Yes, dogs can eat Brazil nuts. Unlike most members of the nuts family, Brazil nuts are not toxic to dogs. However, they are the fattest nut options and, therefore, should not be eaten frequently.
Brazilian nuts have a smooth and buttery texture and a characteristic nutty flavor. In other words, their specific taste might not be the favorite choice among dogs. And this is good news considering that although not directly toxic, Brazil nuts can be hazardous to dogs in large amounts.
- Why are Brazil Nuts Good for Dogs?
- Can Brazil Nuts be Bad for Dogs?
- How Much Brazil Nuts Can My Dog Eat?
- How to Prepare and Serve Brazil Nuts for Your Dog?
Why are Brazil Nuts Good for Dogs?
Brazil nuts have a unique nutritional profile and, if used correctly, can be beneficial for dogs. Plus, they are readily available. Let’s go through the reasons Brazil nuts are good for dogs.
Brazil nuts are a nutrient-dense food rich in vitamins (vitamin E and thiamine), minerals (selenium, copper, magnesium, manganese, zinc, phosphorus), fatty acids, antioxidants, and phytonutrients (phenols).
Quick Energy Source
In addition to being nutrient-dense, Brazil nuts are also energy-dense. One serving portion of Brazil nuts can feel the dog’s body, giving it enough energy to support its stamina.
Omega Fatty Acids
As much as 37% of the fat content in Brazil nuts are polyunsaturated fatty acids. Omegas are beneficial and contribute to boosted brain function, cardiovascular health, and shiny coat.
The unique blend of nutrients in Brazil nuts supports thyroid gland function. The thyroid hormones regulate growth, metabolism, and body temperature.
Rich Selenium Source
Containing between 96 and 400 mcg of selenium per piece, Brazil nuts are one of the densest sources of selenium. This trace mineral regulates various functions such as immunity, cellular growth, and hormonal status.
The vitamin E and selenium content combined with phenols (gallic acid and ellagic acid) make Brazil nuts antioxidant powerhouses. Antioxidants protect the cells from oxidative damage, thus reducing the risk of cancer.
Boosted Brain Health
Brazil nuts support brain health on several levels – the omega fatty acids nourish the brain while the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory features are protective. Brazil nuts can improve mood and are suitable for senior dogs with canine cognitive dysfunction.
Can Brazil Nuts be Bad for Dogs?
Yes, Brazil nuts can be bad for dogs. If given in large amounts or too frequently, Brazil nuts can be a troublesome nut for dogs.
Just because Brazil nuts are not directly toxic, it does not mean they can be served freely. Here are some reasons Brazil nuts can be bad for dogs.
Too Many Fats
All nuts are rich in fats, but Brazil nuts are definitely the fattest. Therefore, overeating on Brazil nuts can trigger acute pancreatitis. In the long-run, too many fats support weight gain.
Just one Brazil nut is enough to distress the stomach of a small dog. The telltale signs of digestive upset include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain.
All nuts are prone to developing molds. Two fungi species – Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus produce so-called aflatoxin. Aflatoxins have genotoxic and carcinogenic features. Acute aflatoxin poisoning causes liver and kidney damage.
While not as common as in people, nut allergies are a possibility in dogs. If your dog is prone to food sensitivities or has an established nut allergy, keep the Brazil nuts away from its food bowl.
Because of their size, Brazil nuts are a choking hazard, not just for small but also for larger dogs. To minimize this risk, they need to be chopped into smaller chunks (or grated) prior to serving.
How Much Brazil Nuts Can My Dog Eat?
Serving size is critically important when it comes to Brazil nuts for dogs. A medium-sized dog can eat half a Brazil nut once a week or every two weeks. Large and giant dogs can eat one whole nut, while smaller dogs should not be fed more than a quarter (or even less) of a Brazil nut.
If serving Brazil nuts for the first time, the rules are simple – you need to start small and monitor your dog’s reaction. If there are no signs of upset, you can increase the dose the next time. It is inadvisable to give Brazil nuts to puppies.
How to Prepare and Serve Brazil Nuts for Your Dog?
When preparing and serving Brazil nuts for your dog, you need to start with shopping. Brazil nuts are readily available in most stores.
Keep in mind that you should buy Brazil nuts alone and not trail mixes containing Brazil nuts, among other ingredients (most trail mix components are toxic to dogs).
Once you have the Brazil nuts at home, either store them in an air-tight container away from heat and moisture or if it is serving time, chop your dog’s serving size into smaller chunks. Alternatively, you can grate the Brazil nut and sprinkle it on top of the dog’s food.
All in all, Brazil nuts are a sometimes snack for dogs. They are nutritionally dense and rich in several health-boosting nutrients. However, they are also high in fats and can upset the dog’s digestive system.
If you decide to treat your dog with some Brazil nuts, stick to the feeding guidelines and do not overdo it. Also, remember that there are other healthier snack options for dogs.
- The Benefits of Omega-3 and Omega-6 for Dogs, Purina, 2021
- Nut Allergies in Dogs, Dr. Michele K. DVM, 2018
- Physical signs of canine cognitive dysfunction, Makiko OZAWA, Mai INOUE, Kazuyuki UCHIDA, 2019
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