Can dogs or cats eat walnuts?

September 11, 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 walnuts?

Whether your dog just nabbed your slice of banana-walnut bread or they're chewing on the walnuts off your tree, it's time to break that nutty habit.

One reason why walnuts are unsafe for dogs is due to their high fat content. Dogs have difficulty digesting large amounts of fat, which can lead to gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea and vomiting. Over time, too much fat can increase your dog's risk of developing pancreatitis.

Another concern with feeding your dog walnuts is the possibility of choking or intestinal blockages. Walnut shells are hard and difficult to digest! Whether your dog eats them whole or just in large pieces, they could get stuck in their digestive tract and contribute to serious health issues like an intestinal block. (No fun!)

If your dog requires veterinary treatment due to eating walnuts (or any other unsafe food), pet insurance can help cover the cost of treatment.

Can cats eat walnuts?

Cats don't generally go nuts for walnuts...but if yours does, can they have any?

In short, nope.

Walnuts contain quite a bit of fat, which may give your cat gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting or diarrhea and possibly even pancreatitis. Not fun for your cat (or you!).

Another reason why feeding walnuts to cats is unsafe?

Walnut shells and walnuts themselves can be choking hazards. Cats have small mouths and don't chew their food fully before swallowing, which increases the likelihood of walnut pieces getting stuck in their throat. Yikes.

If your cat requires veterinary treatment due to eating walnuts (or any other unsafe food), pet 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 ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435) or Pet Poison Helpline (855-764-7661).

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