Macadamia Nut Toxicity in Dogs

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Macadamia Nut Toxicity in Dogs

The macadamia nut, also called Australia Nut and Queensland Nut, is toxic to dogs. The exact cause/substance that creates the toxicity is still unknown. Cats don’t seem to be affected, either because they don’t ingest enough or don’t have a sensitivity to the unknown toxin. Read on to learn about the signs and treatment of macadamia nut toxicity in dogs.

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PLEASE NOTE: Since macadamia nuts are commonly used in baked goods, your dog could also have additional toxic concerns if these items contained chocolate, xylitol, or raisins.

Clinical Symptoms of Macadamia Nut Toxicity in Dogs

Symptoms can develop within 3 to 12 hours of eating macadamia nuts and can persist for up to 2-3 days post-ingestion.

  • Depression
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Reduced appetite
  • Fever (temperatures between 103-105F; normal temperature for dogs is around 102F)
  • Tremors
  • Weakness, especially in the rear limbs

Since macadamia nuts are high in fat content, they can also over-stimulate the pancreas, leading to pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is severe inflammation of the pancreas and causes abdominal pain, vomiting, depression, reduced appetite, and can become so severe it can affect other organs. Severe pancreatitis can be fatal.

What should I do if my dog ate macadamia nuts?

If your dog recently ingested macadamia nuts (within an hour or so), you can take them to the vet to induce vomiting and remove the nuts from their system.

Most symptoms are mild, with occasional vomiting and depression for 24 hours that resolve on their own with no specific treatment needed.

However, if your dog is vomiting constantly, has a fever over 103F, or develops tremors or severe weakness in the rear limbs, you should go to the vet immediately.

If your dog continues to vomit for over 24 hours, has a reduced appetite, and seems depressed or painful, go to the vet immediately as this could indicate your dog has now developed pancreatitis. He may need IV fluids, anti-nausea medications, pain medications, and additional supportive care.

If your dog ate the macadamia nuts along with any chocolate, raisins, or artificial sweeteners like xylitol, go to the vet immediately. If possible, bring the recipe or packaging from the baked goods so your vet can determine how much toxins were likely ingested and better direct treatment.

Are other nuts toxic to dogs?

Macadamia nuts are the true toxic nut for dogs. However, since all nuts are high in fat, they can lead to GI upset such as vomiting and diarrhea, and may lead to pancreatitis.

Acorns contain tannins that may cause toxicity if enough are eaten. This can lead to GI upset. In cases where a large volume was consumed, your pet can develop acute kidney failure and severe bloody diarrhea. Kidney failure is more common in large animals like horses or cattle since they tend to ingest larger amounts.

Moldy nuts, such as pecans and walnuts left on the ground after the season is done, can lead to toxicity, but this is due to the mold and not the nut themselves.

Non-consumable nuts like castor beans and buckeyes can also be toxic. Castor beans contain ricin and cause similar symptoms as macadamia nut toxicity. However, these symptoms can become more severe and can even be fatal. The prognosis is worse if your dog ingests castor bean fertilizer.

Buckeye typically causes vomiting and diarrhea, and possible weakness, tremors and other neurologic effects if a large amount is ingested. Dogs typically do not eat enough to develop symptoms other than GI upset and abdominal discomfort.

Read more:

Can dogs eat almonds and other nuts?

What foods are toxic to dogs?

The Truth About Onion and Garlic Toxicity in Dogs

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Published: 11/14/2020
Last updated: 11/17/2021

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