Can Dogs Eat Pecans?

Can dogs eat pecans? Dogs should never have pecans. Eating too many can be fatal for dogs. These nuts can cause obstruction in your dog’s digestive system, but can also be toxic. Dogs that eat too many pecans may experience vomiting, diarrhea, yellowing eyes or gums, and more.

Call your vet straight away if your dog eats pecans, pecan shells, or any recipes that contain this ingredient. Let’s take a closer look at the question: can dogs eat pecans?

Can Dogs Eat Pecans?

Pecans grow from nut trees in shells that are so hard people usually need some sort of tool to break them open. In fact, the word pecan is actually a Native American word that translates roughly to ‘nuts requiring a stone to crack’. Indigenous to North America and Mexico, pecans are a popular nut worldwide and are included in a number of family-favorite recipes, such as pecan pie and butter pecan ice cream.

But, this food is not safe for dogs to consume. If your dog has managed to swipe one or two that have fallen on the floor, they will likely be okay. But, it will depend on the size of your dog and the amount they manage to eat. Pecans are toxic to dogs, and enough of them can be fatal. So, why are pecans bad for dogs? Can dogs eat pecans without problems, or is it always dangerous?

Pecans and Dogs

Pecans are full of nutrients—for humans. A source of healthy, unsaturated fats, pecans contain over 19 vitamins and minerals and have even been said to lower cholesterol. But, just because it’s good for us doesn’t mean it’s good for our dogs. So, are pecans bad for dogs? Can dogs have pecans in any situation?

Toxins In Pecans

Pecans contain a toxin called juglone. If they get moldy, pecans can cause seizures and neurological symptoms due to their production of tremorgenic mycotoxins. More dangerous still, pecans are tree nuts that contain a natural poison called aflatoxin. Aflatoxin is produced from a mold that grows on pecans known as aspergillus.

And while pecans are harmless to humans (who don’t have nut allergies) and even beneficial, our beloved dogs’ sensitive systems are not built to handle the toxins and poisons that come with pecans. While one or two pecans here and there won’t kill your dog, a handful of pecans might, so we would really rather you stay away from them all together.

When are Pecans Bad For Dogs?

Dogs should always steer clear of pecans. These nuts can cause gastric intestinal upset or obstruction in your dog’s digestive system. Both of these issues are serious and painful and, in some severe cases, may cause death.

One of two pecans may not harm your dog, but even this amount may be dangerous for small breeds. And, just one pecan nut is all that’s needed to cause an internal obstruction.

Are Pecans Poisonous to Dogs?

Aflatoxin poisoning results when your dog has eaten too many pecans or other tree nuts that contain this toxin. It can be fatal to your dog if not addressed immediately.

Symptoms of Poisoning

Here is a quick list of symptoms to watch out for:

  • Severe vomiting
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Yellowing eyes or gums
  • Brown or reddish urine
  • Blood in vomit or stool (Stool will be very black)
  • Difficulty urinating

If you believe your dog has eaten pecans and is exhibiting any of the above signs, we recommend you take him to the vet immediately. Scroll down to the ‘What Should I Do’ subheading for more help.

Are Pecans Good For Dogs?

Pecans have lots of nutritional benefits for humans, but NOT for dogs. Pecans and dogs do not mix. These nuts can affect your dog’s liver, can cause bladder stones, and gastrointestinal upset. Any potential benefits for dogs are outweighed by the huge risk of toxicity. So, you should never give your dog pecans.

The answer to ‘can dogs have pecans?’ is always no.

Can Dogs Eat Pecan Pie?

Even though plain pecans are problematic, can dogs eat pecan pie? This popular recipe mixes pecans with butter, eggs, and sugar in a pastry pie case.

Dogs should never eat pecan pie. On top of the toxicity from pecan nuts, the high levels of sugar can be really bad for our dogs. Eating large amounts of sugar and rich foods like this in one sitting can cause stomach upsets. And, in the long term, it can lead to issues like obesity. Never give your dog pecan pie.

Can Dogs Eat Pecans from the Tree?

Are pecans bad for dogs if they come straight from the tree? Even pecans from the tree can pose problems for our dogs. On top of the health issues that they can cause, there’s a severe risk of internal blockages. Particularly those tough shells. If a dog gets hold of a pecan in its shell, even straight from the tree, it can cause serious issues.

Can Dogs Have Candied Pecans?

Recipes for candied pecans vary. But, the majority will center around sugar and cinnamon. Candied pecans pose all of the same problems as regular pecans, but with the added issue of lots of sugar. Sugary treats can cause issues like obesity and tooth decay. But, candied pecans are still toxic.

If your dog ate candied pecans, follow the same procedure you would if they ate normal pecans. Speak to the vet as soon as possible.

Can Dogs Have Pecans in Ice Cream?

Most people buy pecan ice cream from the store, but some may enjoy making it at home. Either way, never share this treat with your dog. This ice cream will contain real pecans, so will be just as toxic for dogs as plain pecans. And, it will contribute to problems like tooth decay and obesity. Never give your dogs pecan ice cream.

What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Pecans?

So what do you do if you think your dog has accidentally gotten into a bag of pecans? How do you know if he’s eaten a bunch? What symptoms should you look out for?

If you know that your dog has eaten pecans, it’s always best to call the vet straight away. If your dog has gotten into your stash of pecans, look out for vomiting and diarrhea. In some cases, this will be the worst of it. After a few hours, he should be back to himself. But, it’s best to be on the safe side and contact your vet regardless. Even if your dog has only eaten a few of these nuts.

If your dog is throwing up, urinating or defecating at a rate that seems alarming, he is likely going to need treatment, including IV fluids, medication, blood work and monitoring. Of course, if you see blood in your dog’s vomit or stool, take him to the vet immediately. This could be a sign that his liver has been affected.

How Do I Know If My Dog Has Eaten Too Many Pecans?

If your dog has eaten too many pecans, they will experience vomiting and diarrhea. But, there are other more serious symptoms to watch out for. Signs that the liver has been affected is yellowing of the eyes and gums and urine turning a red or brown color. This means your dog has become jaundiced and has also likely become anemic.

Bladder Stones

You should also pay attention to your dog when he is trying to urinate. Is he having trouble? Bladder stones are a common symptom of Aflatoxin poisoning as a result of eating too many pecans. If your dog cannot or will not urinate, he may have bladder stones.

Unfortunately, bladder stones can be very painful and require surgical removal, so don’t ignore this symptom and take your dog to the vet immediately.

My Dog Ate a Pecan

If your dog has eaten this food, watch out for all of the symptoms above. Contact your vet before anything else, as they may guide you on immediate action you can take. Most often they will ask you to bring your dog in for them to help. If the vet is closed, take your dog to the emergency vet, to be on the safe side.

Should I Give My Dog Pecans?

You should never share pecans with your dog. This includes recipes that feature pecans as an ingredient. Pecans are toxic to dogs in large amounts. And, even a single nut can cause gastrointestinal upset or blockages.

Some dogs may be allergic to peanuts, adding extra issues on top. Always keep pecans locked away in your kitchen, somewhere that your dog cannot reach or get into.

Alternatives to Pecans for Dogs

Pecans and dogs do not mix. But, there are plenty of other foods you can share with your dog without the risks.

  • Peanut butter
  • Eggs
  • Pork

Can Dogs Eat Pecans? A Summary

When it comes to human foods for dogs, just keep in mind that the best rule to follow is if you aren’t sure, do your research, just like you did in this case. Pecans are toxic to dogs. So, never give your dog these nuts. Keep them locked away where your pooch won’t be able to access them when you aren’t looking.

If your dog has eaten pecans, contact your vet straight away.

References and Further Reading

  • Alenza, D. (et al), ‘Relation Between Habitual Diet and Canine Mammary Tumors in A Case-Control Study’, Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine (2008)
  • Bland, I. (et al) ‘Dog Obesity: Owner Attitudes and Behavior’, Preventive Veterinary Medicine (2009)
  • Bland, I. & Hill, J. ‘Tackling Dog Obesity by Tackling Owner Attitudes’, Animal Science Reviews (2011)
  • Heinbecker, P. (et al) ‘Experimental Obesity In The Dog’, American Journal of Physiology-Legacy (1944)
  • Mellanby, E. ‘Diet and Canine Hysteria: Experimental Production’, British Medical Journal (1946)
  • ‘People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets‘, ASPCA

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