Can my pet eat pecans?

3 August 2023
This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding your pet’s care, treatment, or medical conditions.

Can dogs eat pecans?

Pecans are considered toxic to dogs - they should never eat them. That's because they contain a compound called juglone (also present in walnuts), which is harmful to them.

Pecan shells can grow moulds, which can carry harmful substances like aflatoxin. This can cause liver damage over time. Alongside that, pecans can sometimes carry bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli, which can make your dog very ill.

Pecans also contain a high amount of oil and fat, which can cause gastrointestinal problems like diarrhoea and vomiting.

Regularly eating tree nuts like pecans can even result in pancreatitis, which is a life-threatening condition where your dog's pancreas becomes inflamed due to excessive amounts of fat in their diet.

On top of all this, eating hard nuts can cause choking or digestive blockages.

If your dog manages to get their chompers around one or two pecans, it may not be much to worry about (though you'd be wise to consult your vet just in case).

However, feeding them pecans as a regular treat is a very bad idea.

The good news is, well, there'll be more pecans for you!

Again, if your dog eats pecans, you should reach out to your vet, especially if you're observing lethargy, diarrhoea, vomiting, behavioural changes, or other signs of illness.

If your pup ever requires veterinary care due to eating unsafe food, dog insurance can help cover the cost of treatment.

Can cats eat pecans?

Even if you love munching on pecans, you shouldn't share them with your feline friend. Cats lack the digestive enzymes needed to process pecans, and eating them can lead to gastrointestinal distress and potential long-term health issues.

One major issue is that tree nuts, like pecans, have a very high fat content.

A diet too rich in fats can cause your cat to develop pancreatitis - inflammation of the pancreas - interrupting the organ's regular functions. Pancreatitis often results in lethargy, loss of appetite, and stomach pain. In severe cases, it can cause hospitalisation and intensive veterinary care.

On top of these concerns, the bacteria sometimes present in raw nuts (such as Salmonella or E. coli) can make your cat very sick.

Plus, pecans contain a compound called juglone, which is toxic to cats (dogs, too).

Pecan shells can also grow moulds. Mouldy pecans often contain aflatoxin, a harmful substance that can cause liver damage when eaten over time.

Finally, hard tree nuts like pecans can cause choking or intestinal blockages, especially in smaller animals like cats.

The bottom line: you should never feed pecans to your cat.

If your cat does eat pecans, you should reach out to your vet, especially if you're observing lethargy, diarrhoea, or vomiting. If your kitty ever requires veterinary care due to eating unsafe food, cat insurance can help cover the cost of treatment.

Information purposes only

The suggestions offered here are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for pet-specific advice from your veterinarian. Never disregard your vet’s recommendations, or delay in acting on them, based on something you have read on this site. Regardless of how a food is rated here, any food that you give your pet can pose potential health risks, including allergic reactions, choking, or other health conditions such as bloat. Always monitor your pet while they’re eating, and never introduce a new food into your pet’s diet without first consulting your veterinarian. 

Pet poison emergency protocol

If your pet is acting sick, call your regular veterinarian immediately. If your regular veterinarian is closed, call a nearby on-call veterinarian, animal urgent care, or veterinary emergency hospital. If your pet is not acting sick but you think they may have been exposed to a poison, call the Animal Poison Line (01202 50 9000).

Food safety statuses


Could be given almost daily without harm

Safe in moderation

Not toxic, but should not be given regularly


Toxic or simply too risky to give to your pet