Can dogs eat walnuts?

Pet owner offering dog nuts
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"Can dogs eat walnuts" is something you may have wondered if you're a dog parent. Particularly, if your dog is a foodie and is all about trying out human food in addition to their own.

It is important that your dog is fed the best dog food as their primary source of nutrition. Dogs have a unique requirement of protein, carbs, and fats they need to support healthy overall development, and dog food is designed to do just that.

However, who doesn't want a little snacky snack now and then?  There are certainly some foods that dogs should never eat, and you may be wondering if walnuts are on that list.

Well, so were we! We spoke to vet Dr. Hannah Godfrey and got the answer to your question, "Can dogs eat walnuts?" Here's what she had to say. 

Can dogs eat walnuts?

Close up of walnut

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Walnuts can be a healthy snack for us humans, as they are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and other vitamins. This may lead you to wonder, "Can dogs eat walnuts?" 

The answer is that while they are not technically toxic to dogs, they may not be the best snack for your pup. They're potential choking hazards due to their size and texture. This also includes shelled walnuts. 

"They’re really high in fat, so they’re not a good idea at all if your dog is prone to pancreatitis, and if your dog eats them more often than as an occasional treat, they’re likely to gain weight," says Dr. Hannah Godfrey.

How to serve walnuts to your dog

Pet owner offering treat to dog

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Dr. Godfrey advises that if you are going to offer walnuts to your pup, you want to be sure that they are English walnuts and that they are store bought. Black walnuts, which can be found in Australia can be toxic to dogs, as well as those that have been foraged after falling off a tree. "Mold can grow on old, fallen walnuts and cause fatal symptoms," she says.

If you decide to give your dog walnuts, be sure to break them into small pieces and remove the shells. 

Are walnuts beneficial to your dog?

Walnuts do not offer any significant health benefits to your pup. Dr. Godfrey notes that there are safer, healthier human foods that your dog can have. If you are interested in offering any of these foods, we recommend checking out 32 surprising things dogs can eat besides food

How many walnuts are safe to serve?

Walnuts in a jar

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If you are going to dish up some walnuts, be sure to only offer a couple and not very often. If you are navigating pancreatitis in dogs, this snack should definitely be avoided. 

While a few walnuts may not harm your pup, there are more beneficial snacks to offer your dog. Some of the best dog treats will be safe for your pooch to eat and contain ingredients to support their overall health. 

If you found this helpful you may also want to check out can dogs eat almonds and can dogs eat peanuts.

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Dr. Hannah Godfrey BVetMed MRCVS
Dr. Hannah Godfrey

Dr. Hannah Godfrey has been a Veterinary Surgeon since 2011. She began treating all species, focusing on small animals in 2014. In 2018 she moved to a smaller independent practice, where she continued to care for the animal community. Since 2023, she has been working as an Editor for a global medical communications company. 

Alexis De Leaver
Digital & Syndication Staff Writer

Alexis has been an editorial writer for over ten years. While her most of her writing has been focused on all things lifestyle content, she has a passion for animals that she hopes shines though in her pieces.