Like raisins, chocolates, grapes, and onions, macadamia nuts can be severely toxic to our canine friends, especially if ingested in large doses. If you’re doing baking this season and/or handling treats and snacks that contain this type of nut, make sure to keep them safely stowed away in secure containers where your dog can’t get to them accidentally.
What is a Macadamia Nut Anyway?
Macadamia nuts are sourced from trees that belong to the Proteaceae plant family, which are flowering trees that are indigenous to Australia (particularly New South Wales and Queensland) and other locations in the southern hemisphere. These trees are cultivated for their delicious nuts that are used as ingredients and flavoring in a wide variety of baked goods, cookies, and candies. Sometimes, they are roasted and eaten as snacks on their own.
Can Dogs Eat Macadamia Nuts?
Short answer: they can’t. While the specific toxin that causes the bad effects hasn’t been identified yet (especially since the nuts are completely safe for humans and other animals like cats), macadamia nuts are extremely toxic to dogs and can cause a variety of immediate health problems. This fact has been proven by vets and associations like the ASPCA’s (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) Animal Poison Control Center. And unlike chocolate and onion, even ingesting just a small amount like two grams (per kilogram of your dog’s body weight) is enough to send them to the veterinarian.
What are the Symptoms of Macadamia Nut Poisoning In Dogs?
Some of the common signs that your dog has ingested or eaten a particularly toxic dose of macadamia nuts are a weakness in the hind legs (i.e. your dog has difficulty standing up). The front legs can also be affected, though this happens less frequently. Your dog might also experience lethargy (loss of energy), vomiting diarrhea, fever, and constant tremors (shaking). It’s important to note that dogs’ tolerance to toxic substances varies according to weight, breed, and other factors. Some dogs might experience very mild symptoms, while some might feel the full brunt of the toxic effects. In some dogs, symptoms can take a whole 12 hours before they can be observed in your dog. To ensure your dog’s safety as well as your peace of mind, make sure to take your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible if you suspected that your dog has ingested macadamia nuts or food that contain macadamia nuts.
What is the Course of Treatment For Dogs Who Have Eaten Macadamia Nuts?
There is no exact antidote for macadamia nut poisoning for dogs. However, most veterinarians will try to induce vomiting to get the nuts out of the dog’s system. Sorbitol can also be used to induce bowel movements in an effort to expel the toxic nuts. Activated charcoal can also be administered to your dog since the charcoal prevents the stomach from absorbing trace amounts of the nut’s compounds. Provided that your dog has no underlying health conditions, the prognosis for macadamia nut ingestion is excellent. Your dog will be back to full health within 24 to 48 hours if treatment has been administered as soon as possible.