Simple answer is: No.

Dogs definitely like nuts. Almonds may seem like a good treat for them and if left alone, they could eat a whole lot of it. However there are serious risks of consuming almonds for a dog.

Here is a cute lab. Photo by Ben Owen / Unsplash

Choking risk

Teeth of dogs are made for crushing and ripping, not grinding. As a result, they don't have an effective way of chewing almonds as humans do. This creates a serious risk of swallowing an almond whole. If the almond is not stuck in their esophagus or the windpipe, there's still the big risk of intestinal blockage.

Bad for their digestive system

Pancreatitis risk

Almonds are high in fat. Humans may be able to cope with fat digestion easily and make decent gains in energy from nuts. However the amount of fat in an almond is relatively higher for a dog than a human. Although there doesn't seem to be evidence that a high fat, low carb diet would cause pancreatitis in dogs [3], this kind of high fat consumed on top of an ordinary diet could cause digestive issues, especially pancreatic stress. This creates a risk of acute pancreatitis, inflammation of the pancreas. [1,2]

Possible harm from salted almonds

The almonds we consume can be salted or seasoned for extra flavor. Your dog may think they are delicious as well but first, excess salt can make your dog very thirsty and your dog might show dehydration symptoms.

Second, overconsumption of salt may lead to water retention and an electrolyte imbalance which could be dangerous for dogs with heart problems.  

Bladder stone or kidney stone risk

Almonds are also high in phosphorus. Not all bladder or kidney stones are caused by phosphates but in humans, phosphate stones account for 12-20% of all stones. [4] Dogs are even more sensitive so high levels of phosphorus could put dogs at risk of bladder stone or kidney stone risk.

Yorkshire Terriers are prone to developing kidney stones. Photo by Madeline / Unsplash

A few breeds have a higher tendency to develop kidney stones:

  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Lhasa Apso

Others have tendency to develop bladder stones:

  • Shih Tzu
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Bichon Frise

Aflatoxin poisoning risk

Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus are of the two main fungi that produce aflatoxins on tree nuts. Aflatoxins are harmful to human and animal liver tissue. They have serious damaging effects and can lead to liver cancer or even death. [5] Aflatoxins are occasionally found in almonds. Still being slightly harmful, Normally relatively low amounts that could be present do not effect humans in a critical way because of our relative size to our consumption.

However, dogs (and cats) are extremely sensitive to aflatoxins. In 1952, a liver disease called hepatitis X was described to effect dogs consuming food contaminated with mold.

Dogs exposed to aflatoxin can develop these symptoms [5]:

  • anorexia, depression, icterus, prostration and blood in the feces,
  • but also may have hemorrhages, melena and pulmonary edema.
  • vomiting, increased water consumption, polyuria, polydipsia, jaundice and elevation of serum liver enzymes in acute aflatoxicosis

Xylitol poisoning risk from sweetened almonds

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that can be used in sweetening almonds or almond milk. It is harmless to humans but xylitol is highly toxic for canines. [6]

In humans, xylitol does not stimulate insulin release from the pancreas. However when dogs consume xylitol, it's quickly absorbed and able to cause a potent insulin release from the pancreas.

Blood sugar of the dog rapidly drops, causing hypoglycemia and seizures. Left untreated, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and these seizures could lead to death.

[1] Can Dogs Eat Almonds (and Other Nuts)? https://thebark.com/content/can-dogs-eat-almonds-and-other-nuts

[2] Almond Poisoning in Dogs https://wagwalking.com/condition/almond-poisoning

[3] High Fat Diet Health Concerns For Dogs https://www.thebonesandco.com/blog/high-fat-keto-diet-health-concerns-dogs

[4] Causes of phosphate stone formation and the importance of metaphylaxis by urinary acidification: a review https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10552150

[5] Aflatoxins and Aflatoxicosis in Human and Animals https://cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs/20393/InTech-Aflatoxins_and_aflatoxicosis_in_human_and_animals.pdf

[6] https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/paws-xylitol-its-dangerous-dogs