Are you thinking about feeding your dog something different, like chestnuts? Well, we have created this article just for you. Can dogs eat chestnuts? Simply put yes. Please read below as there are a few things that you need to know first.
Can Dogs Eat Chestnuts?
To put it simply, yes dogs can eat chestnuts they are rich in fiber and omega fats. Although there is a catch, just like anything else.
What you need to remember is there are 2 different types of chestnuts, American Chestnut and Horse Chestnut. Horse Chestnut is often called a conker, this type is very poisonous. The reason I state this is because some people get them both mixed up, which can be fatal to your dog. If you are ever in doubt, just do not feed them to your dog.
It depends on the sort of chestnut. Horse chestnuts are toxic, American chestnuts aren’t. You should contact your local emergency vet or poisons unit for advice on the type of chestnut and any treatment required.
As stated in this article by Julia Henwood, Certified Veterinary Nurse.
When feeding your dog chestnuts, you should feed them in small portions. Especially if your dog already has a high starch diet. You can see this from the ingredients list on your dog’s food.
This question often gets asked a lot when it comes to chestnut season, as a lot of people tend to walk their dogs along a chestnut field. What we recommend in this situation is for you to train your dog not to pick them up or forage at all. You cannot be sure if they are chestnuts or a poisonous nut.
For example, dogs can only eat pure chestnuts, not mixed ones. If you do not encourage them to forage the chances of them hunting them out are slimmer.
The Health benefits of Chestnuts
To start with chestnuts are rich in omega fatty acids. Omega fatty acids help keep your blood vessels and heart-healthy, which can improve your memory along with helping your mood in general.
Chestnuts are high in fiber content as well. We are talking for every 100g of chestnuts there is about 5g of fiber in them. This is higher than what you will find in walnuts.
Chestnuts also have a high content of potassium in them as well. We are talking about 592mg of potassium per 100grams.
Potassium can help dogs in multiple areas, it is an important electrolyte for a dog’s body. It helps with heart function, brain function, nerve impulses, and muscle activity.
A dog can get a condition called hypokalemia; this is when their potassium levels are too low. The way dogs lose to potassium is through urine. If you feel this is a problem, you should visit your veterinarian straight away. They will probably tell you to add more potassium to their diet, although this call should only be made by them and not you.
Check out the below table showing what can be found in chestnuts. The table is from the USDA FoodData Central Database, their website has a much more detailed table. We have just taken the highlights of what can be found in it. Please note for some reason, they do not count Omega in their table research.
100g of Chestnuts
|Total lipid (fat)||2.2g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||52.96g|
|Fiber, total dietary||5.1g|
|Sugars, total including NLEA||10.6g|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid||24mg|
Things to watch out for with Chestnuts
As mentioned above you should keep the portions small. There actually is no scientific standard for how much is too much when giving your dog chestnuts. I just would not let them eat loads of chestnuts. As this can cause digestion problems.
Dogs do not have the ability to digest starch, so having a large number of chestnuts can cause severe diarrhea. Which can further lead to abdominal pain or even worse pancreatitis if left unattended to and not looked at.
You should not feed your dog any salted or grilled chestnuts. When you combine salt with such a fatty and high fiber diet, it does a lot more harm than good. A lot of people don’t choose to feed their dogs nuts as a lot of different types of nut’s are not healthy for dogs.
How can you feed your dog’s chestnuts?
One of the best ways to feed your dog chestnuts is to grind up the nuts in till they turn into a paste and then mix it with their food. Always make sure to peel off the shells, as these can cause suffocation and problems with their gastrointestinal system. If you happen to have one you can use a blending machine, this will help your dog with chewing and swallowing them.
We talk about mashing up the chestnuts because dogs can easily choke on the chestnut. If they decide to eat the chestnut whole, they may do this if they feel their food is threatened by another dog.
Please do remember that the serving sizes should be small, especially if feeding to a puppy. This can cause stomach discomfort.
Now it is to be noted, if your dog is overweight and you are trying to keep them on a specific diet, you will be better off not feeding them chestnuts as there is a lot more nutritious food out there.
Can Dogs Eat Water Chestnuts?
Yes, they can. Please sure make sure that you only feed them fresh water chestnuts though! Canned water chestnuts will contain high amounts of sodium in them, which is to be avoided. Dogs do not need any added sodium to their diet.
Can Dogs eat roasted chestnuts?
They can also eat roasted chestnuts, as long as they are plain chestnuts. You need to be careful that the roasted chestnuts do not contain any added salt. As mentioned above, you do not want to be adding any extra sodium to your dog’s diet.
Make sure to not overfeed your dog on chestnuts, they should only be given in small portions on a treat basis. Overfeeding them could be potentially dangerous to their health.
Chestnuts are a healthy source of food for your dogs, with them containing fiber and omega fact acids. It is just clever to not feed your little friends to many of them. A lot of different types of nuts contain a large amount of fat content. For this, it is not wise to just feed your dog any type of nuts. For example tiger nut’s, hazelnuts, juniper berries, pine nuts.
These are just a few we have mentioned. If you are not sure about feeding your dog a certain type of nut, it is best you contact your local veterinarian. Learning what other food dogs can eat really can help you out in the long run and with your dog’s health.
You should just keep in mind when introducing anything new into a dog’s diet you should do it in small portions. You should keep a close eye on your dog to see how they react.
Once again, if you are worried or believe your dog has eaten something toxic, then you should contact your local veterinarian straight away. Other options are visiting your local emergency clinic. Furthermore, you can ring the ASPCA on (888) 426-4435. Please note there will be a $60 fee for the phone call, but it is worth it if you are worried about your dog’s health.