Chestnuts are a popular snack during the summer, autumn, and holiday evenings.
They keep blood sugar levels in check and boost digestion and heart health.
With all these benefits, you may be wondering, can dogs eat chestnuts?
Yes, dogs can have chestnuts.
They contain nutrients and minerals such as fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, magnesium, vitamins, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, and iron which add nutritional value to dogs.
It’s important to note that there are different types of chestnuts and only one of them is edible.
This article will help you know how to pick the nontoxic chestnut from the toxic ones.
You don’t want to feed your dog foods that can cause adverse health effects.
What are the benefits of chestnuts to dogs?
You should consider adding chestnuts to your dog’s diet because of the healthy perks it brings.
They are a rich source of protein
For every 100g of chestnuts you feed your dog, it gets 2g of protein.
Proteins help dogs build and repair muscles and tissues and create hormones and enzymes necessary for normal body functioning.
It’s this nutrient that’s responsible for the growth and formation of ligaments, cartilage, fur, skin, and tendons.
They contain fiber
Your dog gets 5g of fiber from 100g of chestnuts.
Fiber aids in digestion, management of healthy weight, and regulation of blood sugar levels.
While lack of fiber causes constipation in dogs, too much of it leads to difficulty in the absorption of minerals.
Chestnuts provide an adequate amount of fiber which dogs require for the various roles it plays in their bodies.
They are rich in antioxidants
Chestnuts contain antioxidants such as ellagic and gallic acids which help dogs live longer by slowing down aging in cellular molecules.
They boost the immune system and protect dogs from diseases.
They contain fatty acids
Chestnuts contain naturally occurring fatty acids such as oleic, linoleic, and palmitic acids which aid to boost immunity, fight cancer, and maintain kidney and heart health.
Studies confirm that puppies who feed on high levels of fatty acids perform better in tasks than those who consume a low fatty acid diet.
How can you prepare chestnuts for your dog?
Dogs should eat no more than 5 chestnuts weekly to avoid stomach upsets.
When preparing the snack for your dog, the key is coming up with a meal that adds nutritional value without overfeeding it.
Below are ways you can prepare chestnuts for your dog:
To prepare roasted nuts, add them to a pan and stir using a spatula until ready.
You can also roast them in an oven.
When roasting, avoid adding seasoning like salt and pepper because a dog’s digestive system is too sensitive to process spices.
Boiled chestnuts are suitable for puppies who find it hard to chew the roasted ones.
All you need to do is boil the nuts in water without adding any seasoning.
You can add chestnuts to your dog’s meal by mixing them with other ingredients provided all the contents are safe for consumption.
One option is adding the snack to boiled vegetables or meat without including seasoning.
Which chestnuts are toxic to dogs?
According to a study, 11% of chestnut poisoning cases come from confusion between the toxic and non-toxic types.
For dogs, this poisoning leads to nausea, vomiting, throat irritation, abdominal pain, and digestive disorders.
There are two main types of chestnuts; horse chestnuts and sweet chestnuts.
Horse chestnuts are toxic to dogs.
They contain aesculin, a toxic element, which causes respiratory dialysis and death if a dog consumes it in large quantities.
You can differentiate between horse chestnuts and sweet chestnuts by looking at the following:
Appearance: The shell of a sweet chestnut is brown and contains long bristles.
Each shell has three flat and triangular nuts.
On the other hand, horse chestnuts have a green, thick shell with short bristles.
Each shell contains one large and rounded nut.
Location: Horse chestnut trees are common in parks, cities, and alleys.
The leaves contain several tiny, oval leaflets which make the tree take the shape of a palm tree.
Sweet chestnut trees are common in orchards and woods.
The trees have long leaves with no leaflets.
How can chestnuts be toxic to dogs?
Chestnuts are safe and healthy for dog consumption.
The problem, however, lies in the buying and prepping method.
Raw chestnuts and store-bought chestnuts are toxic to dogs.
Since raw chestnuts contain shells that are hard for dogs to chew, they may swallow them whole resulting in choking.
Store-bought chestnuts contain seasoning and flavors which are toxic to dogs.
If a dog eats raw chestnuts without gagging, they’ll cause stomach or intestinal blockage.
That’s why it’s best to cook, boil or roast the nuts before giving them to dogs.
To safely feed your dog raw chestnuts, remove the shell and crush the nuts into tiny pieces to avoid choking.
Store-bought chestnuts contain high sodium content which causes sodium poisoning in dogs.
A 30-pound dog requires 100 grains of sodium daily, its diet shouldn’t exceed this amount.
Excessive consumption of sodium causes dehydration which ultimately causes diarrhea, seizures, and vomiting.
When this happens, seek veterinarian help immediately to avoid death or permanent damage to vital organs.
If you’re feeding chestnuts to your dog for the first time, start with small amounts while monitoring signs of adverse reactions.
In case of itchiness, rashes, and stomach discomfort, your dog is allergic to the food, and you should see a veterinarian immediately.
Chestnuts contain an adequate amount of fiber, protein, antioxidants, and fatty acids.
Feeding this snack to your furry friend helps boost its immunity and maintains the proper functioning of body organs.
If your dog has any health condition that can worsen through intake of chestnuts or you’re feeding it the treat for the first time, consult a veterinarian before incorporating the treat into its diet.
To ensure that your dog benefits from the nutritional content of chestnuts, ensure that you prepare the meal without adding any seasoning and additivesadditives that can cause health complications.