Cashews are a much-loved snack for many people, and even have some great health benefits. Raw, roasted, and salted, these delicious nuts can be eaten all on their own or added to various dishes for a nutty flavor. But what about dogs? Your dog may adore cashews and other nuts, but how safe is this snack for them? The answer is yes, cashews are safe for dogs.
But before you start filling those bowls full of nuts, there are some limitations and cautions about how many cashews they can eat, and in what form. The following article will explain why cashews are safe for our dogs, and how they can enjoy them safely.
Cashews are delicious, kidney-shaped seeds from the cashew tree. That’s right, cashews, like many other well known “nuts”, are not nuts at all – nuts, right? In fact, only chestnuts, pecans and hazelnuts are true nuts; the rest are either seeds (like cashews, almonds, pistachios, and Brazil nuts) or legumes (peanuts). And no one seems to be able to agree on the “nut” status of the walnut!
Back to the cashew: This tropical tree is native to Brazil, but is widespread in other warm climates worldwide. Cashews are an incredibly healthy source of various nutrients as long as they’re cooked and prepared correctly. Raw cashews in their shells are not edible because they contain a substance called urushiol.1 To safely consume them, cashews need to be cooked first to remove this toxic substance.
Eating cashews has been linked with many health benefits, such as a healthier heart, improved blood sugar control, weight loss, and many more.
Nutritional Value of Cashews in 1 ounce (28 g):
|Total fat:||4 g|
As you can see from the nutritional values above, cashews are rich in proteins, healthy unsaturated fats, and magnesium. Raw cashews are also low in sugar, and rich in antioxidants such as polyphenols, which have a wide range of health benefits.
Can Dogs Eat Cashews?
While some nuts are considered toxic or otherwise harmful for dogs, cashews are generally safe and potentially beneficial for our dogs. Cashews are a high-fat and high-protein snack, meaning that while they are healthy, they can also be problematic for some dogs. Fatty foods can quickly lead to obesity if consumed in large amounts, so cashews are not recommended for dogs struggling with weight issues.
The rounded shape and softer flesh of cashews mean they are unlikely to cause obstructions, but if you have a small dog, it would be sensible to chop them into smaller pieces to be sure. Dogs are also very unlikely to develop an allergic reaction to cashews, but it is still sensible to offer them a small sample (half to one nut) and wait 24 hours in case they have any adverse reactions. The most important thing to remember is to feed your dog only unsalted cashews. The high sodium levels of salted cashews make them dangerous for dogs if consumed too much or too often.
While cashews are considered safe for pups to consume, you should only offer them as an occasional treat. They are a safe snack but shouldn’t be a regular part of their diet.
How Many Cashews Can Dogs Eat?
As you probably know, treats should make up only 5-10% of a dog’s diet. The rest should be a well-balanced diet consisting of commercial dog food or homemade meals. Before offering cashews or other nuts to your dog, it is best to consult your veterinarian for personalized advice.
Below you can find a helpful table of how many cashews are safe for your dog, depending on their size. This is the amount that they may be fed in a 1 week period. Due to their high fat content, feeding too many cashews at one time may predispose them to gastrointestinal upset or even pancreatitis.
|Dog Size||Dog Weight||Cashews|
|Extra-small dog||2–20 lbs||1 or 2 cashews|
|Small dog||21–30 lbs||2 to 3 cashews|
|Medium dog||31–50 lbs||5 to 6 cashews|
|Large dog||51–90 lbs||10 to 12 cashews|
|Extra-large dog||91+ lbs||12 to 18 cashews|
After learning about the safety of cashews, you can proceed to offer this fantastic snack to your pet. Make sure to offer in small amounts and never exceed the amounts in the table above for the safest results. As with any other snack, it is essential to only offer cashews as an occasional treat.
Featured Image Credit: 271-EAK MOTO, Shutterstock