Can my dog eat macadamia nuts?

NO - macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs and bad for them, and you should keep both the nuts and any shells away from the dog so that it can't get at them. It isn't really known what it is inside them that is bad for dogs, but they can cause serious health problems for dogs.

What are the symptoms of macadamia nut poisoning in dogs?

All of the symptoms relate to the dog's ability to move around. It may have muscle tremors, swelling of the limbs and severe pain when trying to move, paralysis (either partial or full) of the hindquarters, panting, difficulty moving in general, and panic.

   

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How many does a dog have to eat to get poisoned?

There was a paper recently studying this that found as few as six nuts can cause these symptoms. Macadamia butter caused it in some cases as well. It can happen with as few as 2 grams of the nuts. You can view the paper online here.

What should I do if my dog has eaten them?

Take it to the vet. The prognosis is good - the symptoms are short term and dogs generally recover fully from it. However, you do not want to take any risks, because these are very serious problems to have for even a short while. It is important not to panic, though - if it reassures you, the ASPCA paper I referred to above reviewed about 50 cases of calls to poison control centers for dogs that had eaten them and gotten poisoned, and every one recovered within 48 hours.

Your vet still needs to see the dog - they will want to rule out any other problems and also give the dog charcoal, which will help the dog by absorbing the poison and hasten the recovery.

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