- Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.
Cashews are a rich and delicious snack, a tropical treat unlike other nuts. Have you ever seen cashews growing on a tree? You’ve got to go to the tropics and look for a scraggly tree with bright red fruits on it. The cashew nut itself hangs down from the bottom of the red fruit and looks like a brown comma, or maybe a boxing glove. The red cashew fruit, called a cashew apple, is sometimes eaten or used for a nutritious fruit juice.
Cashews seem to be a love/hate food. I love them, but I’ve found that plenty of friends decline the offer when I ask if they’d like to share my snack. My beagle, however, is always up for a cashew treat. But is it okay for my dog to eat cashews?
Maybe. Dogs love peanut butter, but that doesn’t mean that other nuts are safe or healthy for your pet. Cashews are not toxic for dogs, but it’s possible that your dog could have an allergy to them—this is rare but dangerous. Therefore, when you feed your dog cashews, be sure to look carefully for signs of an allergic reaction.
If your dog is not allergic, cashews can be an occasional snack. They’re high in protein and high in fat, which is great for young, active dogs but harder on the system of older or overweight dogs.
The first question to ask before feeing your dog cashews is “Does she need extra fat in her diet?” Cashews are an excellent vehicle for healthy fats, and they also have some nutrients, such as vitamin E, vitamin K, and zinc, which are important to a dog’s health. Cashews are about 48% fat, 17% protein, and 30% carbohydrates by weight. A rough estimate is that each whole cashew nut contains one gram of fat.
A very active 20-pound dog needs 300-400 calories a day, and a common recommendation is that 10-15% of those calories come from fat. One ounce of cashews (about 18 whole nuts) contains about 126 calories from fat, which would be 30-40% of the dog’s calorie needs.
If you’re following the 10% rule, which limits a dog’s treats to 10% of her daily diet, a 20-pound dog can have 3-4 cashews per day to reach that 10%.
More than that, and you may exceed her daily calorie requirements.
It’s possible, although rare, for a dog to have a severe allergy to cashews. If you share cashews with your dog, be sure to watch her for symptoms of allergies.
Symptoms to watch for:
If you serve your dog cashews, be sure they come from a cashews-only bag (to avoid contamination with other nuts), and that you give them the unsalted variety.
If you want to share cashews with your dog, you can use them in place of peanuts or peanut butter in many recipes, such as our No Bake Peanut Butter Flax Seed Treats and Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 4 hours
- Total Time: 4 hours 5 minutes
- Yield: 1 cups
- Category: Special occasion
- 1 banana
- 2 Tbsp peanut butter or cashew butter (unsalted)
- 2 Tbsp plain yogurt (use a non-fat or non-dairy alternative, like coconut milk, if you prefer)
- Blender or food processor
- Dice up a ripe banana and freeze for at least 4 hours.
- In a food processor, place the frozen banana, peanut butter, and yogurt in the bowl and blitz until smooth.
- Serve with a sprinkle of cookies as pictured, a dollop of fruit (can you say PB&J?), or just as it is.
Your dog will thank you.
Learn more about feeding your dog a wonderfully varied diet while learning the limitations of a dog’s sensitive digestive system. We offer a collection of articles on foods that are safe, dangerous or even toxic for dogs to eat, including vegetables, dairy, bread, and junk food.