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Are Acorns Poisonous to Dogs? 5 Reasons Not to Panic


Are acorns poisonous to dogs? If your dog is like any other curious pet, he/she is probably quick to sniff and taste just about anything. Unfortunately, that can translate into your dog swallowing something he shouldn’t.

Technically, acorns are toxic to dogs but that doesn’t mean your dog will die if he/she swallows a few. You’re right to be concerned, but you shouldn’t panic.

This post will guide you through the reasons why you shouldn’t worry, but what to watch for in case your dog becomes ill.

5 Reasons Not to Worry if You Catch Your Dog Eating an Acorn

#1. You Stopped Your Dog From Eating too Many

Unless your dog has free reign in the yard, there’s a good chance you were there when your dog swallowed the acorn. You might have ordered your dog to “leave it” or “drop it” so that even if your dog managed to get a few acorns down, it’s unlikely he/she had time to ingest a significant amount.

This isn’t meant to make light of what could be a serious situation but it’s important to keep it in perspective. A few acorns swallowed by an otherwise healthy dog likely won’t cause much more than some stomach upset.

#2. Dogs Instinctively Eat Raw

The reality is your dog is more likely to eat poop or a dead rodent than acorns. Some dogs have a nervous disposition and part of that neurosis involves eating pretty much anything in sight. If you have a dog like that, you should learn as much as you can about toxic plants and keep them out of your house and yard.

#3. Toxic Taste

Nature has a way of balancing the good with the bad. The majority of sweet-tasting fruits and/or vegetables are safe for people and dogs and we have a natural affinity towards them because they taste good. Dogs have a natural instinct to shy away from particularly bitter plants and it’s not different with acorns.

Those of you with dogs who eat acorns will disagree with me, but the reality is that it’s unlikely your dog is going to make a meal from them. Acorns are not part of the natural diet and although your dog might be curious, it’s unlikely he/she is going to eat so many that it causes severe harm.

#4. Tummy Trouble Usually the Worst Case Scenario

If your dog has swallowed a few acorns, he/she is most likely to experience stomach upset including vomiting and diarrhea. If this continues and you notice blood in the stool, your dog is obviously in distress, is unusually tired, or in pain, it’s a good idea to contact the veterinarian.

There’s no need to panic, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. When in doubt, call the veterinarian.

#5. Kidney Disease is More Common in Cattle

It’s the tannic acid in acorns that is said to cause kidney damage. According to The Cattle Site acorn poisoning in cattle can lead to kidney damage and death. This might have to do with the indiscriminate eating habits combined with a huge intake of acorns.

In rare cases, it’s possible that a dog could ingest so many acorns that it causes severe illness and death. This isn’t likely to happen if your dog has only swallowed a few acorns here and there.

Symptoms You Don’t Want to See

The effects of acorn toxicity may take up to a week to become apparent. That doesn’t mean nothing is happening to the organs, however. A dog might initially experience stomach upset that progresses to more concerning symptoms.

Fall is the time of year when dogs encounter the most acorns in the back yard, while on a hike, at dog parks, etc.

The biggest concern for dog owners should be intestinal blockage or obstruction. When a dog swallows a whole acorn, there’s a risk that it can plug the intestines. When that happens, food cannot travel through the digestive system and waste cannot come out.

Signs To Watch For

There could be something serious going on if your dog shows signs of:

Loss of appetite

Increased thirst

Increased urination

Fatigue (excessive)

As a dog owner, it’s important to know the many different plants that are toxic to dogs.

Read: 32 Common Poisonous Plants for Dogs

If you know that your dog has ingested acorns, bring your dog to the veterinarian or call Pet Poison Control for help.


Phone: (888) 426-4435

Intestinal Blockage in Dogs

If your dog has a feast of acorns, they’re not going to travel easily through the intestinal tract. This is potentially life-threatening.

Signs of Intestinal Obstruction in Dogs

Signs of a bowel obstruction in dogs include vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, dehydration, weakness, and bloating.

A large dog is more likely to pass an ingested acorn or two. Small dogs, however, could find themselves in a serious situation.

Still Asking Are Acorns Poisonous to Dogs?

If you suspect your dog is experiencing the toxic effects of tannic acid from acorns, make sure to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Explain the signs and symptoms your dog is exhibiting and be prepared to bring your dog in immediately.

Do not panic. Remember, even if your dog is showing signs of sickness, there’s an excellent chance the veterinarian will be able to take care of it. Death is NOT a common result of acorn ingestion.

It’s In Your Control

Acorn ingestion in dogs can be treated if detected early. Deciding whether a dog has eaten a large amount of acorns depends on the size of the dog.

There are some simple ways to help keep your dog away from acorns including frequent raking (if you have a yard full of oak trees), avoiding certain parks or dog walks where there are many oak trees, or making sure your dog responds well to “drop it” or “leave it” on command.

Things to Keep in Mind

Prevention is always the best measure when it comes to dogs and poisonous plants. However, even the most diligent dog owner can’t be constantly on surveillance. If your dog is prone to nibble on things he’s not supposed to, keeping him away from parks this time of year might be the best solution.

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