Can Dogs Eat Pistachios?

Victoria Lynn Arnold
By Victoria Lynn Arnold. Reviewed by Sandra C. Mitchell, DVM, DABVP on Dec. 15, 2022
small dog looking up at a person sitting in a chair

NOTE: Always check with your veterinarian first before giving your dog any new foods, especially “people foods.” What might be OK for one dog might not be good for your dog, depending on multiple factors, such as their age, health history, health conditions, and diet. Dogs on prescription diets should not be fed any food or treats outside the diet.

Pistachios are delicious, nutritious, and filling. They are a great snack to keep us focused while we’re working or to give us energy when we’re hiking on a trail. But what about for our pups? Can dogs eat pistachios?

Are Pistachios Bad for Dogs?

When it comes to feeding nuts to our dogs, we need to do our research. Some nuts are safe, some are toxic, and pretty much all of them—when eaten whole—could be a choking hazard or even cause an intestinal blockage for your dog.

Pistachios are not toxic to dogs, so if your dog eats a few, he should be OK. In fact, pistachios contain some healthy benefits for your pup, including:

  • Protein

  • Antioxidants

  • Unsaturated fats

  • Fiber

  • Potassium

  • Phosphorus

  • Vitamin B6

  • Thiamine

  • Copper 

  • Manganese

Concerns pop up when your dog eats large quantities of pistachios over an extended period. Because pistachios—just like all other nuts—are high in fat and calories, eating a lot of them can harm your dog’s health, potentially causing obesity, pancreatitis, diabetes, and/or heart disease. In addition, pistachios are often salted, and salt is unhealthy for dogs to eat regularly.

Another concern with pistachios is the potential for aflatoxin poisoning. According to the Federal Drug Administration, aflatoxins are toxins produced by a mold that can grow on corn, grains, and other foods—including pistachios. These toxins can be present even if there’s no visible sign of mold and affect both humans and dogs.

Eating a lot of pistachios with this mold could cause aflatoxin poisoning. Symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Loss of appetite

  • Sluggishness

  • Vomiting

  • Jaundice

  • Unexplained bruising or bleeding

  • Diarrhea

If you notice any of these symptoms after your dog has eaten pistachios, contact your veterinarian. 

Can Dogs Eat Pistachio Shells?

Like all nuts, pistachios can be choking hazards—especially the shells. Keep an eye out for any signs of choking after your dog has eaten pistachios, which include:

  • Panic

  • Pawing at their mouth

  • Coughing

  • Unresponsiveness

  • Becoming unconscious 

If your dog is choking, check their mouth and throat for any foreign objects, and contact your veterinarian right away. The vet can walk you through performing the Heimlich maneuver on your dog.

In addition to choking, pistachios with or without the shell can cause an intestinal blockage. Signs of this condition include:

  • Vomiting

  • Loss of appetite

  • Abdominal pain

  • Weakness

  • Lethargy

  • Diarrhea

  • Constipation

  • Weight loss

If you notice any of these symptoms or suspect that your dog has swallowed something that could cause an intestinal blockage, contact your veterinarian immediately. 

Can Dogs Eat Pistachio Ice Cream?

Although pistachios are not toxic to dogs, pistachio ice cream is very unhealthy for your fur baby to eat.

A small drop that fell on the ground is fine, but ice cream of any kind is high in sugar and fat. Some ice creams can also have ingredients that are toxic to dogs, such as xylitol or chocolate. Plus, some dogs may be lactose intolerant

How Many Pistachios Can Your Dog Eat?

Eating pistachios regularly or in large amounts can cause health issues for your dog, so it’s best to keep this as an occasional, special treat. Any treat—even the healthy ones—should only make up 10% of your dog’s overall diet. The other 90% should come from a well-balanced dog food diet.

Here’s how many pistachios you can feed your dog, based on his size:

How to Safely Feed Your Dog Pistachios

For safely preparing and serving pistachios to your pup, make sure to:

  • Buy pistachios that are completely plain and unsalted

  • Remove the shells

  • Crush or smash the nuts and sprinkle them over your dog’s food to help avoid choking hazards

One of the biggest concerns with eating a high-fat food like pistachios is the potential for pancreatitis. Your dog might be sensitive to the fats in these nuts, so eating any amount (even just a few) can trigger health issues.

Keep an eye out for the following signs of acute pancreatitis:
 

  • Severe lethargy

  • Abdominal pain

  • Persistent vomiting

  • Severe dehydration

  • Collapse 

  • Shock

If you notice any of these symptoms after your dog eats pistachios, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Featured Image: iStock/Page Light Studios


Victoria Lynn Arnold

WRITTEN BY

Victoria Lynn Arnold

Freelance Writer


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