Can Dogs Eat Chestnuts? (Is it Safe?)

a handful of chestnuts

Your habit of eating roasted chestnuts has made your dog curious about what you’re eating. Now they’re giving you the puppy dog eyes and begging for one; you’re tempted to give in, but you’re worried and unsure if it’s safe for them. So can dogs eat chestnuts?

Dogs can eat chestnuts, and they’re perfectly safe. They provide high amounts of protein, fiber, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids, which can be very beneficial for your dog’s health. However, you should only give your dogs chestnuts that are peeled, cooked, roasted, and unsalted.

If you want to know whether or not it’s safe to give chestnuts as a treat to your dogs, then read on! We’ll go over their benefits and how they can be harmful to your pups. Also, we’ll list down the other nuts that your dogs can eat.

Are Chestnuts Good for Dogs?

We know that chestnuts are chock full of amazing vitamins and minerals. But you may be surprised to learn how great they are if you want to improve your dog’s overall health. Especially if you have an older dog, adding chestnuts to their diet goes a long way in improving their pain response, dietary problems, and joint inflammation.

The omega-3 fatty acids in the chestnuts are the building blocks of eye and brain development, not only in humans but in dogs too. For older dogs with eye problems, the omega-3 fatty acid component exponentially improves their eye and brain function.

It also improves inflammation around the joints and muscles. So if your dog experiences joint pain or has arthritis, eating chestnuts will give their immune system added resistance. That, in turn, offers comfort and allows your dog to feel better rested.

In addition, omega-3 also provides plentiful supplementation for people with kidney problems and kidney disease. As such, having chestnuts significantly reduces your dog’s chances of experiencing kidney pain. It also prevents renal disease from progressing further quickly.

How Chestnuts Improve Your Dog’s Digestion

Along with omega-3, what makes chestnuts the star of all dry fruits is their protein and fiber content, which are essential components of every person’s (and dog’s) diet.

Proteins convert into amino acids, which help repair and build tissues in the body—fiber aids in digestive health. So, if your dog has a sensitive stomach and suffers from constipation, fiber helps soothe their tummy and encourages the growth of healthy bacteria. It also prevents any damage their intestines experience over time.

As for vitamins, we already know how crucial vitamins are for our health and our pets. Different vitamins help to detoxify the body. They strengthen the bones, behave as antioxidants, prevent inflammation, and slow down the effects of aging.

As a result, your dog’s body begins to heal itself. And if they’re older dogs, they start feeling a lot better if you maintain chestnuts as part of intheir daily diet.

Can Chestnuts Be Harmful to Dogs?

Generally speaking, chestnuts are harmless and non-toxic. They’re also healthy treats for your dogs and offer plenty of nourishment. However, chestnuts require a bit of preparation before you serve them. If you buy chestnuts to toast at home, you know you’ll need to peel them beforehand. Their shells are a choking hazard and can get stuck in your dog’s respiratory tract. So, before giving your dog chestnuts, you have to be sure that there’s no shell piece left on the nuts. But if you buy roasted chestnuts from the store, that poses a problem too.

Can I Give My Dog Salted Chestnuts?

Store-bought products such as chestnuts are typically doused with large amounts of salt for added flavor. But dogs aren’t allowed to have too much salt since it can be damaging to their health.

Putting the idea into perspective, the daily intake for humans is about 2,300mg (0.08oz). But for dogs, this amount comes down to their health. If your dog suffers from kidney or heart disease, they must be put on a low-sodium diet. Nevertheless, if they’re younger and have no health issues, then the correct amount would be 0.25g (0.01oz) per 100g (3.53oz) of dog food. This limit can extend to 1.5g (0.05oz) per 100g (3.53oz).

As such, any chestnuts that you buy from the store won’t suit your dog’s diet because too much sodium can lead to sodium ion poisoning, which causes the body to become severely dehydrated. Your dog may experience some alarming symptoms, such as:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Excess thirst
  • Urination

These symptoms can worsen over time and even lead to seizures and, eventually, a coma. And that can also lead to fatal consequences. Medication can prevent sodium-ion poisoning. But it’s best not to expose your dog to too much sodium to begin with.

When browsing for chestnuts at the store, always check the sodium content and make sure it’s not excessive or that the product is salt-free. For safety’s sake, the best step for serving chestnuts is to buy shelled chestnuts online, such as Anna and Sarah Large Oregon Hazelnuts (available on Amazon.com), and peel and roast them at home, so you know what’s going in your dog’s mouth.

What Type of Chestnuts Can I Give My Dog?

Roasted or cooked chestnuts that are free of salt are the best choice for dogs. They can also have fresh water chestnuts, provided that the water doesn’t contain too much sodium. You can also feed your dog cooked sweet chestnuts. Raw chestnuts aren’t allowed for dogs since these consist of a high-tannic acid component and can be harmful. Horse chestnuts are also on the no-no list because they can be toxic.

It would be best if you also didn’t feed your dog too many chestnuts, in general, because these nuts are very starchy, so they might upset their stomach.

Moderation is vital when giving your dog food. Stay consistent with your feeding quantity and schedule, and you should have no problem with your dog’s chestnut addiction.

What Other Nuts Can My Dog Eat?

Alongside chestnuts, there’s a long list of other nuts that can improve canine health. Contrary to what some may believe, while nuts are fatty or heavy in calories for dogs, they won’t harm your four-legged friend if you feed them nuts every once in a while. But the safe list of nuts is limited since some nuts can be toxic.

So let’s go over the safer options first:

Peanuts

Peanuts are perhaps the most common nuts that come to mind, and dogs will typically have no problem eating them. However, they must be de-shelled and unsalted.

As previously stated, dogs mustn’t have too much salt. You must also make sure that your dog doesn’t have any allergies. Otherwise, the nuts may trigger an allergic reaction.

What About Peanut Butter?

Yes, dogs love peanut butter, so you can feed them the creamy kind. A teaspoonful or limited quantity is usually enough for dogs. However, when looking for which type of peanut butter, look through the ingredients and make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol, which is a toxic substance for dogs.

Pistachios

While dogs can eat pistachios out of the shell, you mustn’t feed your dog too many because they’re high in fat content. You must also not let your dog eat any pistachio shell, as they’re not digestive and can become a blockage in your dog’s digestive system, which will cost you plenty to remove.

Cashews

Like pistachios, cashews are also high in fat content, but they exceed your dog’s fat intake limit. You can treat your dog to a small piece of cashew, but you’ll need to keep an eye on what they eat. Having too many cashews will lead to quick weight gain and may even lead to symptoms of pancreatitis.

Sunflower Seeds

If they’re out of the shell and unsalted, you can feed the sunflower seeds to your dog. Any unshelled seeds have the potential to become choking hazards, so you’ll want to steer clear of those.

What Nuts Are Harmful to Dogs?

While some nuts may not be toxic to humans, unfortunately, many can cause problems for your dog’s health, so you may want to remove them from your home and not feed your dog any food products that use the following nuts as well:

Almonds

Almonds aren’t toxic for dogs. But, like most in the nut family, these are also fat-heavy and calorie-heavy. Having too many will only lead to health problems like pancreatitis and weight gain. Even products like almond milk or almond butter may add to the bulk because of added ingredients, so it’s unwise to feed your dog any related product.

Pecans

Although pecans may seem safe to eat, the problem here is the size. Like walnuts, pecans are large and can be difficult to chew and digest for dogs. That, paired with the high-fat content, will make pecans hard for their digestive system to dissolve. It may also become a choking hazard if your dog doesn’t chew the pecan properly.

Walnuts

Walnuts are also prohibited for dogs. Although these nuts might be delicious, they don’t digest well like other dog food. Also, if you feed your dog the larger size walnuts, these can obstruct your dog’s bowel movements, leading to further problems. Remember, dogs don’t chew as well as humans. If walnuts are sometimes difficult for humans to chew, imagine the problems your dog will face.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are popular across the board among humans. But these are toxic for dogs. In places such as Hawaii or countries in South America where you may find macadamia nuts easily, dogs who ingested macadamia nuts began experiencing terrible symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and weakness, especially in the back legs.

Severe symptoms also included decreased activity levels, stomach pains, and lack of appetite, which led to more significant problems.

Pine Nuts

Pine nuts aren’t toxic to dogs, but that’s about the only positive quality if you think about them as dog food. They’re high in phosphorus and fat content, leading to stomach irritation, even if your dog eats them in small quantities. Having too many pine nuts can cause UTIs and urinary tract complications and can also lead to symptoms of pancreatitis. No matter how much you may want to experiment with your dog’s diet, it’s best to keep these nuts far away.

Final Thoughts

From all the nuts listed above, it seems that—in moderation—chestnuts remain the best nuts you can give your dog without worrying about their health.

Chestnuts are delicious and can be given as a treat once or twice a month. Only make sure that the nuts are well-roasted and unsalted.

Your dog will have a great time munching on them. And they’ll benefit from the many components that make chestnuts the tastiest nuts for everyone, humans and dogs!

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Andrew

My name is Andrew, and I've been around dogs my entire life. Look at my profile picture and, you see me as a little kid with my family's two German Shepherds. That's how my life with dogs started, and ever since, I've been both living and working with dogs.

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