), or almonds dipped in chocolate, which is toxic for dogs. Stay away from anything sweet or salty when it comes to your pup.
CAN DOGS EAT ALMOND BUTTER?
What about almond butter? While almond butter is a bit better than whole almonds because it does not present the same choking hazard, it's nonetheless full of fat just as almonds are. For that reason, we recommend against giving your dog almond butter, though very small amounts shouldn't cause any issues.
You might be wondering why we recommend avoiding almond butter when its close cousin peanut butter is a common doggy snack. The answer is twofold - first, peanut butter is a bit lower in fat, and second, dogs don't have the same digestive issues with peanuts that some do with almonds.
SO CAN DOGS EAT ALMONDS?
Unfortunately we recommend that you stay away from almonds when picking snacks for your pup. There are just too many potential issues and too many other wonderful things in the world to feed them.
If you're looking for a substitute for almonds, grab that jar of peanut butter. It's got a lot of the same nutritional value, and while it is relatively high in fat, it has less than almond butter does. Finally, dogs in general are more likely to be able to digest peanuts and peanut butter than almonds and almond butter.