Did you accidentally drop some walnuts on the floor and your pet ate them faster than you could pick them up? You might be worried, especially if they were shelled or if they were black walnuts. In today’s post, learn what you should do in case your pet ate these nuts that could be potentially dangerous to him.
Are Walnuts Safe for Dogs?
The answer depends on the kind of walnut your dog ingested, as well as the amount he ate. Black walnuts are considered to be toxic to dogs. The root of the tree contains a toxic substance called juglone. However, dogs are not intoxicated because of it. The poison usually comes from mold, which starts growing once the walnuts fall off the tree.
In case your pet already swallowed them out of curiosity, watch out for signs of gastrointestinal distress. This usually starts with diarrhea then followed by vomiting. In cases like this, vets normally prescribe medications that can help in reducing the excess gas in the stomach.
A human medication commonly given to canines is Zantac, which is really intended for treating heartburn. You have to call your vet to check how much Zantac you can give to your pet because the dosage will be based on his weight.
Don’t offer your pet any food while the stomach upset has not been addressed. Giving anything to your dog will only worsen the situation because his digestive system is not working as it should. Fasting is necessary but don’t forget to give your dog fresh water so he does not become dehydrated.
What You Need to Know About Mold Poisoning
Mold poisoning is quite common in dogs since a lot of them raid the trash and eat food that has already gone bad. The mold found in nuts is the most common type of mycotoxins which can also be found on dairy products and bread. Eating moldy walnuts in large quantities can cause seizures in canines.
In case you have a black walnut tree in your yard, don’t let your pet eat the nuts that fall from it. The mold in these nuts contains the Penitrem A mycotoxin that can cause tremors in dogs. The other symptoms of mycotoxin poisoning in canines are hyperthermia, ataxia, and involuntary eye movement.
What about Store-Bought Walnuts?
The English walnuts, on the other hand, do not contain any poisonous substances but they can still cause stomach upset in animals. It depends on how many your dog has eaten. If it’s a small amount, your buddy will surely be fine. One or two pieces should not cause any ill effect in canines, especially if they are good walnuts fresh from the store.
This is the kind of walnuts that most dogs get into. In case your pet accidentally ate only a couple of them, then there is nothing you should be concerned about. The problem only starts when your buddy ate a large quantity of these nuts.
Still, it would not hurt to keep an eye on your dog to see if he does not suffer from stomach upset. If he did not vomit or had runny stools after eating walnuts, then there is nothing for you to worry about.
What Are the Potential Risks of Walnuts for Dogs?
Aside from mold poisoning and gastrointestinal upset, here are the other dangers of feeding walnuts to dogs:
- They can cause an internal obstruction. This occurs if the pet ate the walnuts with the shells still intact. In case your pet ate the shells of the walnuts, bring him to the veterinarian. Dogs, especially small ones, are quite prone to intestinal obstruction and this can be a life-threatening condition for them.
- They can cause pancreatitis. The inflammation of the pancreas can happen in dogs when they are exposed to fatty foods. Unfortunately, all kinds of nuts are subject to high-fat content. So even if the regular walnuts are not toxic to dogs, it’s not a good idea to give them to dogs because of the fat they contain. An ounce, which is around 14 halves of walnuts, contains 18 grams of walnuts. Eating walnuts regularly can make your dog fat and eventually suffer from pancreatitis.
- They can cause allergic reactions. Although rare, walnuts can still cause hypersensitivity in some dogs. In case your pet has a history of allergies, don’t give him walnuts at all. Some dogs are quite sensitive and they tend to have allergic symptoms even after eating small amounts of nuts.
What to Do If Your Dog Got Sick from Eating Walnuts?
If the nuts are black or shelled walnuts and your pet has been suffering from diarrhea and throwing up non-stop, call your vet immediately. Or better yet, bring the dog to the nearest veterinary hospital. Aside from vomiting and diarrhea, the other warning signs to keep an eye on are tremor, nausea, and shaking.
Induced vomiting may be performed given that the incident took place only a couple of hours before. Your vet will likely instruct you to proceed with induced vomiting when necessary. If you never did this before, better call your vet because inducing vomiting can be risky when done the wrong way. There is an appropriate dosage for this and it will depend on the size of your dog.
Forcing a dog to vomit can help reduce the amount of toxic substance in the body. However, it should be done under a vet’s guidance. A 3% Hydrogen Peroxide solution can be given to canines to get rid of the mycotoxins. The solution works by irritating your pet’s intestinal tract and it should not be administered more than twice.
The dog should be fine once he vomited with the help of the Hydrogen Peroxide. Vomiting should occur not more than 15 minutes after the administration. Based on the standard dosage, dogs can safely take 5 ml for every 10 pounds of their body weight.
In case induced vomiting can no longer be done, the vet may proceed with gastric irrigation. With this procedure, the contents of the stomach are cleaned out. This is done to dogs who ingested large amounts of toxic substances. The gastric lavage fluid will also be tested to confirm the toxicant.
The best thing to do is to bring the pet to the vet, along with the walnuts so the doctor can confirm if they are really the culprit. The nuts should be examined in the laboratory to identify the kind of mycotoxins found in them. Only this way your vet will be able to prescribe the necessary drug.
When you are not adept in doing this and you cannot bring your pet to the animal clinic, simply call your vet to see what else you can do for your pet. Never administer any drug without speaking to a vet first because certain drugs have side effects and can harm your dog if given in the wrong dosage.
Treats to Give Your Pet Instead
There are nuts that are more wholesome than walnut for canines. Peanuts are dog-friendly but you should still serve them to your pet in small amounts. Don’t forget that a dog’s digestive system is not really compatible with all sorts of the food we usually eat.
Or instead of sharing nuts to your buddy, give him healthier options such as berries and bananas. Blueberries are high in antioxidants while bananas are a rich source of potassium and Vitamin C. If you’re thinking of giving your dog apples, make sure to slice them in bite-sized pieces and remove the seeds.
Walnuts are best to be avoided to ensure your dog’s safety. The English walnuts are not poisonous to our pets but they are not a wholesome treat either because of the high amounts of fat. The black walnuts should be totally avoided to prevent mold toxicity from happening. Mold poisoning can kill a dog when not treated immediately.
Apart from the fact that walnuts post certain risks to canines, they have no known benefits to them. In fact, these nuts could do more harm than help, so don’t give them as much as possible. When you’re snacking on walnuts, just give your pet his kibbles or chopped veggies or fruits.