Although with great care, chestnuts can be given to the dog and make for a tasty snack. In this article, we talk about how to prepare chestnuts to give to the dog, in what quantity to give, and what are the related benefits and risks.
Being a very popular food on our tables, especially in autumn, it is normal for us to ask ourselves if we can give chestnuts to dogs. In fact, this fruit (yes, it is a fruit) is typical of our culture at the table, it represents a sustainable and nutritious food resource, without particular risks of harmfulness. For this, the answer, in general, is that yes, we can give chestnuts to our dog, but we need to make some important specifics.
First of all, we must emphasize that it is important not to give dry fruit mixes to the dog in general. In fact, if chestnuts are not toxic, macadamia nuts are and although not frequent as a product on sale in our country, they can be present in the mix.
Having clarified this important point, it is important to remember that not all dogs can eat chestnuts. In fact, if your dog suffers from chronic intestinal problems, in particular from chronic gastritis or enteritis , surely chestnuts can be extra contraindicated. Having said that, let’s see instead all those cases in which it is possible to give it, how to give it and what benefits it could have.
How to give chestnuts to dogs
At the cost of saying banality, the dog can only eat cooked and clean chestnuts. First of all, then, if you have collected them yourself, remove the external hedgehog and proceed with cooking and cleaning. In fact, raw chestnuts are very difficult to digest and could represent a serious problem for your dog’s intestines.
The recipes with chestnuts are many in our culture and include the use of both fresh fruit and dried and/or reduced into flour. In case you want to give them to the dog, my advice is to prepare them in the simplest way possible, that is roasted or boiled. On the other hand, (at least for the dog) candied and/or chocolate-covered forms are absolutely to be banned.
Last, but not least, if you have a medium-sized dog as a life partner, perhaps particularly voracious, be careful not to give the chestnuts whole, better broken into small pieces. In fact, due to their shape and size, especially if they are ingested by medium-sized dogs and perhaps they are undercooked (therefore hard), they could represent a bite that is difficult to swallow, with the possibility of suffocation.
And the salt? Salt is not a problem for the dog, contrary to popular belief. For this reason, it doesn’t matter if the chestnut is cooked with salt. On the other hand, it is essential that it is not accompanied in any way by toxic foods for the dog, such as chocolate or onion. Chestnut-based desserts (castagnaccio) are also banned, but more for the presence of sugar than our autumn fruit.
How many chestnuts can be given to the dog
So now that we have seen how to prepare chestnuts for our dog, let’s see how many to actually give. In fact, chestnuts, contrary to popular belief, are foods very rich in dense carbohydrates and therefore in calories. Indeed, according to some sources, when the ancient writers spoke of the bread trees they were referring to the chestnut tree with its fruit: in practice, you are giving something similar to bread, a very rich food!
As for quantity, therefore, we must be very careful: we start from a one-off chestnut for small dogs, up to a maximum of 3 or 4 in large and large dogs. In this sense, chestnuts can be an energetic yet healthy snack to give to your dog. However, especially if your dog is overweight, be careful to overdo it!
Benefits of chestnuts for dogs and risks
If we consider that 100g of roasted chestnuts provide about 160 kcal, it is easy to understand how the main use of chestnuts (in human nutrition) is energy. Chestnuts also have a decent content of potassium and B-complex vitamins, which would be interesting … if they didn’t have some important limitations in dog nutrition! So let’s see the main problems and risks associated with chestnuts.
As we have said, the first point is the caloric amount. So be careful to give chestnuts to obese dogs, let’s remember that it is a disease. The second point, in order of importance, is the content of fibers, in particular fermentable fibers. This high fiber content, inside the intestine of a carnivore, such as our dog, is not a good idea and could predispose not only to bloating and flatulence but also to gastric torsion, due to the production of gas.