Are acorns toxic to dogs?

Are acorns toxic to dogs

Autumn has to be one of the most beautiful seasons of the year. But did you know that it can present unexpected dangers to your dog?

As the leaves change colour and begin to fall, they are joined by nuts and seeds looking to find a fertile place to take root and grow.

Acorns, the nut produced by the oak tree and are abundant in Autumn. Many dogs are tempted to pick them up and eat them. What’s more, as there are lots of them it’s difficult to prevent your dog from snaffling a few.

But is it something to worry about? Are acorns toxic to dogs?

Toxic tannins

Unfortunately, acorns can be deadly to dogs. They contain a chemical called gallotannin that can make a dog seriously ill.

In fact, gallotannin is found not only in acorns but also in the young leaves of the oak tree. If ingested it can cause;

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Tiredness
  • Pain
  • Depression

What’s more, it can also cause damage to the liver and kidneys.

If that wasn’t enough of a reason to keep your dog well away from acorns, they also present a choking hazard and can cause intestinal blockages if swallowed whole.

Also, it’s worth being cautious with water sources that have oak trees nearby as the water can become contaminated by the leaves and nuts.

What to do if your dog has eaten acorns

Symptoms of oak poisoning are sometimes noticeable within hours. However, it can also take several days for signs to appear.

If you think your dog has eaten something that it shouldn’t consult your veterinarian immediately.

Other Autumn dangers

In fact, it’s not only acorns that pose a risk to your dog at this time of year. There are two additional unexpected dangers of Autumn.

The first is the seeds of the Horse Chestnut tree and the second is the wild fungus that grows among the thick, damp piles of leaves.

Are Conkers poisonous for dogs?

Conkers, the seeds of the Horse Chestnut tree drop to the ground in a spiky green case.

Although not very tempting to dogs when in their prickly protective container. Once the conker falls out, however, the smooth, brown seed is much more appealing.

Not to be confused with sweet chestnuts  that are edible and delicious, conkers and all parts of the horse chestnut tree contain a poison called aesculin which is toxic to dogs.

Symptoms of Conker poisoning

If your dog has eaten conkers symptoms will typically appear between one and six hours although they can also be delayed for a couple of days.  If you suspect your dog has eaten conkers look out for;

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Drooling
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle tremors

Not only do conkers contain a toxic substance but they also pose a choking and obstruction hazard, especially for small dogs.

Also, although minor in comparison to the toxicity issue, the green spiky outer layer can be painful for your dog to walk on and can damage your dog’s pads.

What should I do if my dog has eaten Conkers?

Just as with acorns, if you suspect your dog has eaten conkers or they show any signs of being ill, contact your vet immediately.

Although fatalities are rare, horse chestnut poisoning is serious and you should seek professional advice.

Wild Mushrooms and dogs

Autumn provides the perfect environment for fungus to grow. While only around one hundred of the thousand different types of mushrooms are toxic, they could be growing near you.

Unless you are confident that you can tell the difference between a toxic and non-toxic mushroom the safest option is to prevent your dog from eating any type of fungus.

Symptoms of Mushroom Poisoning

Signs of mushroom toxicity vary a lot depending on the type of fungus ingested. In fact, mushrooms are classified into four groups – A, B, C and D.

Category A mushrooms destroy cells, especially in the liver and kidneys and are the most toxic. Category B and C meanwhile affect the nervous system and category D cause stomach irritations.

Due to the wide range of possible symptoms and the difficulty in identifying fungus, if your dog does eat mushrooms and shows any of the following signs, contact your vet immediately.

Also, if possible bring a sample or take a photo of the type of mushroom that your dog has eaten,

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Stomach pain
  • Lethargy
  • Drooling
  • Weakness
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • List Element

Fungi can grow overnight. Always check your garden or yard before you let your dog out. Also, keep a keen eye on your dog out on walks.

Despite the prevailing view that dogs will not eat poisonous mushrooms because they can tell the difference, this is not true.

In fact, some of the most toxic fungi smell like rotting fish and are extremely attractive to dogs.

Are acorns toxic to dogs?

Yes, along with Conkers and some wild fungus acorns are toxic to dogs. So while Autumn is a perfect time to get out and enjoy the changing scenery and catch the last of the good weather, be careful with your dog.

Prevention is a much easier than treating a dog that has ingested a toxic substance. So if you can’t trust your dog not to eat things while out walking its worthwhile muzzle training your dog.

The right type of muzzle will allow your dog to do everything they usually do but provide an effective barrier against them picking up things from the ground.

So keep your dog safe and enjoy this beautiful time of year.