Dear Daisy Dog
Maizey, my Lhasa apso-shih tzu mix, begs for macadamia nuts every time I eat them. May I safely share a few with her?
No. Macadamia nuts are toxic to us dogs.
A 14-pound dog that eats just half an ounce of macadamia nuts can develop weakness, inability to stand on the hind legs, tremors, loss of coordination, profound lethargy, vomiting and fever. These signs of toxicity begin within 12 hours after macadamia nut ingestion.
You humans don’t experience these symptoms, even when you overindulge, and veterinarians don’t understand exactly why the nut is so toxic to us dogs. Theories include a unique canine metabolic problem, sensitivity to some unknown contaminant involved in processing the nuts, or possibly poisoning by attached fungal toxins.
Fortunately, with supportive treatment, most dogs return to normal within 24 to 48 hours. No deaths have been reported.
While you mustn’t give Maizey any of your macadamia nuts, feel free to share a few peanuts, cashews, almonds or pistachios when you indulge. These nuts are safe in moderation, although in large amounts, the fat and salt they contain can cause problems for us dogs.