Tasty Treats For a Dog That Loves Nuts

A dog licks peanut butter off a Naperville veterinarian's spoon.

Most dogs go crazy for peanut butter, and their owners use this preference to treat them, keep them busy during separations, or conceal medication. Peanut butter is safe for dogs to eat – and incredibly nutritious (in moderation). Unfortunately, not all products are created equal. 

If you have a dog that loves nuts (and especially a yummy PB snack) we have some strategies to keep them safe and healthy.

Say No to Sweets

Dogs have an instinct to want to try pretty much everything we eat. This curiosity can land them in pretty hot water if owners aren’t careful to store or dispose of toxic foods. One example is Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in gums, mints, sugar-free baked goods, and some nut butters. While it’s safe for humans, even a small amount of Xylitol can cause a serious drop in blood sugar and even lead to liver failure in dogs. 

Read Labels Carefully

Popular brands of nut butters can contain Xylitol. As a result, we urge all dog owners to read labels thoroughly. For a dog that loves nuts, they should only be offered creamy or crunchy nut butters that are free of this dangerous chemical. If you enjoy nut butters that have a sweeter taste, be sure to keep this product separate from the nut butter you give your dog.

All Natural Goodness

The best kind of peanut butter for a dog that loves nuts contains only one ingredient: peanuts. Some products may add unhealthy ingredients such as salt, hydrogenated oils, and more. 

Exploring Other Options

You don’t have to stop with peanut butter. While we encourage you to explore your dog’s palette with other tasty, nutritious options it is important to only do so in moderation. Giving your dog too many daily calories can cause weight gain, and may eventually lead to obesity-related problems like diabetes or arthritis. 

Also, because nuts are packed with protein and fat, eating too many nuts may create health problems like pancreatitis.

For a Dog That Loves Nuts

Cashews are more fattening than peanuts, but for a dog that loves nuts you’ll notice that they relish this occasional treat. Giving them too many roasted cashews or going overboard on their portion size of cashew butter may result in a stomach ache. Always offset their daily food intake accordingly.

Hazelnuts can also provide an interesting treat, although we recommend chopping them into small bite-sized chunks. Hazelnut butter (not with chocolate, of course) may also go over well with a dog that loves nuts.

Pistachios can be a fun offering, too. While they won’t hurt your pet in small amounts, too many pistachios have the potential to cause weight gain or pancreatitis.

From Naperville’s Top Veterinarians: Avoid These Nuts

The following nuts can deliver some uncomfortable side effects for dogs:

  • Almonds can be harder to digest and may cause GI upset for some pups.
  • Macadamia nuts are not only really high in fat, but due to a toxin also found in grapes and raisins, neurological problems may occur.
  • Walnuts contain tremorgenic mycotoxins, making them a no-no.
  • Hickory nuts and pecans have juglone, a toxin that can cause GI problems.

Remember to watch them closely when they chew on nuts to mitigate any possible choking.
If you have any questions about your dog’s diet, The veterinarians at Naperville Animal Hospital are always happy to help.

Getting Off the Hamster Wheel: Pocket Pet Mental Health

Brown hamster in a hamster wheel.

The image of a hamster on a wheel is a powerful one. Repeating the same thing over and over and getting nowhere is a feeling that we can all identify with. When we think about this image, it becomes apparent that we need to do a better job for our pets. 

The pocket pet veterinarians at Naperville Animal Hospital know that our clients love their animals great and small, and thinking about pocket pet mental health is an important way to show that.

Stir Crazy and Out of Control

Being a pocket pet might seem like a pretty easy gig. You sit around all day in an enclosure safe from predators, nibble on food and treats that magically appear at regular intervals, and enjoy attention from a loving human. What’s not to like?

If you think a little bit, though, it can become quickly apparent that being an owned pocket pet may not be all that wonderful under certain circumstances. Unless your human makes a conscious effort to support your natural instincts and behaviors and to enrich your environments, you may be doomed to circling the proverbial hamster wheel day in and out.

Besides wanting to do better for your pet, there are some very important reasons to be sure that your pet’s mental health is supported. 

Lack of proper care and stimulation most often leads to behavior issues which may include things like:

  • Increased aggression towards humans or other pets
  • Biting
  • Destructive behavior
  • Overgrooming
  • Appetite changes
  • Pica

A happy pocket pet is an important goal. Any pet with proper enrichment and socialization is a healthier and more fun companion. 

Your Responsibility in Pocket Pet Mental Health

A big factor in proper pocket pet care is understanding your chosen species well. This is no different when it comes to pocket pet mental health. Species differences can make a big difference in the health and enjoyment of your pet. 

Be sure to ask questions and understand:

  • The best type of cage or enclosure for your pet
  • If your pet will thrive best with or without companions of the same species
  • What toys or chewing surfaces you should provide
  • If your pet likes human interaction and what kind
  • What dietary requirements your pet has

As a pocket pet owner, it is also your responsibility to provide environmental and social enrichment. You may wish to do things such as rotating toys and features within the enclosure and providing shelters and hiding places or dust baths as appropriate for the species.

Your pet may also benefit from supervised time outside the enclosure, changes of scenery, and opportunities for exercise.

Naperville Pocket Pet Veterinarians

When welcoming a new pet into your home, the pocket pet veterinarians at Naperville Animal Hospital advise you to schedule an appointment with us so that we can help you to understand your new family member’s needs. 

Don’t forget that your little friend is depending on you for all of these needs. You play an important role in pocket pet mental health. Don’t let your pet down when it comes to ensuring an enriched and full life.