Can My Puppy Eat Walnuts?

Finding nutritious and delicious snacks and treats for your puppy is one of the essential responsibilities of being a puppy parent. Puppies, like babies, depend on you for all of their nutritional needs. Giving them treats and snacks is something you’ll be doing throughout their life. However, puppies have different dietary needs than adult dogs and thus need different types of snacks and treats.

Many puppy parents like to give their precious pup snacks typically meant for humans. Carrots, for example, are an excellent snack for puppies. Bananas and apples? Yes, please! Puppies love them, they’re easy to digest, and, even better, they’re all-natural. There are many other fruits and veggies you can give to a pup safely, as long as you do it in moderation.

One snack that humans eat often is nuts. There are many different kinds of nuts, of course, and most of them are highly nutritious and make excellent snacks…for humans. Some types of nuts are OK for puppies, but several are definitely not OK. Almonds and pecans, for example, can be toxic for puppies and should be avoided.

After receiving a question from one of my readers, I got to thinking about puppies and the different nuts they can and can’t eat the other day. This particular reader was curious about one type of nut, in particular, asking me, “can my puppy eat walnuts?”

The answer to this nutty question is a combination of ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ and ‘with caution.’ Here’s the thing; there are two different types of walnuts; Black walnuts and English walnuts. Both contain a substance called juglone, a kind of poison that walnut trees make to prevent other tree species from encroaching on their land. (Crazy, right?!)

Black walnuts, unfortunately, contain much higher amounts of juglone than English walnuts, making them a strict no-no for puppies and dogs. English walnuts typically have much lower levels of this toxic substance. However, you should note that English walnuts are very high in fat and calories. Yes, you can give them to your puppy, but as with most snacks, always in moderation. In other words, yes, your puppy can eat English walnuts, but, no, they should never eat Black walnuts.

Now that you know the answer to “can my puppy eat walnuts?” you likely have more questions about other types of nuts and whether your pup can eat them also. What to do if your puppy eats a walnut, for example, and what nuts are safe for your puppy to eat? Read on for the answers to these and other important questions about puppies and nuts!

What Happens When a Puppy Eats a Walnut?

If your puppy eats a single English walnut or, frankly, even a single Black walnut, the chance of them becoming sick is small. However, there is a chance of choking depending on the size of both the walnut and your puppy.

Even though they’re OK for puppies to eat, eating too many English walnuts regularly isn’t a good idea. They’re relatively hard to digest and, for smaller dogs, can cause blockages of their intestines. Plus, walnuts are high in fat, which can cause upset stomachs and vomiting. In the long run, eating a heavy diet of walnuts can also cause pancreatitis, which can be fatal.

A moldy black walnut picked up outside your home could also cause a lot of harm to your puppy. Vomiting, seizures, and tremors have been known to occur, as well as severe vomiting, all from a single moldy black walnut. Call your vet immediately if you see any of these symptoms after a trip outside, as your puppy will need care right away.

What to Do if your Puppy Gets a Walnut

As with all situations where your precious puppy might be in peril, don’t panic if they eat a walnut (or even if they eat several). Watch their behavior, make sure they aren’t choking, and, of course, remove any leftover walnuts from their reach. 

If you see any signs that they might be choking or have a blocked airway, get to a vet right away. The same thing goes for vomiting and seizures. As I said earlier, if your puppy has those symptoms, they’ll need to be treated as quickly as possible to save its life.

Will One Walnut Hurt my Dog?

Technically speaking, no, eating a single walnut will not hurt your puppy or an adult dog. That being said, if your puppy eats a moldy black walnut, they could suffer serious health issues. Depending on their size and age, they could also choke on a walnut, even if it’s a “safe” English walnut. 

What Other Nuts are Toxic to Dogs

Dog experts don’t typically recommend a lot of nuts for puppies. (Too much fat.) There are a few that aren’t toxic or harmful, it’s true, but some can be deadly. Indeed, you should never give several types of nuts to your puppy. I’ve got them listed for you below:

  • Almonds- Not toxic, but dogs can’t process them well in their digestive system.
  • Pecans. These contain mycotoxins that can cause liver damage over long-term consumption. 
  • Hazel Nuts. Mycotoxins are also the reason puppies shouldn’t eat hazelnuts.
  • Walnuts (Black)- The risk of juglone poisoning is high with black walnuts, as well as the choking hazard.
  • Macadamia Nuts- Scientists and dog specialists agree there are NO safe amounts of macadamia nuts to give to a puppy or dog.
  • Hickory Nuts. Mycotoxins are again the problem with these nuts and why your puppy should never eat them.
  • Pistachios- High amounts of the toxin juglone make these a no-no for your puppy.

What Nuts Are Safe for my Puppy to Eat?

You can safely feed several nuts to your puppy, including the butter made from those nuts like peanut and cashew (if it’s roasted). I’ve listed them for you below:

  • Peanuts and peanut butter. NOTE: Beware of Xylitol, a toxic ingredient in peanut butter.
  • Cashews, as long as they have been roasted.
  • Brazil nuts are healthy, although they are also very high in fat and thus should be given sparingly. 
  • Pine nuts. Although safe in small amounts, pine nuts do contain high levels of fat and phosphorus, so give them sparingly.
  • Roasted American Chestnuts are OK for puppies. However, you should not give horse chestnuts as they have high levels of juglone.

Keep in mind that, even if a nut is considered “safe,” nuts are still high in fat and, in excess, can cause health problems for your pup. Also, the risk of choking is present with many nuts, especially if you have a small-breed puppy.

Final Thoughts

If you’re wondering, “Can my puppy eat walnuts?” the answer is that, yes, they can, as long as they are English walnuts. Black walnuts are toxic for puppies and should never be given to them. Also, it’s important to remember that you should give your puppy walnuts sparingly as they’re high in fat. Too many can cause problems for their digestive system and pancreas.

I hope today’s blog about puppies eating walnuts had all the info you were searching for about this important puppy subject! If not, please leave a comment or question, and I’ll do my best to answer it. Also, please check out my other blogs on how to raise a healthy, happy, and well-behaved puppy!