Can My Dog Eat Cashews? Kind of...

Cashew nuts (without the shell) aren't toxic for dogs, but they're high in fat and often high in salt. This can be problematic for some dogs.

Updated February 13, 2024
Maltese dog eating cashews

Most dog owners love to give their pets an occasional treat. However, it's important to remember that there are some human foods that just should not be eaten by dogs. While cashew shells can be very toxic, you can offer small amounts of these (shelled) nuts to most dogs, but take care for a few added precautions.

Need to Know

Cashews are high in fat and cholesterol and can be high in sodium. Make sure to speak with your veterinarian about your dog's specific situation before offering your dog this treat.

Are Cashews Dangerous for Dogs?

Most dogs can eat cashews as an occasional snack. However, they are high in fat, so keep this in mind when handing them out as a treat. Pet obesity is a huge problem and can put your pet at risk of serious medical problems. As a result, consuming too many cashews can be bad for dogs. Treats should never exceed 10% of your dog's caloric intake for a day.

Fast Fact

An average 10-pound dog requires about 220 calories a day, so one ounce of cashews would account for almost three-quarters of that pet's needs for the day!

Are Cashews Good for Dogs?

There are no known health benefits to feeding your dog cashews. However, if your pet likes them and does not have any medical concerns, they can be used as an occasional treat.

Potential Dangers of Cashews for Dogs

While a few cashews are fine for a teensy treat, it's a good idea to be aware of some potential issues with feeding cashews to your dog.

Never for Dogs With Pancreatitis

Dogs that have had pancreatitis should not eat food items that are high in fat and should avoid cashews.

If They Have a Special Diet

If your pet is on a prescription diet for other medical problems (diabetes, bladder stones, kidney disease, etc.), you should ask your veterinarian before feeding your dog cashews. Some cashews are salted, so you should avoid them in pets with heart disease.

Too Many Cashews Can Cause Issues

If your dog eats too many cashews (or other human foods) at once, they could get very sick. Too many cashews may lead to vomiting and diarrhea in a lot of dogs, so make sure any tasty treats are out of reach when you can't supervise your pet. 

Need to Know

A large fatty meal can also trigger pancreatitis in some dogs.

Cashew Shells Are Toxic

Make sure that you avoid feeding your dog any cashews that are unshelled. The toxin in the shells is called anacardic acid and can cause severe gastroenteritis. The shells can also be irritating to the skin.

Inspect for Mold

Make sure to inspect the nuts for mold before feeding them to your dog. Some types of mold can contain aflatoxin, a very dangerous toxin that can cause liver failure in dogs, livestock, wildlife, and people.

Watch for Food Allergies

While nut allergies can be very dangerous in people, these specific sensitivities have not been reported in dogs. Dogs can develop food allergies, but these generally involve substances like beef, dairy, chicken, or eggs. If you suspect that your pet is having an allergic reaction, contact your veterinarian and avoid the suspected food item.

Nutrients Cashews Provide to Humans

Cashews are generally considered to be a nutritious snack for people. One ounce of dry-roasted cashews contains about 160 calories, according to the Livestrong Foundation. One ounce of cashews is about a handful, which equates to 16 to 18 nuts. It also contains:

  • 13 grams of fat
  • 4 grams of protein
  • 1 gram of fiber
  • 45 mg of phytosterols

In humans, phytosterols can help lower your cholesterol. However, dogs do not get the same type of cardiovascular disease that is seen in people, so this is not likely to be a relevant benefit for dogs.

Other Considerations for Dogs and Nuts

While it is generally okay for most dogs to eat cashews in very limited quantities, don't assume this is true for all nuts. Several kinds of nuts are bad for dogs.

Macadamia Nuts

VCA Hospitals states, "While macadamia nuts are edible for humans and often found in dessert recipes, ingestion by dogs leads to poisoning."

Other Nut Types


Other kinds of nuts that are not good for dogs include walnuts, hickory nuts (also known as black walnuts), pecans, pistachios, and almonds.

Beware of Chocolate-Covered Nuts

According to the BC SPCA, "Chocolate is toxic for your dog because it contains both caffeine and a chemical called theobromine that are both from the methylxanthine family — two chemicals that dogs cannot metabolize as well as humans."

Any That Are Unshelled

You should also avoid giving your dog any kind of unshelled nuts, as the shells can be dangerous for dogs.

Start Slowly

If you decide to feed your dog cashews, keep it to just a few pieces. As long as your canine friend likes them and you offer them sparingly, you can use them as a convenient treat any time.

Trending on LoveToKnow
Can My Dog Eat Cashews? Kind of...