What Are Acorns?
Acorns are the nuts of oak trees. They have a tough outer shell and a single seed inside. An acorn ranges anywhere from 1-6 cm in length and 0.8-4cm in width. Acorns commonly grow in the Asian, European and North American regions.
Why Do Dogs Eat Acorns?
Dogs are curious creatures. Many dog owners have shared their dog’s liking for acorns on different online platforms. Most owners have many questions about how they could stop their dogs from eating acorns and oak leaves.
A dog usually eats acorns because it needs sensory input. Dogs like to work something between their teeth for dental health. A young dog chews on things to relieve pain caused by emerging teeth. Older dogs bite on things to strengthen jaws and clean their teeth. When dogs eat acorns, it provides a soothing crunch. In such cases, the use of a good stimulating toy may help owners prevent a dog from eating acorns
Dogs are curious by nature. Their strong senses of smell and sight pique their interest in different things, and they will try eating anything they see. This can prove to be extremely harmful to them. Owners need to minimize the exposure of their dogs to acorns. Additionally, training such dogs with commands like “drop it” or “leave it” can help stop them from eating acorns.
How Poisonous Are Acorns?
Acorns contain gallic acid and tannic acid that are toxic to dogs. When a dog eats acorns, it may suffer from a stomach upset and diarrhea. If ingested in large quantities, acorns can also lead to abdominal pain, digestive obstruction, kidney disease, and internal damage.
Initial signs of oak poisoning include a loss in appetite, lethargy, and an increase in thirst and urination. In extreme cases, acorn ingestion has also resulted in bloody diarrhea and renal failure in dogs, leading to death.
Eating a large number of acorns can result in severe consequences. If your dog has had a feast on acorns, it can suffer from an intestinal blockage. The bowel obstruction presents itself through vomiting, pain in the abdomen, bloating, and weakness. Blockage in the stomach and intestine can be difficult to see on x-rays at times. This can cause delays in diagnosis and treatment. If swallowed whole by small-sized dogs, the blockage often requires surgery for removal.
Are Oak Leaves Poisonous for Dogs?
During the fall season, oak trees drop their leaves. This is when dogs find leaves in backyards, parks, and on a hike, etc. Dogs have been known to consume large quantities of fallen oak leaves. These leaves can be a choking hazard for them. Additionally, oak leaves also contain gallotannins, a combination of gallic acid and tannic acid. This can also cause symptoms of oak poisoning, such as stomach pain and kidney problems.
It is important to remember that sometimes, oak leaves and acorns also fall into water bodies. Water that acorns or oak leaves have soaked in is equally poisonous for dogs. You need to make sure that your dog does not drink any contaminated water. During the fall, do not leave the dog outside without supervision.
Can Acorns Cause Seizures in Dogs?
Another potential toxin is not from the acorn itself, but the mold that grows on it. When a dog eats an acorn that has been sitting a while, it may ingest some mold. These molds often release “tremorgenic mycotoxins” that can cause seizures. When severe enough, this seizure can be fatal for the dog.
Signs To Watch For
Oak poisoning typically shows its effects within a week. If you suspect that your dog may have eaten acorns, oak leaves, oak buds or drunk contaminated water, look out for these signs:
- Loss of appetite
- Increased thirst
- Excessive fatigue
- Increased urination
As an owner, take the time to research and find out about the different toxic plants for dogs.
What Do I Do If My Dog Eats Acorns?
If you suspect that your dog has a stomach upset or other symptoms due to the toxic effects of eating acorns, you need to contact your veterinarian immediately.
Please be sure to explain all the symptoms and signs that your dog exhibits. Be ready to bring your dog in for a thorough check-up.
You do not need to panic. Acorn ingestion does not commonly result in death. If your dog shows any signs of oak sickness, there is a high chance that the vet will take care of it.
Acorn toxicity is not fatal if a dog has eaten acorns in a small amount. The amount of acorns that will be harmful to dogs is relative to their size. If the poisoning is detected early, it can be cured.
You can control the situation by raking oak leaves and acorns from your backyard, avoiding parks with oak trees, and making sure that you have trained your dog to respond to commands. When it comes to the safety of your best friend, prevention is better than cure.