Acorns contain tannins – bitter chemicals that are produced by plants to deter herbivores. Can dogs eat acorns without getting sick? They will usually cause stomach upset and, in more severe cases, permanent liver damage and kidney failure. They are also hard and sharp and can cause an intestinal obstruction.
How Poisonous Are Acorns to Dogs?
Acorns are poisonous to dogs, and can cause serious health problems. If your dog eats one or two acorns, you may see some mild gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea. But if they eat more, it can lead to liver damage, kidney failure, and even death.
Here’s the full list of early symptoms of acorn poisoning in dogs:
- loss of appetite,
- abdominal pain,
- increased drinking,
- increased urination.
Can dogs eat acorns and be fine? How severe the symptoms get depends on your dog’s size, age, and existing health issues. Puppies and senior dogs are especially at risk if they eat acorns. If a big dog has eaten an acorn, it may not do permanent harm, but make sure to give them a thorough check. A large amount of acorns eaten in one sitting is grounds for an emergency visit at the clinic!
Can Dogs Eat Acorns Without Harm? What to Do if Your Dog Eats One?
If you think your dog has eaten acorns, call your veterinarian immediately. Treatment may include making your dog vomit, providing fluids and medications to support the liver or kidneys, and in some cases, surgery to remove the acorns from their digestive tract.
If you’re out on a walk and notice your dog being curious about acorns, make sure to keep them away. The best way to avoid any potential problems is to just not let your dog eat acorns in the first place.
It’s also helpful to teach your dog ‘middle’ – a command for the dog to get between your legs, so when they get into a dangerous or tricky situation, you can easily recall them and control their next move.
What if Your Dog Eats an Oak Leaf?
Oak tree leaves are also poisonous to dogs, and can cause the same symptoms as acorns. That’s because all parts of the plant contain tannic acid, which is toxic. If you think your dog has eaten an oak leaf, call your veterinarian immediately.
In addition, beware of other plants your dog might find in the park. Many common plants and flowers are poisonous to canines, including:
- sago palms,
- azaleas and rhododendrons.
As for tree leaves that are toxic to dogs, in addition to oak, these include yew leaves, red maple leaves, and jade leaves.
The best way to keep your dog safe is to educate yourself on which plants and trees are poisonous to pets in your area. If you can’t identify a plant, it’s best to err on the side of caution and keep your dog away from it.
Can Dogs Eat Other Nuts?
We don’t recommend feeding your dog any nuts, though some are safer than others. Cashews, almonds, pistachios and hazelnuts may not be especially toxic to dogs, but they aren’t healthy for them either. They can pose choking hazards because of their small size, and have a high fat content. Too much fat in your pet’s diet can cause pancreatitis, a serious and potentially fatal condition that affects the pancreas.
Some other nuts, such as pecans, black walnuts and macadamia nuts, are definitely toxic to dogs. Pecans and black walnuts contain a toxin called juglone, which can cause convulsions and seizures in dogs. Macadamia nuts contain an unknown toxin that causes muscle tremors, weakness and vomiting.
If you’re not sure if a nut is safe for your pet, call your veterinarian before giving it to them. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Don’t Leave Nutshells Out, or Your Dog May Get Hurt
Another thing to keep in mind is that the shells of nuts can also be harmful to dogs. They can choke on them, or swallow them and get an intestinal blockage. Sharp pieces of cracked walnut shells are especially dangerous. So make sure to sweep up any nutshells and put them in a trash can that your dog can’t get into.
Keep a Close Eye on Your Dog this Fall
Can dogs eat acorns safely? Certainly not! They’re very dangerous to dogs, so be especially vigilant when the leaves are changing color and acorns are falling from the trees. If you’re out on a walk with your dog, keep them close by and away from any potential hazards. With a thoughtful owner like you, they’re sure to live a long and happy life!
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