Cashews are rich in protein, minerals, vitamins, and healthy fats known as anti-oxidants. Although most dogs can eat and tolerate cashews in moderation, there are some things to be aware of before you decide to give these treats to your pet. Not every dog can or should eat cashews, so it's important to find out if cashews are healthy and safe food for your favorite furry friend.
Cashews can deliver health benefits to dogs due to their high nutritional content. These nuts are rich in:
The fatty acids help decrease inflammation that might build up in your dog's body. They also keep the skin moist, add brilliant shine and softness to the coat, and protect against cardiovascular disease. Calcium helps keep bones and teeth strong. The other nutrients found in cashews are good for canine health, but generally only in trace amounts.
Although cashews have a lot of protein packed into them, they are also high in fat and calories. Some dogs that are prone to weight gain, and even those that are of average weight, should be strictly limited to the number of cashews they're fed. A diet that is high in fat can lead to a dog developing pancreatitis, a dangerous condition that causes inflammation of the pancreas, or obesity. When a dog becomes severely overweight, it can lead to issues like diabetes or arthritis.
The majority of canines are not allergic to cashews, but there is a chance that your pet might develop such an allergy. Dogs can have allergies to certain foods just like humans can. For this reason, it's a good idea to keep an eye on your pet when giving him any new food. To determine if your dog has an allergy to cashews, watch closely for signs of itching, swelling, diarrhea, vomiting or hives when feeding Fido cashews or any new food for the first time.
Cashews contain high levels of phosphorus. Phosphorus is an essential mineral for the growth of dogs' bones and cartilage. Yet too much of this mineral in your pet's diet can lead to your veterinarian diagnosing certain health disorders. Taking in too much phosphorus in a diet can lead to the formation of painful bladder stones. Phosphorus in large amounts can also cause a calcium deficiency that can develop into osteoporosis.
If you want your pooch to enjoy a few cashews every now and then, be sure they are cooked. Raw cashews contain a toxic resin called urushiol that can be harmful to your pet. This is the same toxin found in poison ivy. Steaming or roasting raw cashews removes the toxic substance, so present your dog with only cooked cashews.
Cashews are naturally high in sodium. If you like giving your dog cashew treats every now and then, be sure there is no added salt. There is probably salt in your pet's dog food and other treats you provide. Too much salt can lead to the development of serious health issues, although the right amount of sodium is an important part of a dog's daily diet. It's important not to complicate a dog's health with added, unnecessary salted cashews. Too much sodium can cause excessive thirst, causing more water intake that can lead to kidney issues.
Keep in mind that cashews, being high in fat, calories, and protein, can make a dog feel full. If you give your pet a treat of cashews around mealtime, it can disrupt her appetite for regular dog food. Try to dole out an occasional snack of cashews at least four hours after or before your pet's usual meal.
If you've never given your dog a cashew or any other food, present that first bite of a new taste carefully. Some dogs have sensitive stomachs that respond negatively to certain foods that are introduced to the diet suddenly. Presenting your dog with a different food, like cashews, runs the risk of upsetting his digestive system. Instead, give your pooch a new treat, like cashews, slowly and just a very little bit at a time. This may lessen the risk of stomach upsets.
Introduce cashews to your pet slowly to check for possible allergic reactions and stomach sensitivity. A good rule of thumb is, to begin with just half a cashew and then see how your dog reacts. If she shows no ill side effects, you may still want to limit a cashew treat to no more than a couple of nuts at a time. Very small dogs may need cashews cut in half to avoid choking. Larger breeds may be able to tolerate more than a couple of cashews at a sitting, but these treats should be rationed carefully.
Any dog who has had pancreatitis is overweight or has been shown to have an allergy to any other type of nut should not eat cashews. Some specific female breeds who are older are at a higher risk for developing pancreatitis. They should also avoid cashews. These breeds include:
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