FoodFact: Can Pet Dogs or Cats Eat Almonds?
Almond is one of the most important stone fruits grown across the world. The Bible refers to Almonds ’among the best fruits’. As for Indians, ‘Baadam’ has always been considered a symbol of prestige and auspice. Ever since the Mughal times, Almonds form a part in various rituals. Packed with lots of protein & Vitamin-E they are also a natural memory enhancer. But are almonds for dogs or cats a good choice?
The answer is NO! Almonds for dogs, as well as cats, are a poor choice. They are toxic and can lead to a lot of discomfort for your pet. They might love the taste of almonds, but they are not easily digested – even after being soaked. Also, dogs and cats are susceptible to nut allergies; so, as pet parents, one needs to watch out for those symptoms too!
So where do Almonds come from?
Almonds are mentioned as far back in history as the Bible. Almonds were one of the earliest domesticated fruit trees and are the edible seeds of Prunus Dulcis or the almond tree. They are native to the Mediterranean climate and are grown in regions of the Middle East; right from Syria and Turkey to Pakistan and India.
Almonds spread along the Mediterranean shore and then were transported to Northern Africa & Southern Europe, and more recently to California in the U.S. where they are widely grown. California alone accounts for 80% of almond production out of which 90% is exported.
The Indian Obsession with Almonds?
If you are raised in a traditional Indian household, your mother has surely stuffed you with a handful of almonds during exams. Or you’ve been teased by your friends to eat more almonds whenever you forget something! Whether it’s Diwali or Raksha Bandhan, Almonds are always considered a great gifting option in India. And thanks to its high nutritional value, people with diabetes or health problems can consume it too.
For these reasons, India is the largest importer of Almonds in the world.
Do Almonds have any nutritional value for Humans?
Almonds are filled with the goodness of proteins, vitamins, fatty acids, magnesium and the right amount of fiber to digest it all. 100g of almonds contains 578 calories.
Phytic Acid present in almonds helps bind certain minerals and prevents them from getting absorbed. Antioxidants are concentrated in the brown layer of skin which prevents cell degeneration and protects from inflammation. That’s why blanched almonds are not the best choice as it reduces oxidative stress.
Its high fiber content also helps in relieving constipation and improves the movement of food through colon, subsequently reducing the chances of colon cancer. Almonds also have numerous heart benefits in humans. Its daily consumption can reduce the levels of Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and balance the levels of High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) which is a good cholesterol. Thus, it helps lower the chances of pulmonary obstruction and strokes. Almonds are also a great source of folic acid, that reduces the level of homocysteine which prevents fatty plaque build-up in arteries and veins. The flavonoids in almond skins along with vitamin E creates a protective shield against artery wall damage.
Almonds have nutrients that contribute to better brain health and are an essential food item for children. Riboflavin and L-Carnitine found in almonds increase brain activity and help in forming new neurological pathways thus decreasing the occurrence of Alzheimer’s.
Magnesium is involved in over 300 bodily processes including blood sugar control. Type 2 diabetics who are deficient in magnesium can consume it to boost insulin.
The benefits of almonds in skin and hair care are well known. Almond milk and almond oil are also great sources of protein and can help cure dermatitis and various skin diseases.
It can also help in weight loss as the fiber results in fullness and about 10-15% calories are not absorbed by the digestive system. They also help to boost metabolism slightly. Lastly, the magnesium and phosphorous help build and maintain strong teeth and bones.
Then why can’t I feed my pet Almonds?
Almonds, though extremely healthy for humans may cause a range of problems to your pooch. They aren’t poisonous as such so they won’t kill them. But they can cause severe gastrointestinal distress in your dog or cat. They can also lead to allergic reactions which may result in excessive swelling and bloating. As a general rule, even vets don’t advice feeding nuts to your dogs.
Some reasons are that almonds might have salt or other harmful chemicals added. Consumption of salt might induce vomiting, diarrhea, etc due to salt toxicity. The size of almonds also plays a big role when it comes to digestion. Large almonds can easily cause obstruction in your dog’s esophagus or intestines. This obstruction can lead to choking or indigestion in your pet’s body.
SEE ALSO: Human Foods Toxic to Pets
Moreover, nuts, in general, have high-fat content which may lead to weight gain in your poochie. Almonds may also contain Aspergillus mold which contains toxic Aflatoxins which are bad for your dog’s health. Other effects include lethargy, formation of bladder stones, general discomfort and possible water retention.
Are other variations of Almonds harmful too?
Almond Milk and Almond Oil are part of every human’s skincare routine. Being a natural moisturizer, almond oil can be used for restoring luster to our hair & skin and guess what? Your dawgie can use it too! They have zero oil residue and can work wonders on your pet’s hair & skin.
Almond milk & almond oil also have less fat compared to almonds, and can be fed to your dog or cat in moderations. But only the ones without sugar & preservatives.
The Final Verdict
So can dogs eat almonds? To sum-up – NO. Their gut is not accustomed to having almonds in whichever size or form. In case your dog eats almonds by mistake, rush to the vet immediately. Almonds for dogs & cats is a bad choice and impose a variety of threats to your darling’s body.
Alternatives like almond butter, milk, flour, etc can be fed to your dog but only in small portions. For pets with severe gastrointestinal problems, it’s a strict NO-NO. Almonds aren’t anyway a part of their natural diet. They might love it for its taste. But there are no known health benefits for dogs or cats, so it’s better to not risk your pet’s health!
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