Can dogs eat nuts?

Can dogs eat nuts?

Most dogs love peanut butter, but what about nuts? Can dogs eat nuts safely? The answer is, yes they can eat SOME nuts but others are dangerous.

For a small dog like a Morkie, any type of nut can be a problem:



  1. most tree nuts are infected with low levels of mold, including pistachios, walnuts, hickory nuts, and pecans. Moldy nuts contain aflatoxins, which can lead to lifelong health troubles for your dog, including liver failure.
  2. almost any nut can be a choking hazard in little breeds
  3. large nuts, like whole pecans and walnuts, can actually block your small dog’s stomach or intestines, causing tremendous digestive system problems.
  4. dogs with sensitive stomachs or a condition like pancreatitis shouldn’t have nuts because they can lead to discomfort and diarrhea.

Deadly: macadamia nuts

These delicious buttery nuts from Hawaii and Australia are THE worst thing for a dog. Why? They contain an unknown toxin that attacks the nervous system, causing  severe neurological problem.

Your dog might appear drunk, staggering all over; or he may lose his ability to walk (temporarily or permanently!) Severe vomiting and weakness can also be symptoms.


If you suspect your Morkie has eaten macadamia nuts, see the vet at once.

More Nuts to Avoid

Almonds aren’t as dangerous or deadly but they can cause a lot of digestive upset for your Morkie, along with the choking possibility.

Pistachios are “OK” except if they are mouldy and this type of nut is susceptible to mould.  Not enough for us to notice, let alone affect us but for a small dog, they can mean trouble.

Cashews don’t contain anything particularly poisonous to dogs but they ARE high in fact which can lead to obesity and even kick start pancreatitis in your small dog.

Brazil nuts are THE fattiest of all nuts, so again, should be avoided because of the risk of pancreatitis.

Walnuts are not only responsible for severe digestive illness in dogs, they can obstruct the bowel, leading to  more serious problems.  Plus, they’re one of “the moldies.”  (Black Walnuts are just as bad for dogs.)



No to Black Walnuts

Be aware of some wacky advice on holistic and all-natural dog care sites: they are encouraging us to switch from harsh deworming chemicals and medicines, to more natural ways to fight worms, like chamomile. BUT one thing that’s mentioned as a dewormer is Black Walnut! There’s often an accompanying warning, like this one:

“Black Walnut. Black walnut is a very effective natural dewormer, but it can be harsh on your dog’s system, so keep it for cases that don’t improve with the more gentle solutions listed above.


While it can effectively get rid of parasites (even heartworm), the strong ingredients in black walnut can cause vomiting, diarrhea and gastritis. It’s best to use it in consultation with a holistic vet.”

No to Almonds

The AKC says avoid almonds for your dog because they can cause digestion problems even though they aren’t as toxic as some nuts.  If your Morkie gets into almonds, expect him to have an upset stomach, pain in the stomach, gas and possibly diarrhea.

No to Pecans

Pecans are bad for dogs because they can cause aflatoxin poisoning. Symptoms include loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, colored urine and jaundice, liver failure, blood-tinged vomit, and bloody or blackened stools.

Peanuts aren't nuts - SO THEY'RE OK

What about peanuts and peanut butter?

Peanuts and peanut butter are NOT toxic to dogs – because they’re not nuts.  

But don’t feed your Morkie too many, because of their higher fat content. Avoid salted or seasoned peanuts. Peanut butter is another treat dogs seem to love, and it can be an occasional treat or used in making dog biscuits.

While “nut” is in their name, peanuts are legumes just like kidney beans, peas or lentils. Peanuts grow underground, while most other nuts grow on trees.


peanuts growing

Here’s how peanuts grow – underground from the green leafy peanut plant.

The One Peanut Butter that IS Bad for Dogs - Very Bad!

More and more manufacturers are offering ‘low cal’ peanut butter. It’s made with XYLITOL, a sugar substitute which is HIGHLY DANGEROUS to dogs.

Please watch for this ingredient on a number of foods and candies that your Morkie might get into.

Smarter Snacks for your Morkie

Instead of nuts, try your Morkie with a small piece of your favorite fruit – apple, banana, peach.  (NOT grapes).

Or try some veggies including a bit of carrot, celery or a green bean.

No matter how healthy a snack might be, remember the 10% rule – only 10% of your Morkie’s total calories per day should be made up of snacks. The rest should be a balanced dry or wet food or a combination.


What is the best dog food for your Morkie?




Check this site

Find a lot more information on human foods your dog should avoid on the site, Fido’s Favorites.  Plus you’ll find other helpful articles there.

Fidos Favorites website

Small breed dog food – does your Morkie need it?

Small breed dog food – does your Morkie need it?

Small breed dog food is the latest spin manufacturers are putting on commercial pet foods… but do small dogs need a special diet? And why are these so formulas much more money than food for ‘full size’ dogs?  More about the industry’s latest scheme.

There are dozens of special foods on the market now specially made for toy dog breeds; they are the latest from manufacturers like Wellness, Nutro, Blue Wilderness and a host of others.

But are they actually unique? And does your Morkie need to be on one of these small breed dog foods?


Today’s dogs are meant to eat MEAT. But plant material can’t hurt them, just fill them up. That’s something small dogs do not need; instead, every bite they eat should be maximum  nutrition.

All dogs need the same, good nutrition

Dogs are carnivores, not matter their size. Some experts say they are also omnivores – or eaters of just about anything. Their teeth are definitely for eating meat. But their intestines are longer than cats, who are true carnivores. So dogs CAN digest some amount of plant material.

A dog’s ancestor, the grey wolf, is primarily a carnivore. But dogs adapted over time to be scavengers, picking up the leftovers from humans, and generally eating whatever they could find. Meat was preferred, but not too many dogs will turn down a biscuit.


Commercial diets with plant filler

Any food with corn as its first ingredient, is not top quality nutrition. Corn is used for one reason only – it is an inexpensive filler.

Corn is a contentious subject in the world of dog food, Some experts claim dogs can get nutritional value from corn; others say, they can’t really digest corn, so it’s of little value.

Corn is a cheap filler, and small dogs like Morkies don’t need fillers. Every bite they eat should be nutritious since they’re so small.


What ARE the nutritional needs of a toy dog?

Toys need a quality diet of protein, fats and carbohydrates*. Carbs are starred, because they’re not technically NEEDED, but are usually the carriers of important vitamins, minerals and plant-based nutrients.

But guess what? Any size dog needs a quality diet of protein, fats and carbohydrates.

pet food treats in a dog bowl

Just some of the well-known commercial dog foods that have corn as their #1 ingredient:

Everpet Dog Food (Dry)
Gravy Train
Kal Kan Dog Food (Dry)
Kibbles ‘n Bits
Purina Dog Chow
Ol’ Roy Dog Food (Dry)
Pedigree Dog Food (Dry)

Hill’s Science Diet (Canned)

How important is small size kibble?

If you feed your Morkie a dry diet (kibble) how important is the SIZE of the kibble pieces?

Many Vets recommend that you add water – an equal amount as the kibble – to the meal before you give it to your dog. That’s because kibble diets can be very drying and can even result in dehydration.

So if you follow that advice, the size of the kibble doesn’t really matter, since it will soften right down.

Otherwise, the kibble size shouldn’t be an issue. Look at how a toy dog will grab onto a meaty raw bone and you’ll see there’s nothing too big for these guys!


Your Best Bet for Toy Dog Diets

 If you feed your Morkie commercial dog food, look for:


  • good quality food, with a high levels of protein
  • without fillers like corn, soybeans or glutens (if they’re listed in the first 5 ingredients, try another brand)
  • add at least some fresh food to your dog’s diet, by hand; a little bit of beef or chicken (raw or cooked); veggies your dog might like and even fruit. 
  • keep training treats very small
  • no other snacks
  • food consistently available throughout the day, to stave off hypoglycaemia
  • don’t overfeed
  • balance feeding with 20 minutes a day of exercise (leashed walk) to help your toy dog build muscle tone

Here’s a quick guide to help you pick better quality food — 

Let's sum up: does your Morkie really need small breed dog food?

Being labelled for toy dogs, doesn’t mean the food is superior than regular dog food.

Always check the label carefully – especially the first 5 ingredients. They are what matters most. You want to see real meat products named, not “meat by-products” or “meat meal.” Instead look for beef, chicken, lamb, etc.  And avoid anything called a by-product.

If the food checks out, and there is a small dog version available (at the same price), then go for it. Otherwise, stick to a regular, quality food.

Download a list of quality dog foods to take shopping

If you feed your Morkie commercial food, you’ll want this list. Download it here free. 

Prescription dog food – legit or scam?

Prescription dog food – legit or scam?

When you look closely at the ingredients, it’s pretty clear that in nearly every case, prescription dog food is just regular food with a new label and a much bigger price tag. Sure, there are some extra ingredients, but they are WAY down on the label.

Manufacturers are aggressively competing against one another in the lucrative pet food market, by introducing ‘new’ versions of food. Many of these trends parallel our own foodie trends:

  • continued emphasis on protein – including alternative protein sources like quinoa and lentils
  • vegan or vegetarian food
  • low protein food
  • grain-free is now almost half the market in dog food
  • prescription diets
  • food formulated for small dogs
  • breed-specific food such as Royal Canin kibble for Yorkshire Terriers

 Trendy new dog foods are all about PROFITS

These “new” dog foods aren’t really new, and they aren’t designed with your dog’s health first. They’re designed to increase PROFITS for pet food manufacturers.

Before you shell out big bucks for these specialty foods, take a closer look and be sure you’re not being manipulated by this multibillion dollar industry.


don't be a puppet to pet food makers

Let’s look at an example of prescription dog food vs regular food

Dana Scott from has just written an extensive review of prescription dog food, versus regular store food.

It’s hard to see how prescription dog food, or veterinary diets, are worth the premium pricing. Here’s an example from

Here, we compare the ingredients ABOVE the named fat, which represent the bulk of what’s in the food. (Read more about how dog food ingredients are listed in this blog)


Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Mobility Dry Dog Food for Joint Health

Chicken Meal
Whole Grain Wheat
Brewers Rice
Whole Grain Sorghum
Cracked Pearled Barley
Brown Rice
Soybean Meal
Dried Beet Pulp
Chicken Liver Flavour
Pork Fat

So, as you can see, the main ingredients are the same in both foods. What’s different? THE PRICE!


Ingredients from Iams Veterinary Formula Joint Plus Dry Dog Food

Chicken by-product meal
Corn meal
Ground sorghum
Ground whole barley
Chicken (meal or whole)
Chicken flavour
Dried Beet Pulp
Chicken Fat

In most markets, the prescription food is almost TWICE AS MUCH MONEY as the regular food.

As with all my columns, this information is for your consideration. Please do not make changes to your dog’s diet, medication or exercise plan without consulting a professional.

Our pets are getting progressively fatter and sicker eating processed pet food.


The best prescription: a whole, healthy diet for your Morkie

Your Morkie is a carnivore and needs quality meat. Yet commercial food can be nothing but empty calories, and stuff like CORN which isn’t what dogs need. Or worse, processed dog food can contain carcinogens, triggering cancer.

Dr. Karen Becker, of offers a NEW list of Best to Worst Ranking of 13 Pet Foods.

From the best – Nutritionally balanced raw homemade diet to the worst, an unbalanced homemade diet, raw or cooked.



Here’s Dr. Becker’s list:

Nutritionally balanced raw homemade diet
Nutritionally balanced cooked homemade diet
Commercially available balanced raw food diet
Dehydrated or freeze-dried raw diet
Commercially available cooked or refrigerated food
Human-grade canned food
Super premium canned food
Human-grade dry food
Super premium dry food
Grocery store brand canned food
Grocery store brand dry food
Semi-moist pouched food
Unbalanced homemade diet, raw or cooked

Do small dogs need special food?

Do small dogs need special food?

What’s the best dog food for small dogs? And do small dogs need special food, or is any good dog food OK? Here are 5 top questions about dog food for small dogs like Morkies.

1. Is kibble or canned better for small dogs?

pick this not that for your dogJust like us, dogs can get bored eating the same thing, day after day. So switch it up with different brands, and don’t hesitate to use both kibble and wet food together.

If you’re buying commercial dog food, look for quality ingredients,  whether you’re buying kibble or canned (wet) food.

What makes up “quality ingredients?” Pick food with a ‘real’ source of protein in the first 5 ingredients. For example, beef, chicken or salmon. AVOID food that is labelled “meat” “poultry” or “fish.” AVOID meat by-products (named or not).

AVOID: bone meal, meat meal, corn high up on the label, and food that includes a ‘flavour.’ Why? Because that flavour is usually added to disguise the poor quality of the main ingredients. If a dog food is made with chicken, why would you need to add chicken flavour?

How are ingredients ranked on a dog food label?

Ingredients in dog food are ranked by weight

All ingredients must be listed in order of predominance by weight, including the ingredient’s water. So without a complex formula which removes the weight of the water in the dog food, it’s not fair to compare a dry food with a canned food. However, kibbles can be compared to one another, and canned foods can be compared fairly.


  • First 5 ingredients – make up the bulk of the food, and are most important

  • Above the named fat – another way to look at it, is the ingredients above the named fat, are what matter.

  • First 3 ingredients – generally make up the protein of the food

2. Why a high quality food is important for small dogs

Small dogs need all the nutrition a big dog does, but with a difference.

Small dogs actually need to eat more calories for their body weight, than larger dogs. That’s because smaller dogs usually have faster metabolisms and will burn off energy at a faster rate than larger dogs. For example, a Maltese needs more than twice as many calories per pound as a Great Dane.

Since small dogs are, well, small…. they can’t afford to fill up on low-quality ingredients like corn and other grains. Another reason you need the best dog food for small dogs.



3. Are breed-specific foods worth it?

Spoiler alert: Nope. What matters is that the food is species-specific… that is, it’s made for DOGS.

You might wonder sometimes, when you see ingredients like CORN first on the dog food label. When’s the last time you heard of a wolf breaking into a farmer’s field, shucking a few cobs and feasting on corn? Like never.

This doesn’t stop manufacturers from extending their pet food lines with plenty of silly options, like breed-specific food. Let’s look at two dry foods specifically for Yorkies, compared to a premium brand for small dogs.

Two breed-specific, specialty foods – for Yorkies

Eukanuba Yorkshire Terrier Food

Eukanuba Yorkshire Terrier Dry Food

First ingredients:

  • Chicken
  • Chicken By-Product Meal
  • Corn Meal
  • Ground Whole Grain Sorghum
  • Brewers’s Rice
  • Chicken Fat

Chicken as the first ingredient is excellent. Meal is a concentrated version of the meat named, and so delivers excellent protein value; however, poultry by-products are the really ghastly parts like beaks and feet. Corn meal is the third ingredient, and it’s a controversial one. One thing we do know is, that as a whole grain, corn is not easily digested by dogs.

Sorghum is usually fed to cattle and Brewer’s Rice, or broken rice, are the broken bits of regular rice, which are rejected for people. They’re OK, nutrition wise, for pets.

10 pounds – at – $31.49

All in all, a pretty average food.

royal canine yorkie food - kibble

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Yorkshire Terrier

First ingredeints:

  • Brewer’s rice
  • Brown rice
  • Chicken by-product meal
  • Chicken fat
  • Wheat gluten

Brewer’s Rice is an odd ingredient to find first in a dog food. (see Eukanuba description, left)

This is a medium quality food, heavy on the carbs which small dogs like Morkies don’t need.

10 pounds – at Chewy – $38.69

My personal opinion is that this ranks well below the just-average Eukanuba, at left.

A much better choice – 

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed Turkey & Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food


12 pounds –  $37.99

      • Deboned turkey
      • Turkey meal
      • Chicken meal
      • Potatoes
      • Peas
      • Dried Ground Potatoes
      • Chicken Fat

      Premium natural ingredients, with no wheat, corn, soy preservatives or artificial colours and flavours.

      Provides energy without all the carbs, thanks to high-quality protein. Complete with probiotics, glucosamine, Omega fatty acids for coat health, antioxidants and more.



      4. Should I pick a food that’s specially made for small breeds?

      Some kibble comes in smaller sizes for smaller dogs, like the Wellness Core, above. That’s not a bad idea, as long as the food itself is high quality. Other than the size of kibble, there’s no reason small dogs need a different recipe than their big friends.

      cesar dog food commercial

      A frame from the latest Cesar Dog Food commercial.

      Pulling the heartstrings of small dog owners

      cesar dog foodSome foods are specially marketed to small dog owners. Cesar Savory Delights is a good example. Ads feature a  single man or woman, alone with their soulmate, a tiny dog. These ads are targeted at the GenX/Boomer pet parent, who is lonely, but thankfully, has his fur baby for company. So naturally he wants the best for that dog – and the implication is, that’s Cesar! 

      This food is one of the poorest quality on the market. Why?

      After water, the top 5 ingredients are:

        • beef by-products – which is industry-speak for slaughterhouse waste. This isn’t meat, it’s the leftovers, rejected for hot dogs. Can include lungs, brain, intestines, even tumours! 
        • animal liver – the animal isn’t named, so it could be anything, including any combination of pigs sheet, goats and horses. 
        • chicken – good!
        • meat by-products – slaughterhouse waste again, but from what animal??? Could even roadkill!
        • bacon – the cured fatty meat from the belly of the pig. Hmmm.

        5. Can small dogs handle a RAW diet?

        Yes they can. But RAW diets are about more than slicing off some sirloin before you toss that steak on the barbie…

        It’s important to handle raw meat carefully; especially for YOUR health. Your dog may love it, but raw meat is still full of potentially harmful toxins, bacteria and even parasites. Dogs are more resistant, but they’re not immune to some of these dangers.

        A RAW diet isn’t without digestion problems either, especially when you get started. Launching a new feeding regime can be tricky.

        And the number one issue: ensuring your Morkie gets the right nutrition. For a RAW diet, this takes a lot of planning and knowledge to balance the ingredients, and ensure all the micronutrients and vitamins and minerals are delivered in a RAW diet.

        Next: 'Prescription' or Veterinary Diets - Scam or Solution?

        Homemade dog treats

        Homemade dog treats

        Want to make your own homemade dog treats? As we saw in the last post, commercial dog treats and jerky snacks can be sketchy. And rawhide bones are really dangerous! So make your own and you can count on quality dog treats for your Morkie.

        Over the holidays, you might get a chance to make your own homemade dog treats.

        Here are my favourite recipes, in handy downloadable format.

        Plus a template you can download, if you want to make your own cookie cutters too.

        Morkie puppy

        Make your own cookie cutters

        It’s easy, and there are 3 ways to do it:

        1. Cut up an empty pop can, into 1″ wide strips. Bend the top edge over about 1/4″ or cover with masking tape to protect your fingers. Shape, tape it and voila – cookie cutter!

        2. Use a disposable foil baking tray to cut 1″ long strips of foil, and bend them to your design.

        3. Simple tin foil, folded 6 times into a 1″ wide strip.

        Three ways to make your own cookie cutters

        Be careful of the tin edges; they can be sharp.



        make your own cookie cutter from stuff around the house

        Grain-Free Peanut Butter Dog Treats

        These are very healthy and high in protein. Plus, they’re grain free – perfect for the Morkie with allergies.


        1 Medium Banana
        2 large eggs
        1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
        1 cup chickpea flour (try Bulk Barn or similar store)
        1/2 cup coconut flour
        1/4 teaspoon baking soda

        Preheat the oven to 350.

        Mash banana, then beat in eggs and then peanut butter. In a separate bowl, combine chickpea flour, coconut flour and baking soda.

        Gradually add the flour mixture to the banana/peanut butter mix.

        When well blended, roll the dough out to 1/4″ thick and use your favourite cut outs to make cookies.

        Bake for 14 minutes until treats are golden brown.

        Remove and let cool completely. Store in a sealed container.

        Pumpkin Peanut Butter Cookies

        This recipe, from Blue Pearl Vet, looks good enough for us to eat. In fact….


        dog treats homemade

        ½ cup unsweetened pumpkin puree – canned. Not the pie filling; just pure pumpkin.
        ½ cup plain peanut butter
        1 ¼ cup whole wheat flour

        Preheat the oven to 325º F

        Mix all three ingredients together and knead. Add extra flour if the mixture is too sticky.
        Roll out to about ⅓” thick then cut into squares with pizza cutter.

        Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until crunchy and golden.


        Crispy Apple Treats

        from Blue Pearl Vet

        It doesn’t get any easier!

        Slice fresh apples very thin, carefully removing all seeds and stem.
        Place on a baking sheet in a single layer, and bake at 150º F for about 5 ½ hours.
        Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.



        Please download your free recipes, and cookie cutter template.

        sweet potato chews for dogs

        Sweet Potato Chews

        from Blue Pearl Vet

        Slice a sweet potato into pieces of inch thickness. Cut the sweet potato crosswise for smaller, round coins.

        Lay the slices onto an ungreased baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake at 250º F for 2 or 3 hours until they are dry with crispy edges.

        Flip them halfway through baking to ensure they cook evenly.

        Cool and serve to your dog. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.


        Got a favourite recipe you’d like to share? Please post below.

        Can dogs eat turkey?

        Can dogs eat turkey?

        It’s that festive time of year, and you might be wondering can dogs eat turkey? They can… but it’s not that great for them. That’s because turkey skin and dark meat is fatty. And of course, turkey bones are really bad for dogs.

        If you want to make your Morkie a holiday treat… 

        …try one slice of turkey white meat

        • no gravy
        • remove the skin
        • no bones
        • no added fat or juice
        • no dressing or cranberry
        • just plain, white meat

        The dangers of too much turkey

        Turkey isn’t dangerous for dogs, but depending on how it’s cooked, it’s not easily digested by dogs. Plus, it can be fatty and can cause stomach upsets for a small dog like a  Morkie. 

        High-fat table scraps and meats can cause pancreatitis in dogs — the Pet Health Network advises that “Even if your dog doesn’t normally eat a high-fat diet, the introduction of a large amount of fatty food all at once can cause acute pancreatitis.” That’s pancreatitis that comes on suddenly and is unexpected, and it can be very painful for your Morkie.

        Symptoms of pancreatitis: loss of appetite, vomiting, and abdominal pain. A swollen abdomen is another symptom, along with lethargy and diarrhea.

          Can dogs eat turkey? Some Q&As

          Does turkey cause diarrhea in dogs?

          High fat scraps and meats can cause pancreatitis — the Pet Health Network advises that “Even if your dog doesn’t normally eat a high-fat diet, the introduction of a sudden fatty meal and be painful AND dangerous.

          Can my dog have the stuffing?

          Not a good idea; dogs cannot eat ONIONS, and should avoid large amounts of garlic and other spices.

          Stick to a small piece of white meat, with no gravy or trimmings and your Morkie will thank you in the long run (maybe not, but he’ll be healthy)

          Does turkey make dogs sleepy?

          The stuff in turkey that causes us to get sleepy is Tryptofan. It’s possible that Tryptofan in turkey can have a mildly sedating effect on dogs too. If your Morkie conks out early, it’s either that, or all the excitement!

          Can I give a turkey neck to my dog?

          You can – but only if it is RAW.  If the turkey neck is cooked, the bones will shatter, and could pierce your Morkie’s digestive tract. Never give your dog cooked bones. Raw is perfectly good – if your dog is used to whole raw meaty bones. If not, the holidays may not be the best time to try feeding RAW.

          Can dogs have turkey bones?

          No, no, no.  Unless they are uncooked. Cooked bones will turn into shards when a dog bites into them, causing long-lasting damage to the digestive system, and even DEATH!

          Can I give my Morkie the turkey liver?

          Most turkeys come packed with a little gift bag – giblets, which include the liver, kidneys, heart, gizzard and neck. Cover with water in a small pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium and cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until giblets are cooked through. Your Morkie will LOVE it!

          Here’s a great recipe from for a dog-safe treat made from leftover turkey.

          Realizing that his dog ate the Christmas turkey, David Barrett posted:  “There’s the culprit, she can’t move.”

          Funny / not funny

          Bubba, a dog in England, snuck into the kitchen on Christmas Eve and ate an entire turkey!  Luckily the dog survived, even though the owner, David Barrett, says she could not MOVE, and just crashed out on the carpet all Christmas day.

          We hope that feast was worth it for Bubba, since her family has now said the plump pooch will be put on a New Year’s diet.

          Here’s the dog’s normal size

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