Why Can’t Dog’s Eat Almonds? What Are The Unsafe Toxins?

Written by Austin S.
Updated: June 15, 2022
Image Credit suriya yapin/Shutterstock.com
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Research has revealed the benefits of almonds to humans. It’s only natural for you to wonder if these nuts will be valuable to your dog. Also, it’s normal to consider your pets a part of your family. You play with them and snuggle with them. It’s only natural that you want to share your food with them. 

But, many human foods are detrimental to the dog’s health. Even foods that are safe for you to eat can cause severe damage to your dog. Almonds aren’t exactly toxic to dogs, but they pose a series of risks to your dog’s health. This article will discuss all the reasons why dogs can’t eat almonds. 

Can Your Dog Eat Almonds?

Dog almond trees eat
Dogs cannot eat almonds. Although they may be fine in small quantities, the risks outweigh the benefits.

Beatriz Vera/Shutterstock.com

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Think You Can?

The answer is no. Your dog can’t eat almonds. Almonds in minimal quantities might not be a problem for your dog, but it’s best to stay away from these nuts. The risks associated with feeding your dog almonds outweigh the benefits. These nuts are challenging for dogs to digest. Your dog’s digestive system is not equipped to digest almonds properly. 

Reasons Why Your Dog Can’t Eat Almonds

Hungry brown dog waiting to be fed next to empty bowl
Almonds carry many risks for dogs and should be avoided for the most part.


Almonds are not a healthy and safe snack choice for your dog. They are not toxic like macadamia nuts  but they pose safety and health risks to your dog. Below are reasons why you shouldn’t let your dog eat almonds. 

Choking Accidents

Dogs rarely chew their food, so your dog will likely choke while eating an almond. Dogs mostly use their teeth to rip or crush their food, so they don’t bother to chew while eating. Most dogs swallow their kibble while eating. There is no risk of choking on a kibble because they can soften it with saliva. 

Conversely, they cannot soften the hard almonds with saliva. This is why it’s not advisable to feed your dog almonds. Whole almonds swallowed by your dog can get stuck in its esophagus, causing the dog to choke.  Smaller dog breeds are more at risk due to their small size. Almonds can cause a blockage in the intestinal tract of your small dog or puppy. 

Increased Risk of Pancreatitis

Almonds contain a very high amount of fat. Feeding your dog excess almonds can cause your dog to gain weight. The high-fat levels in your dog’s system can lead to pancreatitis. 

When the pancreas cannot convert fat into energy, it becomes inflamed. An inflamed pancreas causes pancreatitis. Also, this condition is life-threatening in dogs. The symptoms of pancreatitis include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting

Pancreatitis can be fatal in dogs if left untreated. Smaller dog breeds like poodles are more prone to developing pancreatitis

High Levels of Salt and Additives

Dogs love anything tasty, so they’ll likely love the salted or flavored variety of almonds. Seasoned almonds contain artificial additives that pose health risks to your dog. Eating almonds coated in garlic or onion can lead to hemolytic anemia in your dog. Hemolytic anemia occurs when there is oxidative damage to the red blood cells. Symptoms of hemolytic anemia in dogs include an elevated heart rate and pale gums. 

Furthermore, salted almond products have very high amounts of salt that can cause dehydration in your dog. Salted almonds can also cause fluid retention in your dogs. Fluid retention is dangerous for dogs suffering from heart-related diseases. Fluid retention in your dog’s system can also harm its kidneys, which can cause renal issues. 

Also, high salt levels in your dog’s system can lead to sodium ion poisoning (salt toxicity). Symptoms of salt toxicity include:

  • Excess urination
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excess thirst
  • Seizures

Risk of Bladder and Kidney Stones 

Almonds contain high phosphorus levels. High phosphorus levels in your dog’s system increase the risk of bladder or kidney stones in your dog. Kidney and bladder stones are painful illnesses for dogs. The bladder might rupture if the stones are not removed on time. A ruptured bladder can be fatal to your dog. Dog breeds that are genetically prone to kidney stones include:

If your dog is among the dog breeds mentioned above, ensure they do not eat almonds. 

Gastrointestinal Tract Distress

Dogs are not capable of digesting almonds properly. Dogs’ inability to digest almonds can lead to gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea. Giving your dog almonds on infrequent occasions is not a problem. Problems arise with high consumption of almonds. Large dog breeds don’t have a problem digesting a few almonds, but small breeds will find them harder to digest. 

Risk of Aflatoxin Poisoning 

Aflatoxin is a toxin produced by Aspergillus, a mold that causes food spoilage. You can find aflatoxin on nuts like almonds and pistachios. When your dog eats almonds with Aspergillus mold, it can increase their risk of getting aflatoxin poisoning. Aflatoxin doesn’t affect humans much in small quantities, but dogs are more sensitive to this toxic substance. Symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning include:

  • Jaundice
  • Liver failure
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting 


You shouldn’t let your dog eat almonds if it is allergic to nuts. If your dog suffers from a nut allergy, even a small amount of almonds can negatively impact its health. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include sneezing or difficulty breathing. Contact your vet if you notice these symptoms. 

Actions To Take When Your Dog Eats Almonds

Dogs will react differently to the same amount of almonds eaten. The size of a dog determines the severity of its reaction to eating almonds. A large dog might not have a violent reaction, but a smaller dog will need extra care. If your dog eats some pieces of almond, watch it for about 6 to 12 hours. If you notice any change in appetite, vomiting or diarrhea, contact your vet. 

But, excess consumption of almonds will require an emergency visit to the vet. If your dog exhibits dehydration symptoms your vet can give IV fluids. The vet can also perform abdominal surgery if there is an intestinal blockage. 

Is Almond Butter Safe For Your Dog To Eat?

Peanut butter and a dog
Almond butter is safer than almonds, but still not ideal to feed in large quantities.

Halie West/Shutterstock.com

Almond butter is safe for your dog to eat in small quantities. With almond butter, you don’t have to worry about choking accidents. Also, there is no risk of intestinal blockage. Almond butter is more manageable for dogs to digest. They also contain vitamin E and dietary fiber, suitable for your dog’s skin. 

Nonetheless, small dog breeds are still at risk with almond butter. Avoid feeding almond butter to your smaller dogs. There is no risk if your large dog licks a little almond butter. But licking a significant amount will require a trip to the vet. Also, ensure that the almond butter doesn’t have any added additives. If you want to feed your dog almond butter, choose plain, natural almond butter. 

Is Almond Milk Safe For Your Dog?

Your dog can drink almond milk only in small amounts. Almond milk contains almonds and large amounts of water. Thus, it is safe for your dog to drink. However, it would help if you did not make almond milk a substitute for water. 

Furthermore, most store-bought almond milk has additives in them. It is not advisable to feed your dog almond milk with added flavors or sugar. If you want to buy almond milk for your dog, ensure that it contains more almonds than other additives. 

Additionally, almond milk that contains xylitol is hazardous to dogs. Xylitol is a toxic substance that is harmful to dogs. Most almond milk products humans consume are filled with extra flavor to make them less nutty. It is challenging for your dog to digest all these extra flavors and sugar. Any milk consumption for your dog should be done in moderation. 

Can Your Puppy Drink Almond Milk?

Almond milk is not advisable for puppies. To this end, your puppy might suffer from diarrhea after consuming excessive amounts of almond milk. Also, do not make almond milk a substitute for breast milk in young puppies. All newborn puppies should drink their mother’s milk. If the mother isn’t available, look for vet-approved puppy formula

Can Your Dog Eat Bitter Almonds?

Bitter almonds are not suitable for your dog to eat. These almonds contain a toxin that breaks down cyanide. Due to their toxicity, bitter almonds cannot be sold for canine consumption in the U.S. Also, your dog can get cyanide poisoning if it consumes bitter almonds. Symptoms of this poisoning include

  • Convulsions
  • Rapid breathing
  • Salivation
  • Paralysis
  • Death

Can Your Dog Eat Chinese Almonds?

No. Raw Chinese almonds contain minute amounts of cyanide. These almonds can be very dangerous to your dog in massive amounts. If you want to give your dog a Chinese almond, ensure that you roast it.

In Conclusion 

Technically, almonds are not toxic to dogs. But they are not a good dog treat either. Your dog’s nutrition is vital. The type of food you feed your dog will affect its health. Ensure that the majority of your dog’s diet is dog food and not snacks

Some specific human foods have harmful effects on dogs. Before you introduce almonds to your dog, consult with your vet. Your vet will let you know whether it’s safe for your dog or not. Also, feeding almonds to your dog does more harm than good. If you decide you want to feed your dog an almond or two, this article has discussed why your dog can’t eat almonds. 

In the interim, here are a few safe “human foods” that you can feed your dog as treats per the guidelines in each article:

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About the Author

Growing up in rural New England on a small scale farm gave me a lifelong passion for animals. I love learning about new wild animal species, habitats, animal evolutions, dogs, cats, and more. I've always been surrounded by pets and believe the best dog and best cat products are important to keeping our animals happy and healthy. It's my mission to help you learn more about wild animals, and how to care for your pets better with carefully reviewed products.