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My Dog Ate Pistachio Shells, Are They Toxic?

Many safe human foods can be poisonous for our dogs. Grapes and chocolate are delicious, but they can be fatal if you give them to a dog. 

Dogs do not know how to distinguish between what is bad for them and what is not. Therefore, it is our job to keep them away from food that can be toxic for them. 

Pistachios are not a hundred percent toxic for dogs, but not all dogs react similarly to ingesting them. For some dogs, it only produces discomfort and intestinal problems that last for a day or two.

But for others, it can lead to pancreatitis, obesity, and gastrointestinal distress. If your dog has eaten pistachios and you don't know what to do, then this is the article for you. 

What to Do if Your Dog Ate Pistachio Shells?

Photo of Pistachio Shells And Nuts

The first thing to do if your dog eats something he or she is not supposed to eat is to stay calm.

Make sure to check how much of the product that your dog ate. Keep an eye on your dog's behavior, and consult with your vet if you notice anything wrong. 

It is usual for dogs to present with diarrhea or vomiting. if they ingest something they are not meant to. It is normal for these symptoms to last a couple of days at most. 

If your dog presents gastrointestinal problems for more than a couple of days, then you should check with your veterinarian

If your dog eats pistachio shells and he seems normal and with the same level of energy and appetite, you should not worry. Just prevent him from eating more pistachios or other nuts. 

However, if you see your dog acting abnormally or with low energy after eating the shells, then go straight to the vet. 

Do not try to induce vomiting if your dog is eating pistachio shells, as this can create more problems. Most dogs will vomit things they shouldn't have eaten, so wait a couple of hours and keep your eyes open for any serious symptoms. 

Note: Keep your dogs away from any toxic foods to avoid any significant complications. If you have a big dog, put everything in the cabinets, and keep the bathroom and kitchen doors closed.

Are the Shells Toxic?

Photo of dog eats pistachio

Pistachio shells are not inherently toxic for dogs, but they are not meant for them to eat either.

By themselves, pistachios shells won't create a significant problem, but that depends on the number of shells your dog has eaten. 

A large amount of any nuts will create different health problems for your dog as they cannot digest or process them. However, other complications could occur if your dog has eaten pistachio shells. 

If your dog has eaten many pistachio shells, he could develop Aspergillosis. 

Aspergillosis

Pistachio shells can harbor a type of mold called Aspergillus. This mold produces a kind of toxin that can be highly dangerous for dogs. The sickness produced by the mold is called Aspergillosis. 

The mold enters the body, and it begins growing inside. The damage done to the dog will depend on which parts of the body the mold establishes. If it attacks the respiratory system, then chances are it will grow all over the lungs. 

The symptoms caused by the disease include lameness, weakness, and incoordination. Other significant symptoms are pus over the respiratory tracts and bleeding in the infected areas. Fever and weight loss are also common if your dog develops Aspergillosis. 

Aspergillus mold is an opportunistic pathogen, and it affects mostly dogs with a compromised immune system. German Shepards are more susceptible to the disease because of breed genetics. 

It is not common for dogs to develop Aspergillosis by eating nuts or other food. Still, cases do exist, so you should be careful with them. Aspergillosis is fatal in most cases, even if it is detected early. 

What to Do if Your Dog Ate Whole Pistachios?

Photo of  dog at a vet

If your dog has eaten the whole pistachio, it could lead up to pistachio poisoning.

Pistachio poisoning occurs when a dog eats many pistachios and can produce vomiting, fever, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal problems. 

Here is a list of the symptoms of pistachio poisoning: 

  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Greasy stools
  • Vomiting

The symptoms should disappear in a matter of days. Still, if they persist, you should consult with a veterinarian as soon as possible. 

Other Risks of Pistachios for Dogs

Nuts like pistachios are high in salt and fat, making it difficult for dogs to digest or process them.

We don't recommend giving dogs or other animals any type of nuts. They can cause the following problems: 

  • Aflatoxin: Aflatoxin is a mild condition that can cause gastrointestinal problems. It is not lethal but can produce distress in your dog and should be treated by a professional. 
  • Choking: Another problem caused by nut consumption is the possibility of choking. Pistachios and other nuts are dry fruits, and they can cause humans to choke if we are not careful. In dogs, the chance of choking is higher because they do not have an understanding of it and get distressed about it a lot faster. 
  • Pancreatitis: Nuts are high in fat, and pistachios are no exception. A dog's digestive system is not meant to process pistachios' fat, leading to liver and pancreas problems. Pistachios can also cause kidney stones in dogs because of the amount of salt they have. 

What to Do if Your Dog Ate Pistachios With No Shells?

Suppose your dog eats pistachios with no shells. In that case, the possibilities are the same as if he had eaten full pistachios minus Aflatoxin. 

Pistachios can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms for a couple of days at most. If the symptoms persist, then head to the vet. 

When to Contact Your Vet?

Photo of Symptoms Of Food Poisoning

You should contact your vet if your dog presents dehydration, diarrhea, vomits, or greasy stools for more than a day or two.

Suppose your dog keeps showing those symptoms for an extended period. In that case, it could mean that his body is reacting poorly to the pistachios. 

Contact your veterinarian as soon as possible if your dog presents the following symptoms: 

  • Lethargy
  • Orange urine
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Lack of appetite

The symptoms mentioned above are signs of pancreatitis, which is a severe disease that you must treat immediately. 

Are Other Foods Toxic to Dogs? 

Nuts like pistachios are not the only foods that are great for humans but toxic for dogs.

Dogs' digestive systems are not used to certain kinds of fruits and vegetables. 

Chocolate

Photo of Dog Loves Chocolate Biscuits

Chocolate is one of the most delicious foods in the world. You can eat it or drink it, and use it in some of the best desserts. However, chocolate is highly toxic to dogs and other animals. 

Chocolate can affect a dog's guts, heart, kidneys, and central nervous system. The symptoms will start manifesting four to twenty-four hours after eating the chocolate. Some of the symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, fever, hyperactivity, and seizures. 

It is essential to keep your dog away from it, but do not worry just yet if they eat it. Your dog needs to eat a high percentage of pure chocolate for it to be dangerous. 

Coffee 

Coffee is like chocolate to dogs. It is a stimulant that can affect the central nervous system.

Like chocolate, coffee sips won't be fatal, but it will produce the same symptoms as chocolate if drunk in large amounts. 

In large amounts, both coffee and chocolate can be fatal even if treated. 

Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic are the basis of most dishes and are excellent seasonings for your food. 

Onions are great for the human respiratory system and are also natural medicines. However, both onions and garlic can destroy a dog's red blood cells leading to severe anemia cases. 

Alcohol

Alcohol is bad for dogs as it is for humans, if not more. Drinking alcohol can lead to vomiting, decreased coordination, nervous system depression, tremors, and other severe symptoms that can put the life of your dog at risk. 

Grapes and Raisins

Photo of Grapes And Reisins

Although the exact cause is unknown, grapes and raisins will damage your dog's kidneys. In this case, there is no safe dose, and you should prevent your dog from eating them. 

Bones

Bones are not bad by themselves, but they can lead to choking if the dog manages to break them. Preferably, do not give your dog bones from fish, birds, or pork. 

Conclusion

Pistachios and other nuts are not something dogs should be eating. They are not fatal in small doses, but large amounts can lead to severe pancreatitis and kidney failure problems. 

Pistachios can also harbor a type of mold that can cause a fatal disease called Aspergillosis. If you notice ongoing dehydration or vomiting, you should contact your vet immediately. 

Overall, the best way to keep your dog healthy is by storing any harmful food away from them. Close doors and keep food and medicine on tall cabinets if you have a big-size dog.