My wife and I love cashews. They’ve sort of become a staple in our house. We use them for all sorts of recipes – sauces, creams, stir-fries, salads – and sometimes we just snack on them raw or roasted.
Since we buy them in bulk – typically 5 lb or more – I always have an abundance in our pantry, so occasionally I feed them to my dogs as a treat. They don’t care for raw cashews, but when I roast them, they line right up.
Unlike some other types of nuts, cashews are perfectly safe for dogs in small amounts. Cashews also provide dogs with beneficial nutrients, such as protein, healthy fat, fiber, and minerals. Continue reading to learn more…
Cashews Contain Healthy Fats
Cashews are a rich source of healthy fats, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. 1 tbsp of cashews yields approximately 1.9 grams of monounsaturated fat and 0.6 grams of polyunsaturated – omega 6.
Fat is an essential macronutrient for dogs that offers them many health benefits. It supports joint health, the proper development of cells in the bodies, and reduces inflammation. It also helps their body absorb other nutrients.
Cashews Provide Extra Protein
Your dog’s not going to get a ton of extra protein from eating cashews – that would be too many cashews – but they will get a little bit extra. It’s also worth noting that dogs don’t really need as much protein as many people assume they do. A dog’s diet need only consist of 10% protein to be considered healthy. 1 tbsp of cashews contains approximately 1.5 grams of protein.
Cashews Are a Good Source of Fiber
Cashews, like all nuts, are a fibrous food. In the last article I wrote, I explained the importance of fiber in a dog’s diet; so give that a read if you want to learn more. While there is no recommended amount of fiber in a dog’s diet, there is also no recognized harmful limit. Any extra bit of fiber you can give them will likely have a net positive effect on their health.
Cashews Are a Rich Source of Copper
Even though cashews are not loaded with micronutrients, they do contain a lot of copper. 1 tbsp of cashews contains approximately 0.2 milligrams of copper. That might not sound like much, but that is 20% of the RDA for a human. Copper has many important roles in the body, including the production of red blood cells and supporting a healthy immune system.
Cashews also contain small amounts of iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, and zinc.
Cashews Are the Perfect Training Treat
I find that cashews make a great treat for training because of their small size. When you’re trying to teach a dog a new trick, you need a lot of treats, so smaller is better. I can give my high-energy dogs 10 to 20 cashew pieces in a single session without going overboard.
How to Feed Cashews to Dogs
First and foremost, I recommend only feeding your dogs unsalted cashews. A dog’s sodium requirement is much, much less than ours. Too much sodium can also be really bad for them. If you want to learn a little bit more about that, check out this article I wrote about why you shouldn’t feed your dog gammon.
The second important thing to know is if you’re feeding your dog cashews from a can or a package, stick to just cashews, not mixed nuts. There’s a chance mixed nuts might contain nuts that are bad for dogs, which are: Macadamia nuts, walnuts, hickory nuts, and pecans. I’m a huge fan of mixed nuts, and I’ve noticed they almost always contain pecans.
Lastly, you should only feed your dogs cashews as an occasional treat. You should never pour a bunch in their bowl and just let them go to town. The problem is, even though cashews are healthy, the calories can add up quickly due to their high fat content. This can be especially problematic for a dog that’s already overweight. My dogs are medium-large – 50 – 60 lb – with athletic builds, and I never give them more than a small handful in one day.
How to Dry Roast Cashews
Of course you can buy dry roasted cashews, but if you purchase your cashews in bulk, like we do, you’ll likely be getting them raw. Now, maybe your dog likes raw cashews, and if they do, that’s fine; however, like I said at the beginning of this post, my dogs only like them roasted. Here’s how I make them…
Things You’ll Need
- Raw cashews
- Baking tray or oven-safe pan
- Parchment paper (optional)
Preheat your oven to 350º F.
Line a baking tray or oven-safe pan with parchment paper (optional).
Spread the cashews across the pan in an even layer.
Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure even roasting. Do not walk away because they can burn quickly! I’ve made that mistake all too often.
Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature before transferring to a jar or container for storage.
PetMD (February 11, 2021). Are Fats and Oils Good for Dogs? Retrieved from https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_dg_fats_and_oils_good_for_your_dogs_health