Uh oh! My Dog Ate Walnuts: Here’s What You Need to Do

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As a dog owner, you might have encountered moments when your four-legged pal got into something they shouldn’t – like walnuts. Dogs can be naturally curious, and although walnuts might seem like a harmless treat, it’s crucial to understand how to handle the situation if your dog consumes them.

Walnuts aren’t toxic to dogs, but they can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort and possible blockages. If your dog has eaten walnuts, make sure to monitor them closely and reach out to your veterinarian if you observe any concerning symptoms. Some dogs may even have an allergic reaction to walnuts, manifesting as vomiting, diarrhea, or difficulty breathing.

In this guide, we’ll delve into what actions to take if your dog has consumed walnuts, the symptoms to watch for, potential health risks, and when it’s time to consult with a medical professional. By staying informed and ready to act, you’ll be better equipped to safeguard your furry companion’s health and well-being.

Can Dogs Eat Walnuts? Are They Safe?

Attention dog owners! You may be wondering whether walnuts are safe for your furry friends. Unfortunately, the answer is no. According to the AKC, walnuts can trigger gastrointestinal issues, pancreatitis, and intestinal blockages in dogs. The high-fat content in walnuts can also contribute to obesity and stomach problems. So, it’s best to keep walnuts off your dog’s snack list.

What’s the Danger with Walnuts and Dogs?

Walnuts contain a toxin called juglone, found in the tree’s leaves, bark, and nut husks. This sneaky toxin can cause vomiting, seizures, weakness, and diarrhea in dogs. To make matters worse, black walnuts pose an even greater threat than other varieties. If your dog accidentally munches on a black or moldy walnut, it could be a life-or-death situation. Keep walnuts and similar nuts out of your dog’s reach to ensure their safety.

What Should You Do If Your Dog Eats Walnuts?

If your dog consumes walnuts, contact your vet right away. They might induce vomiting or administer activated charcoal to prevent toxin absorption. In more severe cases, your dog may require hospitalization and supportive care to manage symptoms. Act fast and seek veterinary attention to prevent any life-threatening complications.

To sum it up, walnuts are a no-go for dogs. They can cause an array of health problems, and if your dog happens to eat them, contact your vet immediately. Always consult with your veterinarian before giving any human foods or treats to your beloved pet.

A Quick Guide to Walnut Varieties

Walnuts come in different types, each with distinct properties that can impact your dog’s health. Here’s a rundown of the three main types:

English Walnuts

These are the most common walnuts consumed by humans. They’re safe for dogs as long as they’re fresh and mold-free. English walnuts boast omega-3 fatty acids that can improve your dog’s coat and skin health. However, their high fat content calls for moderation to avoid obesity.

Black Walnuts

Although not a popular human snack, black walnuts can be found in yards or parks. They’re toxic to dogs and can lead to serious health problems like vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, weakness, seizures, and cardiac arrhythmias. If you suspect your dog has ingested black walnuts, call your vet or emergency animal hospital immediately.

Moldy or Rotten Walnuts

Moldy or rotten walnuts spell danger for dogs. Mold produces toxins that can trigger seizures, tremors, and other neurological issues. Ingesting moldy or rotten walnuts can also cause gastrointestinal problems like vomiting and diarrhea. It’s best to steer clear of feeding your dog any moldy or rotten walnuts.

Other Nuts That Are Toxic to Dogs

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts

Macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting, muscle weakness, tremors, a high temperature, and seizures. Never feed macadamia nuts to any dog. Symptoms usually begin within 12 hours of ingestion. If you suspect your dog has eaten macadamia nuts, take them to the vet immediately.


Pecans are also toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Ingesting large amounts of pecans can lead to pancreatitis, which is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. If your dog has eaten pecans, monitor them closely for any symptoms and contact your vet if you notice any changes in their behavior or health.


Cashews are not toxic to dogs, but they are high in fat and can cause digestive issues if eaten in large amounts. Feeding your dog salted cashews can also lead to water retention and other complications. It is best to avoid feeding cashews to your dog altogether.


Almonds are not toxic to dogs, but they can be difficult for them to digest and can cause an upset stomach. Some almonds also contain high levels of salt, which can lead to water retention and other complications. It is best to avoid feeding almonds to your dog altogether.

Overall, it is important to be cautious when feeding your dog any type of nut. Some nuts, like macadamia nuts and pecans, are toxic to dogs and can cause serious health problems. It is always best to consult with your vet before introducing any new food into your dog’s diet.

Health Benefits of Walnuts for Dogs

Fatty Acids

Walnuts are a fantastic source of healthy fats, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids contribute to a dog’s overall health by maintaining a healthy coat and skin and supporting brain and eye development.


Rich in antioxidants, walnuts can help protect a dog’s cells from damage caused by free radicals, reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease and promoting overall health and longevity.


A good source of fiber, walnuts can support digestive health and prevent constipation in dogs. Fiber can also help regulate blood sugar levels and promote feelings of fullness, beneficial for dogs that are overweight or prone to obesity.

Lower Cholesterol

The fiber and healthy fats in walnuts can lower cholesterol levels in dogs, reducing the risk of heart disease and other health problems.

Brain Health

Walnuts contain various nutrients that support brain health and cognitive function in dogs. They are rich in vitamin E, which protects the brain from free radical damage, and folate, essential for brain development and function.

While walnuts can be a healthy addition to a dog’s diet, it’s important to feed them in moderation. Too many walnuts can cause digestive upset, and the shells can be a choking hazard. Avoid feeding dogs flavored or salted walnuts, as they may contain harmful ingredients.

Preventing Your Dog from Eating Walnuts

Storing Walnuts

Store walnuts securely in a sealed container or bag and place them in a pantry or cupboard, out of your dog’s reach. If you have a particularly curious dog, consider using child-proof locks to secure the container.

Discouraging Your Dog from Eating Walnuts

By preventing your dog from eating walnuts, you can help ensure their safety and well-being. Keep walnuts out of reach and discourage your dog from eating them, contributing to a healthy and happy furry friend.

Train your dog to avoid walnuts using positive reinforcement techniques. Offer a treat or toy when they ignore the walnuts and praise them for their good behavior. If your dog continues to show interest in walnuts, consider using a deterrent spray or placing a barrier around the area where the walnuts are stored.

The Last Bite

Keeping walnuts and other nuts away from dogs is vital as they can cause various health issues. If a dog ingests walnuts, monitor them closely and contact a veterinarian if any symptoms arise. Symptoms of walnut ingestion can include gastrointestinal upset, bowel obstruction, pancreatitis, and liver damage.

Additionally, black walnuts contain the toxic juglone, which can cause tremors, seizures, and even death if left untreated. Dogs may also be at risk of pica, a condition where they eat non-food items, including walnuts, leading to bowel obstruction and other health issues.

High-fat foods like walnuts can also cause gastroenteritis and anxiety in dogs. Salted walnuts, in particular, can be harmful due to their high sodium content. Cooked walnuts may be less harmful than raw ones, but it is still crucial to monitor a dog’s intake and seek veterinary attention if any symptoms arise.


What are the signs of walnut poisoning in dogs?

bowl of walnuts

Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, seizures, weakness, elevated heart rate, and difficulty breathing. These symptoms can result from the ingestion of moldy walnuts, which contain toxic compounds that can be harmful to dogs.

Can a dog pass a walnut?


While it is possible for a dog to pass a walnut without complications, there is a risk of gastrointestinal blockage or other issues. If you suspect your dog has ingested a walnut, it is best to consult your veterinarian for guidance.

How many walnuts is too much for a dog?

bowl of walnuts

here is no set number, as even a few walnuts can be harmful to some dogs, depending on their size and sensitivity. It is best to avoid feeding your dog walnuts altogether, as they can pose potential health risks.

Photo of author


My passion for dogs started in childhood growing up in a household full of dogs. I have been breading American Bulldogs since 1998, as a breeder, show judge, trainer and lifelong student of dogs and their behavior. I am the owner of this website whose roots go back to a labor of love started in 1998.

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