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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 17686
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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My chihuahua has eaten the shell of a black walnut n has thrown

Customer Question

My chihuahua has eaten the shell of a black walnut n has thrown up bits n pieces yesterday. She hid all day, today she us on my lap but still very blah what should I do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.
When did she last vomit pieces of shell?
Can she keep water down?
Are her gums pink or pale/white? Moist or sticky?
If you press on her belly, does she have any discomfort, tenderness, or tensing?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yesterday morning. Have not seen her drink, she hid all day until last night she sat on my lap n now. Her gums are pink n sticky, nothing happens when I press on her belly
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you,
Now the problem here is that this walnut material has already been in her system for quite a bit of time. This means that she already has been at risk (and may still be) of toxin absorption. Furthermore, since she ate hard shell, we also have a possible blockage or gut damage risk. Therefore, since we know that black walnut exposure can cause GI upset (vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, appetite loss) but also neurological issues (ie tremors, seizures), I would say that we need to tread with care and consider a check up at this stage. That way her vet can make sure she isn’t suffering with a severe toxicity +/- administer IV fluids (to flush it out but help with the dehydration those sticky gums are telling us is present), treat with injectable anti-nausea medication, and provide supportive care.
So, that would be the best course of action for Mia. Otherwise, I if you felt that she was stable, you could consider some home care. And I would note that her current signs do make me concerned that she is still nauseous even if she isn't actively vomiting. Therefore, you can consider treating her with an antacid to settle her stomach. There are a number of antacids that are available over the counter and pet friendly. I would advise only treating with one, but the two I tend to use are:
* Pepcid (More Info/Dose @ or
* Zantac (More Info/Dose @
These are usually given 20 minutes before offering food (to allow absorption) and of course you want to double check with your vet if your wee one has a pre-existing condition or is on any medications you haven't mentioned.
Furthermore, since she is a small breed with little in the way of body reserves, we need to keep an eye on her energy levels. Therefore, to start, if she is weak and lethargic you can try giving her a sugar boost by rubbing glucose syrup on her gums. If you don’t have this, you can alternatively use honey, karo syrup, pancake syrup, or even non-grape jam). This will get some sugar into her and hopefully keep her going.
Once that antacid has had time to absorb, you can consider starting her on a light/easily digestible diet. If you do so, start with a small volume (a spoonful) to start. Examples would be cooked white rice with boiled chicken, boiled white fish, or scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk). There are also veterinary prescription diets that can be used in cases of gastroenteritis (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity). When you offer that spoonful, give her 30 minutes to settle. If she keeps the food down, you can give a bit more and so on. The aim of the easily digestible diet is that it will be better tolerated and absorbed by the compromised gut. Therefore, it should get more nutrients in and result in less GI upset. As long as improvement is being seen, I usually advise that the diet be continued until she is settled, and that they are then slowly weaned back to their normal diet over a week.
Since GI issues like this and a lack of water intake can quickly dehydrate a dog, we need to keep an eye on her hydration. To check her hydration status to make sure they are not becoming dehydrated there are a few things we can test. One is whether the eyes appear sunken, if the gums are tacky instead of wet/moist, and whether she has a "skin tent" when you lift the skin. To see how to check these parameters for dehydration, you can find a wee video on this HERE ( If you are seeing any signs of dehydration already,then you do want to have her seen by the vet before this becomes an additional issue for her .
If you are concerned that she is becoming dehydrated, you can try and encourage her to drink but offering fresh water or even low-sodium chicken broth. Of course, since we have such vomiting, do make sure not to try to syringe feed food or fluids since this can actually make them vomit even more.
Overall, we do need to be very cautious with Mia's situation since the black walnut shell does carry a variety of risks for her. Therefore, if she is very depressed and her gums are very sticky, it'd be best to follow up with your local vet for assessment and symptomatic care. Otherwise, you can use the above with close monitoring. But if you initiate these treatments and do not see improvement over the next 12-24 hours (or she has any belly pain, paling gums, black stool, straining to pass stool, vomiting with blood or brown coffee ground material, etc) then it would be best to have her seen urgently. Depending on their findings, the vet will be able to cover her with fluids, anti-nausea/vomiting medication +/- GI lubricants (if any shell is thought to be caught) to help settle her stomach, help her pass this, and get her back on track as quick as possible.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best,
Dr. B.
If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you I think I'll take her to the vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
You are very welcome,
I do think because of all the risk factors with this type of shell, that is the safest and best idea for wee Mia. That way we can just avoid any harm from this and get her stomach settled as quickly as possible.
All the best to you both,
Dr. B.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about Mia. How is everything going?