Can Dogs Eat Pistachios?

Tuesday, October 12th, 2021

Dogs are often our humble, yet eager, companions and enjoy sampling whatever we are eating. Training your dog to take the pistachio out of the shell after you’ve cracked it for them brings a smile to most pet owners. The big question is, is it ok for my pup to have pistachios?

The simple answer is, yes. But as with most things we need to consider quality, quantity, and the way they are served.

How to enjoy pistachios with your dog.

If you are sitting down to enjoy some of your favorite pistachio snacks, sharing a couple with your pup is totally fine. Don’t give them the shell…you don’t eat it for a reason. It’s hard to chew and hard to digest for both of you and can pose as a choking hazard or bowel obstruction, especially in smaller dogs. They’ll enjoy sampling what you are having and if yours are anything like mine, they’ll chew it up, getting the full flavor from them. It’s always amusing to watch my 100-pound lug-heads chew up tiny little things, but inhale, without chewing a chunk of meat. Anyway, pistachios are perfectly fine, but only in small volumes. Dogs are omnivores, they need a bit of everything, but an overload of anything can cause stomach trouble.

Benefits to giving pistachios as treats to your dog

Nuts, including pistachios, make for great high-protein treats, which means that they can satiate an appetite while providing a heavy dose of essential minerals and vitamins. The antioxidants can also play a key role in long-term health that you often can’t find in pre-made dog treats. Pistachios also contain fiber, vitamins A, C, and B6, and are rich in iron, magnesium, and potassium that your pup needs in his/her diet.

1. Vitamin B6
Pistachios are an excellent source of vitamin B6 which has many benefits for your dog’s overall health. Vitamin B6 is one of the essential vitamins and helps with growth and development, promotes healthy brain function, and heart health in dogs.

2. Potassium
Pistachios are a great natural source of potassium which is an important mineral that is involved in many functions within your dog’s body. Potassium is important for the proper functioning of the cells in your dog’s body and promotes normal electrical charges in the heart, nerves, and muscles.

3. Fiber
Pistachios are a good source of dietary fiber that is essential for proper digestion and regular bowel movements. Eating fiber-rich foods can help your dog feel fuller longer
and relieve mild cases of constipation or diarrhea.

Should you be giving pistachios to your dog as its primary food source, probably not, as they do best on a high-protein, meat-based diet that’s balanced to their particular needs. But as an occasional snack in moderation, feel comfortable doing so. The best option is to choose an unsalted version, or just make sure to only offer 2-3 every so often.

Do I need to worry about the aspergillus mold mentioned in other articles on this topic?

First off, it’s super rare. Second, it can only happen if you are feeding large quantities of pistachios to your pet, which we already said wasn’t smart. And lastly, if your pistachios come from a reputable supplier such as Heart of the Desert, this should never be a concern. How the grower stores the nuts after harvesting them, is critical.  Heart of the Desert is required to test the incoming products on a regular basis. By the time, the product has been through all the processing steps, there should be no need for the consumer to be worried about mold.

Ranch dogs at Heart of the Desert have always been able to tell when the pistachios were ripe on the tree. They nuzzle low-hanging clusters of nuts, and when the epicarp separates from the hard inner shell, they seem to know. They won’t take any of the nuts off the tree but sit patiently, looking at the cluster with longing, until farmer George picks them and gives them some fresh pistachios. It has always been a favorite treat.

What about other nuts and legumes?

Okay for dogs to eat:

  • Peanuts
  • Brazil nuts
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pistachios

Not okay, and possibly toxic, for dogs:

  • Pecans
  • Black walnuts
  • Macadamia – especially toxic in dogs!

The other danger that comes into play with nuts is the choking hazard. We all know our furry family members don’t always chew their food. They kind of inhale it, so giving nuts that could pose a choking hazard a quick blast in the blender or food processor can drastically reduce that risk.

So, yes, dogs can eat pistachios, in moderation.

If your dog has medical conditions or you still have questions, it’s best to check with your veterinarian. Otherwise, enjoy cracking pistachios open and sharing the tasty green nut with your furry friends. They’ll love the attention and the treat.




Heart of the Desert is a working pistachio ranch and vineyard with four retail establishments in New Mexico.  They are best known for their farm fresh pistachios and Award-Winning New Mexico wines.  Each store offers wine and pistachio tastings.  They offer worldwide shipping and produce attractive gourmet baskets that make great corporate and family gifts.  The main store, on the ranch in Alamogordo, offers farm tours that showcases how pistachios are grown and processed as well as a stunning Tuscany themed patio that overlooks the groves and is available for weddings, private parties or enjoying a relaxing glass of wine.