Are Pistachios Bad for Dogs? 4 Potential Risks With Safety Guidelines

Be it at work or during a toilsome hiking trip, pistachios would always give you the needed energy to boost your spirit to the fullest. Now, that was about you. But what about your dog? When you indulge in popping a few of these nuts straight away into your mouth, and your dog comes in between, what would you do? Will you get carried away by those innocent looks and be tempted to give him some of your shares?

Well, before you do that, you need to know if pistachio is beneficial for your dog or could the ingestion of these nuts result in health hazards. Not all of the food that you eat is considered safe for your four-legged friend. Read on to learn more about the effects of pistachio on dogs.

Dogs and Pistachios

Dogs and Pistachios

Your dog has an increased liking for the food you eat and will never miss an opportunity to lick the leftovers from your plate. Are nuts an important part of your diet? Well, if this is the case, then make sure that your dogs get less access to the same.

Pistachio indeed has several health benefits as it is a good source of Vitamin B6 and fiber. Yet when it comes to your dog, giving them these nuts once in a while in measured amounts is fine. Nothing more than that. Remember, just 10% of a dog’s diet should comprise treats. The remaining 90% should come from other healthy sources.

Are Pistachios Good or Bad for Dogs?

Well, to answer this question in short, pistachio isn’t bad or toxic for dogs when eaten rightly and in moderate amounts. Talking about the good side of nuts, it does have nutritional content. Yet, it will not have an immense impact on your dog.

However, increased consumption of pistachio could result in harmful effects. Moreover, the shells of pistachio could trigger a choking hazard when swallowed. Let us take a look at the possible risks dogs could face upon ingesting pistachio.

1. Could Cause Choking Hazards

Could Cause Choking Hazards

If your dog mistakenly swallows the shells, they could get stuck in his throat. Your pet could be at risk of a choking hazard. He may even get choked if he swallows a whole nut instead of biting it.

So, the next time you eat a nut, remember to dispose of the shells in a trashcan. In this way, you can prevent your dog from getting access to it.

If you sense that your dog has eaten the shell, you will have to watch him. If he is choked, your dog will paw at his mouth. He may even start coughing and become unresponsive in extreme cases. If your dog seems choked, do not delay in taking him to the vet.

2. Might Be At the Risk of Ingesting Toxic Substances

Pistachios cannot directly be deemed poisonous to dogs. But some of the components present in the nuts can cause toxic effects. Let’s first talk about urushiol, which isn’t present in the nuts but in the shells. It’s a chemical that is present in poison ivy, causing allergic reactions in dogs upon exposure or ingestion.

Let’s also talk about aflatoxin, that’s a kind of fungal toxin known to contaminate several plants. Pistachios are also at risk of being contaminated by this toxin, especially when their shells split upon maturation. If the nut has been infected by aflatoxin, it will mostly appear discolored. If your dog consumes such contaminated nuts, he could have gastrointestinal disorders, appear lethargic, and even be weak. Severe bouts of aflatoxin poisoning can lead to the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Sluggishness
  • Reduced appetite
  • Jaundice
  • Bleeding or bruising without a cause

3. Could Suffer From Pancreatitis

Could Suffer From Pancreatitis

Pistachios have an increased content of salt and fat. So, when your dog has too many of these nuts in one go or eats them in small amounts at regular intervals, he could be at risk of pancreatitis. It is extremely serious, and the condition doesn’t take much time to progress.

If your dog has consumed too many pistachios and appears lethargic or has gastrointestinal disorders, then a vet’s consultation is the need of the hour.

4. The High Sodium Content May Pose a Risk

Pistachio has a high sodium content, present in increased amounts in the roasted nuts than the raw variants. When your dog ingests too much salt, it could lead to lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea. It even results in excessive thirst and increased urination as well.

How Many Pistachios Can a Dog Eat At a Time?

How Many Pistachios Can a Dog Eat At a Time?

When your dog eats these nuts in measured amounts once in a while, he’ll be fine. The amount of pistachio a dog can have at a time depends on its size. Take a look at the table below:

How Many Pistachios to Give Your Dog?
Weight Number of pistachios
2-20 pounds1
21-30 pounds2
31-50 pounds3-4
51-90 pounds5-6
Over 90 pounds7-8

How To Feed Your Dogs Pistachio Nuts Safely?

If you have to give your dog pistachios, take extra care about the quantity, lest it could cause adverse effects. Here are some of the things that you need to keep in mind when feeding your dog pistachio:

  1. When buying pistachio for your dog, always go for the plain ones sans any salt.
  2. If you have to give your dog pistachios, care more about the quantity. Else, it could cause adverse effects.
  3. One of the best ways of feeding your dog pistachio, particularly if you have a small dog, is to crush the nuts well and add them to your dog’s food.
  4. Before adding anything new to a dog’s diet, you should speak to the vet at once. This is because your dog might not respond to that particular food well. So, a vet’s consultation is important when introducing these nuts to your dog’s food.

What to Do If Your Dog Has Eaten Pistachio?

What to Do If Your Dog Has Eaten Pistachio?

When your dog has eaten pistachio, there isn’t any need to panic. But you must be vigilant and monitor your dog’s behavior. If possible, the most important aspect to check is how many pistachios he had.

You could have perhaps dropped two or three of them on the ground when enjoying the snack. Your dog seized the golden opportunity and put them right into his mouth. Or, maybe he got access to the jars containing pistachio. He popped some of them into his mouth.

So, the first thing you have to do is check how many pistachios your dog ate. This will help you detect if the pistachio could have any serious effects on your dog’s health. Moreover, you must also find out if your dog consumed the shells as well. You could check his mouth. If he is choked, you’ll understand that through his behavior. He will drool, paw at his mouth, and cough or gag repeatedly.

If he has ingested a lot of pistachios, you’ll notice gastrointestinal disorders like vomiting, abdominal pain, etc.

If you see any change in your dog’s behavior after consuming pistachio that doesn’t seem right to you, then do not delay in consulting a vet.

Symptoms of Pistachio Poisoning In Dogs

Though pistachio isn’t toxic, as already mentioned, it could hurt the dog’s health when ingested in increased amounts.

Moreover, if your dog ingests pistachios contaminated with aflatoxin, then he could be at risk of pistachio toxicity. The shells could have toxic effects as well. The symptoms vary according to the impact these nuts have had on your dog. Let’s take a look.

1. Signs of Overconsumption of Pistachio

Signs of Overconsumption of Pistachio

When your dog has eaten too many nuts at once or keeps having them in small amounts but frequently, then he could display the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Greasy Stools

2. Signs That Your Dog Is Suffering From Pancreatitis

When you see these symptoms in your dog, do not delay in contacting a vet. The slightest delay may take a severe toll on your dog’s health.

  • Appetite loss
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Weakness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Distended abdomen
  • Breathing Problem
  • Orange urine
  • Arrhythmia
  • Weakness
  • Restlessness

3. Signs of Aflatoxin Poisoning

Signs of Aflatoxin Poisoning

If your dog has consumed the contaminated pistachios, then he could be at risk of aflatoxin poisoning. Here are the symptoms.

  • Lethargy
  • Liver failure
  • Vomiting
  • Jaundice
  • Lessened Appetite
  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood clotting (in severe cases)

Treatment and Diagnosis

Your vet will take detailed information about how many pistachios your dog ate. He will also ask what else your pet ate. Besides examining your dog physically, the vet may also advise for some bloodwork in case the symptoms are severe. An ultrasound and X-ray may be needed if there are any blockages in the throat or intestine.

The treatment depends on the effect of the pistachios on your dog. If he is severely dehydrated because of vomiting, IV fluids might be needed. Antibiotics, as well as medicines to alleviate nausea, and pain, may also be given if needed. If the pistachios have severely affected the liver, then drugs to improve liver functions will also be prescribed.


Q. Can dogs eat pistachio ice cream?

As mentioned, pistachios aren’t toxic but will hurt your dog’s digestion when eaten in large amounts. When it comes to pistachio ice cream, that isn’t a safe option for dogs at all. They have a high fat and sugar content. To top it all, some ice creams even have chocolates and xylitol as their main ingredient.
Plus, some canines could be lactose intolerant as well. So licking a dollop of pistachio ice cream is okay, but not more than that. However, if xylitol is one of the main ingredients of the ice cream, then even a small amount of it could cause harmful effects.

Q. What are the other nuts that dogs should not eat?

Pistachio isn’t toxic but should be avoided. However, there are some nuts considered highly toxic for dogs. These include macadamia, raw cashews, and black walnuts.

Q. What to do to prevent your dog from eating pistachio?

Keep the pistachios in a jar with a tight lid on a high shelf, way above your dog’s reach. After you’ve eaten pistachio, ensure to clear away the table and floor.
When you keep your dog busy with meaningful activities, he will be less inclined to search for and pick up things lying on the floor. 
If you are looking for healthy treats, look out for better and healthier options. They may include veggies like pumpkin, cucumber, carrot, broccoli, squash, and green bean.


So, to sum it up, it’s better to prevent your dog from eating pistachio if possible. There are a lot of healthy treat options to avail. Yet, a small amount of pistachio occasionally wouldn’t be bad either. But do not make it a regular habit, though, lest it could adversely affect your dog’s health.

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