The entire poppy plant is bad for dogs, including the seeds we sprinkle on our bread. They contain opiates – alkaloids that are known for their narcotic properties. While you’re unlikely to get high from eating poppy, your dog can become seriously ill from even a small amount. Can dogs eat poppy seeds and survive?

What Are the Symptoms of Poppy Poisoning in Dogs?

The different species of poppy seeds contain varying levels of opiates, but they’re all potent poison for dogs. Morphine and codeine are the biggest culprits, and the largest amounts of them are found in the poppy latex.

However, the seeds also contain enough to give your dog opioid poisoning, damaging their central nervous system. So if they ever steal a poppy muffin from you, they can suffer from:

  • lethargy,
  • trembling,
  • seizures,
  • weakness,
  • watery eyes,
  • loss of coordination,
  • loss of appetite,
  • difficulty breathing.

In severe cases, eating poppy can lead to a coma or death in dogs. The level of harm depends on how many seeds the dog has eaten, how much they weigh, and whether they have chronic health problems. For example, a small dog that eats half a teaspoon of poppy seeds can have serious issues, whereas a large dog may only suffer from mild symptoms after consuming the same amount.

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What to Do if Your Dog Eats a Poppy Seed Muffin or Bagel?

If you see your dog eating something that contains poppy seeds, or if they’ve already suffering from the results of poppy toxicity, call the Pet Poison Helpline right away. There is no antidote for the poison, but treatment can include inducing vomiting, giving activated charcoal to absorb the toxins, and monitoring the dog’s vital signs until they recover.

Lemon poppy seed muffins are double dangerous, because dogs are very sensitive to the citric acid found in lemon juice. It can give them an upset stomach on top of the symptoms caused by the poppy.

Can Dogs Eat Poppy Seeds and Be Okay?

With the right treatment, most dogs who eat poppy seeds will make a full recovery. However, there is always the risk of serious side effects, so it’s best not to take any chances. Keep your dog away from all forms of the poppy plant, and if they do happen to get into something with poppy seeds in it, call the Pet Poison Helpline immediately.

Watch Out for Poppy Flowers on Walks, Too

While the seeds are the most commonly eaten part of the poppy, your dog can also get sick from eating the white, pink, red or purple flowers of the plant. They can often be found growing in meadows and along roadsides.

If you see your dog nibbling on a flower, call them away and put them on a leash – it’s better to be safe than sorry. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t keep any potted poppy flowers at home, either.

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Are All Species of Poppy Equally Dangerous?

There are over 120 species in the genus Papaver. Here’s a list of the most common ones.

  • Papaver somniferum (opium poppy), the species used to extract morphine.
  • Papaver rhoeas (common red poppy), the red flowers growing on meadows.
  • Papaver setigerum (prickly poppy), a variety with pink flowers.
  • Papaver orientale (oriental poppy), with gigantic red blooms.

Can dogs eat poppy seeds from any of them? No. All poppy species are toxic to dogs, although the levels of opiates vary between them. The most dangerous poppies are the opium poppy and the common red poppy, which contain the highest levels of morphine and codeine.

What Other Seeds are Poisonous to Dogs?

Poppy seeds aren’t the only seeds that can harm your dog. The following are other common poisonous seeds:

  • apple seeds,
  • cherry seeds,
  • apricot kernels,
  • avocado pits,
  • cherry pits,
  • peach pits,
  • plum pits.

Most of them contain cyanide, which can cause seizures, respiratory failure and death. Avocado pits, on the other hand, are poisonous for the same reason the flesh is – they contain persin, a fungicidal toxin that can cause vomiting and diarrhea in pets.

Just like you keep your bags of poppy out of your pup’s reach, don’t let them get into any of the listed fruits. If they do happen to eat one, they probably won’t spit out the pit, so call the Animal Poison Control Center for help.

Even Small Amounts of Poppy Seeds are Toxic to Dogs

While it’s not always easy to keep an eye on your dog at all times, you should be especially careful if they’ve got a habit of snacking on things they shouldn’t. Even a small amount of poppy seeds can make them very sick, so if they ever eat some, call the vet right away. With the right treatment, most dogs who eat poppy seeds will fully recover.

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