Can Dogs Eat Almonds?

Can Dogs Eat Almonds?

 

      Almonds are the seeds from the fruit of almond trees. Mistaken sometimes to be nuts, almonds are actually seeds. A nut has a hard outer shell. There are two types of almonds – bitter and sweet almonds (depending on the type of tree from which they are produced). Bitter almonds are not safe for consumption. This is because they contain a toxin called hydrocyanic acid. Hydrocyanic acid if consumed, can cause respiratory tract irritation, throat contraction, nausea, vomiting, difficulty in breathing, headaches, convulsions (which could be violent) and death. So bitter almonds are not safe for consumption. Sweet almonds, which is our focus, are nutritious. They contain fibre, lots of healthy fats (monounsaturated fats), protein, magnesium and vitamins. As humans, we consume them raw or roasted. Sometimes they are blanched. They are turned into milk and used to make pastries and candy. Eat it as a snack and add them to dishes. We benefit a lot from this seed, let’s find out if our furry friend can do same.

CAN DOGS EAT ALMONDS?  

      It is advised that our dogs should not be served almonds. This is because they cannot digest them as easily and properly as we do. Almonds pose choking threats even though they are in small pieces. Many times, our furry friends tend to find what we eat desirable. They want a taste of it. Sometimes, the deal is with us humans, we tend to share anything we find nutritious and good to the taste with our pets. Almonds are nutritious, very nutritious, but for the sake of our dog’s health we should not serve them almonds.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF ALMONDS.

      Almonds are nutrient-rich seeds. They are proteinous, rich in fibre and vitamins. vitamins B2 (Riboflavin), B7 (Biotin) and E (Tocopherol) are present in almond seeds. They also contain mineral elements like Copper, Calcium, Phosphorus and Magnesium. Here are some of the health benefits of nutrients present in almond seeds:

  • VITAMINS:  
  • B2 (Riboflavin); this helps in the production of energy required by the body. It helps to improve digestion as well as boost the immune system. It aids the digestion of carbohydrates, fat and protein. It keeps the eyes healthy.
  • B7 (Biotin); this helps the nervous system to function properly. It helps convert food to energy. It helps in the production of healthy fur and skin. It assists in the proper functioning of the Liver and also regulate blood sugar level.
  • E (Tocopherol); this keeps certain organs of the body healthy such as the heart, brain and eyes. It strengthens the immune system and prevents certain cancers as it has properties of an antioxidant. It also helps in keeping the blood and skin healthy.
  • FATS: Almond seeds contain monounsaturated fats. These fats are healthy for heart. They reduce the chance of obesity and the level of cholesterol in the body.
  • FIBRE: Fibre lowers cholesterol levels, improves digestive health, regulates blood sugar level and smoothens the passage of wastes through the digestive tract.
  • MINERAL ELEMENTS: Almond seeds contain mineral elements like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and copper.
  • Calcium; this helps in the building and maintenance of healthy and strong bones and teeth. It helps in the proper functioning of the heart, muscles and even the nerves. It helps manage blood pressure, prevent cancer (colon cancer). It also prevents obesity.
  • Magnesium: it helps to maintain blood sugar level, blood pressure level and keep a healthy heart. It is anti-inflammatory in action and it helps in muscle function and nervous regulation.
  • Phosphorus; it helps in the synthesis of body protein for the repair of tissues and cells. It helps in the removal of wastes and maintain a balanced blood pH. It assists in the building and formation of teeth and bones. It also improves digestion. 
  • Copper; this maintains a healthy heart, bones, nerves, blood vessel and immune system. It has the attributes of an antioxidant. It helps in the production of red blood cells and improves brain health.

WHY DOGS CAN’T EAT ALMONDS.

It is advised that our dogs should not be served almonds because of the reasons stated below:

  • FATS: Almond seed are rich in fat. Consuming high fat foods can lead to pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) in dogs. If it is not treated, could be fatal. Diarrhea and vomiting could result from consuming fatty foods in excess.
  • CHOKING HAZARDS: Almond seeds, whether in pieces or not, pose choking threats. If consumed, it could lead to blockage of the oesophagus, windpipe and intestine.
  • PROTEIN: The canine digestive system is not adapted to digest the protein in almond as properly and easily as we do. Consumption therefore, can result in digestive inconveniences.
  • SEASONINGS: As humans, we season and salt the almonds we consume. Salty foods can cause health worries for your dog. It could lead to increased water retention which can damage the kidneys.

      Generally, the canine digestive system cannot handle almond seeds as well as we do. Therefore, it is advised that they are not served almonds.

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR DOG CONSUMES ALMONDS. 

      If you find out that your dog has eaten few almond seeds, watch out signs of distress such as coughing, choking, difficulty in breathing, abdominal inconvenience and pain, lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea. Some dogs may turn out to be fine after consuming one or two seeds while some may not. If your pet shows signs of any distress after eating almond seeds, give your vet a call.

FINAL WORDS.

      Almond seeds are nutritious, they do humans a lot of good, but they fall into the list of foods that your dog does not necessarily need to eat. Their digestive system is not adapted to digest them easily and properly. It is therefore advised that they should not be served to our furry friends.

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    Dr Joshua Samuel, DVM

    Samuel Joshua Oluwapelumi is a veterinary medical student in his third year of training at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. He is passionate about animals and animal care. He has developed a lot of interest in creating contents that help people understand their pets and how to care for them.

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