Question: Can dogs eat cashews? Or are cashews bad for dogs?
Answer: To human beings, cashews are delicious snacks that are easy to get access to in many useful situations.
Add to that the fact that raw cashews in their un-fried and un-salted versions have received very positive feedback from the fitness community during recent years (thanks to the vast nutrients, antioxidants, good fats and proteins contained in them), who wouldn’t want to grab themselves some cashews every now and then?
But, when you’re eating some cashews and your dog comes along asking for you to share some with them, what do you do? Well, for starters, you probably ask yourself “can dogs eat cashews?”, which is what led you here the first place!
But, what about cashews? There are a fair number of issues you have to be aware of before feeding your dog any cashews, all of which will be covered in this article.
Can Dogs Have Cashews?
If you’ve previously asked another dog owner this question, or have previously ran a quick search online about it, you’ve probably came across at least one answer that has demonized all nuts alike, as far as feeding them to your dog is concerned.
Well, in this case, science begs to differ. Not all nuts are created alike, and not all nuts are bad for dogs.
YES, dogs can eat cashews and cashews aren’t poisonous to dogs, however there are a few more important details you have to know about the form of cashews your dog should be eating and the form of cashews your dog shouldn’t be eating (more on that later in a section below).
As long as we’re talking about cashews that haven’t been fried or salted, then yes, occasionally and in moderate amounts, dogs can eat cashews, unless they are allergic to cashews, have bladder stone problems or are known to be prone to pancreatitis.
However, if you’re someone who believes in the saying “better safe than sorry”, I would resist the urge of feeding my dog any cashews altogether and focus on more guaranteed safe nuts.
How Can Dogs Have Cashews?
To start off, make sure any cashews you give to your dog are cooked, steamed or roasted, because raw cashews have toxic elements in them which are harmful to your dog.
The toxic elements found in raw cashews can be easily eliminated when the cashews are subject to high temperatures, which is exactly what happens during the cooking, steaming or roasting procedures.
You should also make sure that any cashews you feed to your dog are unsalted (if you can’t find unsalted cashews, try to find cashews that have the salt in them reduced as much as possible), because sodium can be deadly to dogs.
The amount of salt found in your typical bag of fried cashews is enough to pose a serious risk of your dog developing sodium poisoning.
How Much Cashews Can Dogs Eat?
If you’re going to feed your dog cashews, stick to doing it only on occasions and only offering a few of them to your dog as a treat. Never make a frequent habit out of it, for many reasons you’ll be seeing in this list below.
Eating too much cashews can lead to:
- Pancreatitis, due to the very high levels of fat contained in cashews (even though cashews contain significantly less amounts of fat in comparison to other nuts, they still contain a high amount of fat nonetheless)
- An upset stomach due to the high levels of sugar in cashews
- Fast weight gain, due to the very high calorie count in cashews (around 20 cashews contain about 160 calories, which is a very high number of calories for a relatively small sized snack). Again, the very high calorie count is directly related to the high levels of fat found in cashews, since fat (among the 3 macronutrients) is on top of the list when it comes to yielding the highest amount of calories on a gram to gram basis.
- Blockages in your dog’s arteries that gradually increase over time, which is a result of the consumption of too much fat over time
- Having your dog develop a painful case of bladder stones, since cashews are particularly high in phosphorus, and excess levels of phosphorus in the body contributes to the formation of bladder stones
- The development of certain allergic reactions in some dogs, and this is a very common occurance nowadays as many dogs are allergic to cashews and their owners don’t know about it before they feed them some. These allergic reactions can differ from from mild to severe, depending on a whole host of factors. So ideally, you should make sure your dog isn’t allergic to cashews before you give them some to eat.
Why Are Cashews Good For Dogs?
- Provide your dog with an excellent supply of dietary fiber they need to keep their digestive system optimally functioning
- Contain a wide variety of antioxidants
- Are rich in omega-6 fatty acids, which is a very beneficial kind of fat for the body (especially when given to dogs in adequate amounts in addition to omega-3 fatty acids)
- Help improve skin and coat conditions
- Are a good source of calcium
- Are a good source of copper
- Contain flavanols
- Are rich in folic acid
- Are a good source of iron
- Are a good source of magnesium
- Are a good source of manganese
- Are a good source of phosphorus
- Are a good source of zinc
- Are rich in vitamin K
- Are a great source of protein
- Help improve brain function
- Rich in monounsaturated fat (the good kind of fat) and very low in saturated fat (the bad kind of fat)
- Protect from cardiovascular diseases
One thing you have to keep in mind though is that, unlike how your body and my body can tremendously benefit from eating cashews (and other nuts as well), the bodies of dogs don’t exactly work the same way yours and mine does.
Meaning, dogs have very different nutritional needs and require a different combination of minerals and vitamins than humans, which is why you should always focus the majority of your dog’s diet on dog food products that were specifically produced to meet their nutrition needs.
Any and all other “human foods” like cashews shouldn’t be looked at from the “how much healthier will this food make my dog” perspective, because truth be told, you won’t be feeding them enough of these foods for them to make a significant positive health effect on your dog.
Just make sure that any food you’re thinking about feeding your dog as a treat (such as cashews in this case) are safe for dogs to eat from time to time, and leave it at that – let the bulk of your dog’s diet that comes from premium dog food take care of the “making my dog the healthiest, best version of themselves they can be” part.