Although macadamia nuts are in many tasty human foods, they aren’t good for our dogs. Dogs can’t eat macadamia nuts because they’re toxic. Even a small handful of nuts can cause symptoms like weakness in the back legs, depression, vomiting, and diarrhea. Critical signs of poisoning include fever, inability to walk, and shakiness — if you see these, get your dog to the emergency vet right away.
Most dogs can recover at home without treatment. However, you should still call a veterinarian or pet poison hotline for advice on your specific dog, the number of nuts they ate, and their symptoms. Just because many dogs recover, doesn’t mean your dog can’t be unlucky!
In this article, we’ll talk about whether dogs can eat macadamia nuts, how many nuts are toxic, and what to do if your dog has eaten macadamia nuts or foods containing them.
Are Macadamia Nuts Toxic to Dogs?
Macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs. Eating even a small amount of macadamia nuts or foods containing macadamia nuts can cause symptoms such as weakened back legs, vomiting, and diarrhea.
According to the ASPCA, these symptoms can often be managed at home with veterinary assistance. This doesn’t mean to ignore the symptoms — you still need to call a vet clinic or pet poison hotline for help.
The professionals can also let you know if more is needed based on the number of macadamia nuts your dog ate and their current symptoms.
Shaking, fever, or inability to walk are signs your dog needs to be brought to an emergency clinic immediately.
Macadamia nuts can also rarely cause pancreatitis, which is when the pancreas becomes inflamed after eating fatty foods. Symptoms of pancreatitis include repetitive vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, tiredness, increased thirst, and loss of appetite.
Can One Macadamia Nut Hurt a Dog?
A single macadamia nut is unlikely to affect your dog. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, the smallest dose to affect dogs is 2.4g of nuts/kg of body weight. This translates to about one nut per kilogram, or 2.2 pounds.
Unless your dog is very small, you’re unlikely to see symptoms. It still might be worth a call to a pet poison hotline or your vet to be absolutely sure, however.
Merck also points out that a study giving dogs 20g/kg of macadamia nuts went like this: the dogs showed symptoms after around 12 hours, and they recovered within 48 hours.
They also recommend bringing your dog to the veterinarian to have vomiting induced if your dog has eaten more than 1-2g/kg of body weight recently, even if they aren’t showing symptoms.
Your dog’s health also comes into account here—if your dog has a health condition like chronic pancreatitis, you want to mention that when calling either a veterinarian or a pet poison hotline.
If your dog shows emergency symptoms like shaking, fever, inability to walk, or pancreatitis, go to your nearest emergency vet clinic for help.
Every dog is different and will react differently to toxic foods. Even if you don’t need to rush to the vet, monitor your dog closely for the next three days. Call a veterinarian or pet poison hotline again if you notice new or worsened symptoms.
Foods that Contain Macadamia Nuts
Of course, since macadamia nuts are toxic, you don’t want to feed your dog anything containing them! Also, watch for products that contain macadamia nut milk.
Macadamia nuts are in a variety of products, from sweet foods like cookies to savory foods like stir fry. Macadamia nut milk might be seen in vegan meals as a milk substitute.
If your dog eats foods containing macadamia nuts, call a veterinarian or pet poison hotline. If you can, get the ingredients list so you can tell them exactly what your dog consumed—and if any other toxic foods were inside.
What To Do if Your Dog Eats Macadamia Nuts
If your dog eats macadamia nuts, don’t wait to seek veterinary care. Even if it was only a small amount, please call a vet clinic or pet poison hotline.
You’ll also need to monitor your pup closely for the next few days. Look for the symptoms listed above—as a reminder, the usual symptoms are:
- Weakness in the back legs
Signs your dog needs to visit an emergency vet clinic include:
- Inability to walk
- Pancreatitis (increased thirst, reduced appetite, tiredness, stomach pain, repeat vomiting, excessive diarrhea)
Don’t induce vomiting at home unless instructed by a veterinary professional. This can be dangerous to try on your own, especially with solid objects like nuts.
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The photo featured at the top of this post is © HandmadePictures/Shutterstock.com
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- ASPCA, Available here: https://www.aspca.org/news/animal-poison-control-alert-macadamia-nuts-are-toxic-dogs#:~:text=If%20you're%20planning%20to,nuts%20to%20experience%20negative%20results
- Merck Veterinary Manual, Available here: https://www.merckvetmanual.com/toxicology/food-hazards/macadamia-nut-toxicosis-in-dogs
- VCA Animal Hospitals, Available here: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/pancreatitis-in-dogs