Sometimes it seems like dogs will eat anything. That doesn't mean they should, though. A dog's digestive system is different from a human's, and pet owners need to be aware of what dogs can and can't eat. Sometimes, despite an owner's best efforts, dogs can get a hold of foods they're not supposed to have. A lot of foods contain pecans and other nuts. Some owners may wonder if dogs can eat pecans, or if accidental pecan intake warrants a trip to the vet. Take a look at these facts to find out.


Are Pecans Harmful to Dogs?

The answer is yes; pecans are harmful to dogs. Pecans may cause an upset stomach or a gastrointestinal blockage in dogs. In addition to the gastrointestinal risks, pecans also contain toxins that are harmful to some animals, including dogs. This is especially true of moldy pecans. The toxins found on moldy pecans can cause seizures and other neurological problems for dogs.

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What Happens if a Dog Eats a Pecan?

A few pecans may or may not cause symptoms. Some dogs might not show any symptoms after eating pecans. Others may show signs of an upset stomach, like vomiting. Depending on the amount of pecans eaten, a dog could have a seizure or tremors after pecan consumption. In extreme cases, eating pecans can be fatal to dogs. This is especially true for dogs who have eaten moldy pecans.

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Can Dogs Choke on Pecans?

One pecan might not have that much of an effect on a dog, but there are other risks to consider aside from potential intoxication from pecans. Pecans are definitely a choking hazard for dogs, especially if the dog gets a hold of them while they are still in the shell.

Pecans on white background duckycards / Getty Images

A Little More about Pecans

Most people know that pecans are nuts, but a lot of people may not be aware that pecans grow on hickory trees. They're native to the Americas, specifically the southern United States and Mexico. A lot of foods contain pecans, especially pastries, pies, and other sweets. Dog owners should check the ingredients of human food carefully before feeding it to their dog.

Three pecans duckycards / Getty Images

What Kind of Toxins Do Pecans Contain?

Pecans contain two different toxins that are harmful to dogs: juglone and mycotoxin. Juglone is found in all pecans. This toxin is harmful to dogs and other animals, including horses. When pecans are moldy, they develop mycotoxins. These toxins have serious consequences for dogs. Mycotoxins can even be fatal for canines.

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What to Do if a Dog Is Choking

If your dog is choking on a pecan, or anything else, you'll need to act fast. Be careful, because dogs can get scared when they're choking, and may struggle or bite. Try using a flashlight and your fingers to dislodge whatever the dog is choking on. If you can't get the item out of the dog's throat manually, you'll need to perform the Heimlich maneuver for dogs. It may be a good idea for all dog owners to learn how to perform the Heimlich on dogs, in case of choking.

Dog and food ingredients

What Kinds of Foods Are Good for Dogs?

If you want to feed your dog human food, make sure the food does not contain any pecans or other harmful ingredients. The good news is there are a lot of human foods that dogs can eat, and that may even be good for them. Foods that aren't harmful to dogs include:

  • Fish
  • Cashews
  • Cheese
  • Bread
  • Coconut
  • Corn
  • Eggs
A small dog eating Gang Zhou / Getty Images

What Foods Are Bad for Dogs Besides Pecans?

Aside from pecans, there are a variety of other foods that dogs really should not have. If you're planning on sharing food with your dog, check for these ingredients first:

  • Chocolate
  • Walnuts
  • Cinnamon
  • Garlic
  • Ice cream
  • Macadamia nuts

Don't give your dog any food that contains one of these. There are other foods that aren't good for dogs that aren't on this list, so when in doubt, double check.

Girl feeding dog ice cream SolStock / Getty Images

Symptoms of Intestinal Blockage in Dogs

Pecans can cause intestinal blockage in dogs. If a dog has eaten pecans, owners should be on the lookout for the symptoms of an intestinal blockage. Lethargy, weakness, loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea are all common signs. Seek veterinary care for any dog with a suspected intestinal blockage.

Dog and little girl zeljkosantrac / Getty Images

When to Take a Dog to the Vet

Owners whose dogs have eaten pecans may be wondering what to look out for. Aside from the symptoms of intestinal blockage, owners should keep an eye out for signs of poisoning from pecans.

Dog owners should call the vet if their dog is vomiting excessively, or if a dog has diarrhea. Also, dogs with tremors or fever should always be assessed by a vet, especially if the dog has eaten pecans.

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