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Can I give my dog macadamia nuts?

Author: Adel Saadoun, Veterinary Doctor

Although dogs are carnivorous animals, it is normal to give them certain foods that we enjoy. However, there are some that can be dangerous or even toxic for your pet.

Although they are considered excellent appetizers for humans, macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs. Dozens of dogs are poisoned by these nuts every year.

In this article, we will explain the dangers of macadamia nuts, the signs of intoxication as well as foods to avoid that contain macadamia nuts.

Dangers of macadamia nuts for dogs

As with grapes and raisins, the reasons why these nuts are toxic to dogs are not known at this time.

Researchers believe it could be a mycotoxin in the processing products or even a genetic origin in the dog, but the fact is that even a small amount of macadamia nuts causes severe symptoms in dogs. Even cooking them does not destroy their toxic effect.

All parts of the fruit are poisonous. All dogs, regardless of breed, age or sex, are likely to be intoxicated by macadamia nuts.

Symptoms of macadamia nut poisoning in dogs

Generally, the first symptoms of macadamia nut poisoning in dogs appear after 12 hours of ingestion. They may disappear after 24 to 48 hours but it is still necessary to take your pet to the vet.

The main symptoms of this poisoning include:

  • Mild weakness;
  • Depression;
  • Vomiting;
  • Ataxia (problems with balance and coordination of movements);
  • Hyperthermia;
  • Tremors.

Death by macadamia nut poisoning is rare, but it is highly inadvisable to give this fruit to your dog, even occasionally.

Macadamia nuts: toxic amount or dose in dogs

Even in small quantities, macadamia nuts are toxic. It has been established that the toxic dose is 2.2 g/kg (some researchers talk of 0.7g per kg of body weight). The ingestion of this dose causes digestive and neurological symptoms. Knowing that a nut weighs on average 2 to 3 g, in practical terms, we estimated the toxicity to 2 nuts for a Chihuahua and 20 to 25 nuts for a Labrador.

To avoid any risk of poisoning your dog, simply remove macadamia nuts and all products containing them from your dog’s diet.

What foods contain macadamia nuts?

Macadamia nuts are never found in dog food. In other words, the source of these nuts is either an owner who feeds them to their dog or the processed nuts found in other foods.

Foods that contain nuts are generally baked goods: bread, cakes, pastries, muffins or cookies but also in some oils and cosmetics.

What should I do if my dog has ingested macadamia nuts?

If your dog has ingested macadamia nuts, the first thing to do is to contact a veterinarian as soon as possible after consumption. Don’t take any action (don’t make him vomit or give him anything to drink) until you get professional advice.

A quick recovery will depend on prompt attention. The quicker you react, the better the dog’s chances of recovering without complications. A visit to the veterinarian is essential. The vet will try to make the dog vomit and, in severe cases, hospitalization will be necessary.

Macadamia nut poisoning is not usually fatal and with prompt treatment, the dog will recover within a few days.

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