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November 16, 2020 2 min read

Pistachios can be a wonderful snack for humans, as they're packed with nutrients and good fats that can help regular blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol. But while you're cracking open those shells, Fido's probably staring at you wondering what those delicious morsels are. That leads us to the question of the day - can dogs eat pistachios?

CAN DOGS EAT PISTACHIOS?

The answer is a little complicated. While pistachios aren't toxic or immediately harmful to dogs if consumed in small amounts, that doesn't mean they're a good snack food. They do have some health benefits, but ultimately the high fat content in them can lead to serious consequences if your dog eats too many.

ARE PISTACHIOS GOOD FOR DOGS?

Pistachios do have a number of potential health benefits for dogs - those anti-inflammatory properties that are good for humans are good for dogs, too. That said, the overall answer is no - pistachios are not good for dogs. 

RISKS OF GIVING PISTACHIOS TO DOGS

The biggest risk when it comes to feeding your dog pistachios (and other high-fat nuts like pecans and macadamia nuts) is pancreatitis. Dogs need to be fed a low-fat, diet, and when they are introduced to high-fat foods, it can lead to inflammation of the pancreas, which can be not only painful but also extremely dangerous. If your pup picks up one or two off the ground, you don't need to panic, but they shouldn't be eating them in any meaningful quantities.

There are also other unpleasant, short-term consequences of eating pistachios - the fat in them will likely trigger an upset stomach (sometimes referred to as pistachio poisoning) that can lead to vomiting and/or diarrhea.

One other risk with pistachios is the shells. Dogs' digestive systems simply aren't able to process these, so if they swallow some, they can cause damage and blockages in the intestines and elsewhere in the digestive tract.

All of this is just speaking of plain, roasted pistachios. As you can imagine, you certainly shouldn't feed your dog salted nuts of any kind, and there's no exception here. Pistachio-flavored foods are similar a bad idea - that pistachio ice cream is almost certain to be loaded with sugar, which is yet another thing that your dog should not be eating. 

SO CAN DOGS EAT PISTACHIOS?

The good news is that you don't need to share your pistachios with your dogs. Because of the extremely high fat content in pistachios, they're just not suitable for our canine friends. That's on top of the fact that the shells can cause problems because they're not digestible.

This means you should also stay away from other high-fat nuts - almonds, hazelnuts and the like. Luckily, not all nuts are off the table. Peanuts can be a good snack for dogs (provided you don't overdo it - they also have some fat in them). And of course peanut butter is a good snack as well. As always, though, any snacks that you feed your dog should be in addition to a high-quality diet of regular food. If you have any questions about whether or not to give something to your dog, the best person to ask is always your veterinarian.