Shirley Harring

writer, farmer advocate, madwoman

Macadamia nuts: Poison for dogs

August 18, 2009

I’m asleep, and in my dream I hear a regular but not rhythmical tickaticatic. The dream changes course and it comes again: tickaticatic.

As I roll into consciousness i know exactly what it is – the clickety clack of doggy toes – the sound they make then their four legged owner is dreaming of chasing rabbits or eating fat juicy bones.

I roll over and look at the clock. It’s just past 1.00 AM.

With a sigh, I heave myself out of bed and head toward the living room to put the tap dancing Labrador outside so I can get some sleep.

But when I head around the corner, my half asleep brain is confused. The tap dancing Labrador is not on his old sheepskin, snoring and tapping. In fact, he’s not anywhere. Again I hear the tick, tick, tap of doggy toes and I realise it’s not at all as rhythmical and my hazy brain thought.  It’s about then that foggy brain snaps awake as I see the the tap dancing dog under the kitchen table, convulsing.


For a pet owner, that sight makes the blood run cold. Those little furry friends become a huge part of a family, and the tap dancing Labrador is no exception.

As I call his name, hubby rouses and comes around the corner to see me, bending over the lab and calling him softly. As the convulsing subsides, two very soft chocolate brown eyes look at me beseechingly, as if to say “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to… can you help?“… and another wave of convulsions takes over the furry black body. And as the the skipper lifted 45 odd kilograms of quivering doggy into the car, I looked again into the brown eyes and told him “I’ll try“. I willed him to be OK.

The veterinary hospital is about 25 kilometres away. The skipper made it there in 15 minutes. He swears he didn’t speed.

The tap dancing Labrador spent the best part of the next 24 hours on a drip in the animal hospital. It turns out my packing frenzy, which included a pantry clean out, was responsible.

Who knew macadamia nuts were poisonous to dogs?

Not me, obviously :(   If I had, I would have made sure he could not nose dive into the rubbish bag containing 250 grams of chili roasted macadamias, with a side plate of dried pasta and an open packet of thyme leaves.

Did you know that 2 lots of surgery, an enema, administration of charcoal and a stomach pump costs around the same as the new fridge we had our eye on? Sigh.

Although  doing more of a soft shoe shuffle at the moment, he’s now OK and lives to tap dance another day. What do you think the chances are of him having learned not to stick his big black furry nose nose where it doesn’t belong?

Yeah, I thought so too.



  1. Oh what a relief he’ll be okay!
    I never knew that about macadamias. Amazing.
    Years ago, I had a dog who tried to eat a big needle I’d dropped. With thread in its eye. It got stuck in the back of his tongue as he tried to swallow it, which was lucky really, or we’d have been presented with a vet’s bill the size of yours.

  2. Sorry to butt in again, but your post reminded me of this you tube video:

  3. Ooh, heavens! Glad doggie will be ok, shame about the wallet!

  4. That would be such a worry. And who knew about Macadamia nuts?! *mentally adding that to onion and chocolote prohibition*

    And you are so right – the chances your cuddly big black teddy-bear of a dog will keep out of the rubbish in the future are … approximately none!

  5. It just makes your heart go flippity flop when they look at you apologetically even when it’s not their fault. Similar thing happened when my dog temporarily lost the use of one of her back legs. I felt like crawling into her basket with her, she was so ashamed. Glad your dog’s ok, but pity about the cost ey?

  6. What a frightening experience for you all. He is so adorable and my heart was pulsing double time as I read your post. Thank God he’s okay – sorry about the bill though – arrr.

  7. Oh your poor dog! Look at how gorgeous that face is, bugger the fridge, you need him more!

    Hilariously funny video by Lesley!

  8. *phew*

    I remember about 20 years ago my Australian Terrier had to have a knee reconstruction and it cost my folks about $500! And that was 20 years ago. I can only imagine how much your expedition to the vets cost you – but it was worth it wasn’t it?

    Glad he is okay. He is a beautiful dog.

  9. oh, he’s worth every cent. Look at him!

    That was a great piece of writing…I was on the edge of my seat.

  10. so glad tap dancing will recommence……

  11. Close shave – lucky you woke.

  12. Those eyes!

    Thank god you got up..

  13. Followed this drama on twitter… so pleased he pulled though. And lived to dig the guinea pig from his grave!! A sure sign all is as normal in dog world!!!

  14. Scary stuff. Glad all is well now, despite the depleted wallet.

  15. Oh, isn’t he beautiful…those soulful eyes…just so very relieved he’s ok! Life with pets–never a dull moment–LOL! ((HUGS))

  16. What a beautiful friend you have! You were so quick to respond to his convulsions…good on ya! I’m sure your quick thinking and even quicker actions were what contributed to his recuperation. Scary, but with a good ending to your story.

  17. How scary. I’m glad he’s ok.

    And who needs a new fridge anyway?

  18. I am so glad he is okay. How scary for everyone. I’ve paid some legendary vet bills in my time so I know the sticker shock. The fridge will still be there. :)

  19. Lordy, the “dogs will eat anything” concept will have to have a few disclaimers put on.

    So glad he is okay – but he likes chilli encrusted macadamias? Too bizarre.

  20. God, that’s scary! My budgie tries to share whatever’s on my plate, and it’s a challenge to keep him away from “danger” food. Glad that there will still be tap-dancing in your future…

  21. So glad he is ok. [At the same time you were going through this I was reading on twitter (and a blog) about another blogger going through similar with her dog – which ate tomato plant fertiliser.] It must have been so scary – having had dogs, I can imagine the fear and dread. Thank goodness you heard the tickaticatic noises!

    Like you and others, I had no idea about the macadamia nuts either. (Or onion!)

    Love the youtube link, Lesley!

    And you’ll have to stop posting cute photos like that because I will just have to come up to visit so I can pat and cuddle hiim! Sooooo cute!

  22. Holy cow! Who knew about the macadamia thing? Gees. I’m glad that you woke up…

  23. We had a dog who drank antifreeze once. Never fazed him. He also ate an entire pair of pants. ATE THEM! No ill effects. Well… he was slightly mentally unbalanced, but we don’t know if that was WHY he ate the pants, or CAUSED by eating the pants.

    Glad the tap dancer is okay. He was well worth it.

  24. He’s beautiful – and worth every cent you payed the vet (even if he did find a dead guinea pig shortly thereafter) :)

  25. How scary! I didn’t know mac nuts were bad for them! Now I do. One of my dogs has seizures now and then, and she always looks so terrified when they happen. poor baby. I’m glad your tap dancer is ok now, rub his nose for me.

  26. Give that beautiful tap-dancer a hug from me……

  27. I’m so glad your beautiful dog is going to be ok xx

  28. Reminded me of our Leo. It is so terrifying to see a dog having fits, convulsions, you name it! I am sooo glad he is now ok. Please give him a hug from me, Leo & HoneyXX

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