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Adding a dog to your family requires a lot of love and a lot of learning. Dogs are a man’s best friend for a reason. A dog is an excellent addition to a family, but they also require much love and care in return.

Certain foods can be dangerous if a dog ingests them, and on that list of harmful foods are a range of different kinds of nuts. Hickory nuts, in particular, are not directly poisonous or toxic for your dog, but they are harmful because a dog’s digestive system is unable to digest them properly. Hickory trees are plentiful in North Carolina, so your dog has a good chance of encountering them.

Dogs often eat hickory nuts off the ground where trees drop them. When your dog is outside, make sure to be aware of anything they may be picking up and eating.

Symptoms or Warning Signs of Hickory Nut Poisoning

If you’re suspicious that your dog may have ingested a hickory nut, look out for the following symptoms or behavioral changes:

    • Digestive issues like diarrhea
    • A change in your dog’s stool
    • Gastrointestinal issues
    • Dehydration
    • Vomiting
    • Change in urine color
    • Signs of abdominal pain
    • Weight loss
    • Signs of depression in your dog
    • Lack of or change in appetite
    • Difficulty breathing

An over-ingestion of hickory nuts can lead to pancreatitis in dogs, which can be extremely harmful and potentially life-threatening.  If your dog has ingested a hickory nut, it might contain a type of metabolite produced by fungi that causes a more serious intoxication than just hickory nut poisoning called tremorgenic mycotoxins. Tremorgenic mycotoxins can have severe consequences, and dogs are particularly at risk.

While hickory nuts are a common cause of tremorgenic mycotoxins in dogs, they are not the only culprit. Cheese, rice, and bread can also produce toxins that lead to tremorgenic mycotoxins. Avoid putting your dog at risk by keeping your food waste in an inaccessible place to your dog. We also recommend not giving dogs any food that could produce mold of any kind.

A List of Safe and Unsafe Nuts for Dogs

Dogs are notorious for “exploring with their mouths,” so it’s no surprise that we owners have to be diligent about what they are ingesting. Most nuts are best left alone.

Dogs should generally avoid most types of nuts because of their high fat content, although some are not toxic to them. Use the following lists to keep your dog safe from any nut poisoning.

Non-toxic Nuts for Dogs

  • Raw or roasted peanuts
  • Cashews
  •  Pistachios
  • Peanut butter

Toxic Nuts for Dogs

  • Macadamia nuts
  • Tree nuts
  • Chestnuts
  • Almonds and hazelnuts

Call Hillsdale Animal Hospital If You Suspect Food Poisoning


If your dog shows signs of food poisoning, please call your vet immediately. For all things related to dog and pet care, call our team at Hillsdale Animal Hospital in Advance, NC, at 336-477-2450 today!