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Can Dogs Eat Acorns? Vet-Verified Facts & Safety Guide

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on June 6, 2024 by Dogster Team

Can Dogs Eat Acorns

Can Dogs Eat Acorns? Vet-Verified Facts & Safety Guide


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca Photo


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca


The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Dogs love exploring their surroundings and trying new things. So, it’s not uncommon for them to become curious about natural snacks like acorns and the nuts of oak trees (Quercus species). But as pet owners, it’s important to understand the dangers associated with dogs and acorns. While some dogs may be attracted to acorns, the truth is that they can pose a serious health risk if ingested. We’ll discuss everything you need to know below.


Are Acorns Safe for Dogs to Eat?

No. Acorns are toxic to dogs. They can cause digestive issues if ingested, and, in severe cases, kidney and liver failure can develop. Death is very rare but considered possible. The tannins in acorns can cause abdominal discomfort, vomiting, and diarrhea. Additionally, the shape and hardness of acorns can cause blockages in the digestive tract, which can be life-threatening if not treated promptly.

Some dogs may be more prone to eating acorns than others. For example, bored or under-stimulated dogs may turn to acorns as a source of entertainment.

Acorns fruit
Image Credit: klimkin, Pixabay

Health Risks of Dogs Eating Acorns

If your dog ingests any number of acorns, they can experience digestive problems. If they consume several, they can experience more severe health issues. Signs of acorn poisoning in dogs can vary depending on the number of acorns ingested and the dog’s size.

Some common issues include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain. In severe cases, the dog may experience kidney and/or liver failure, which can be fatal if not treated promptly. If you notice your dog has ingested any amount of acorns, it’s essential to seek veterinary care immediately.

Other Potential Dangers of Acorns for Dogs

In addition to the toxic risks associated with eating acorns, pet parents should be aware of other dangers. For example, acorns can be a choking hazard, especially for small dogs. Additionally, the sharp edges of acorns can cause injuries to the mouth, throat, and digestive tract.

If your dog swallows acorns, it can cause a blockage in the digestive tract, which can be life-threatening if not treated promptly. Supervising your dog when playing outside is vital to prevent them from ingesting acorns or other foreign objects.

Treatment for Acorn Poisoning in Dogs

If your dog has ingested acorns, it’s important to seek veterinary care immediately. Treatment for acorn poisoning in dogs will depend on the severity. In mild cases, your vet may recommend supportive care, such as intravenous fluids, anti-nausea medication, and monitoring.

In more severe cases, your vet may need to perform blood tests, X-rays, ultrasound scans, or other diagnostic tests to determine the extent of the damage. Treatment may include intravenous fluids, medications to manage the organ damage, hospitalization for monitoring and supportive care, or even surgery if a blockage is suspected.

vet performing blood test on dog
Image Credit: thirawatana phaisalratana, Shutterstock

Prevention of Acorn Poisoning in Dogs

The best way to prevent acorn poisoning in dogs is to keep them away from acorns. So, if you have oak trees in your yard or nearby, it’s crucial to supervise your dog when they’re outside. You may also want to consider fencing off areas where acorns are present to prevent your dog from foraging or picking up acorns on the ground.

Keeping your dog mentally stimulated and active can also prevent them from turning to acorns as a source of entertainment or nourishment. Providing your dog with plenty of toys, exercise, and attention can keep them happy and engaged.

Tips for a Healthy Diet

Maintaining a healthy diet for your dog is essential for their well-being and can prevent them from ingesting other hazardous items such as acorns. A well-balanced and complete diet can improve their immune system, give them more energy, and keep them at a healthy weight. When selecting food for your dog, look for high-quality brands that provide the necessary nutrients required for their age, breed, and size.

Most dogs benefit from a diet that includes a mix of mostly proteins, carbohydrates, and about 5% of fats. Avoid feeding your dog table scraps or human food, which can cause digestive issues and health problems. It’s also important to monitor portion sizes and adjust accordingly based on your dog’s activity level and weight.

st bernard husky mixed breed dog outdoors
Image Credit: Ashley-Belle Burns, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

Acorns are toxic to dogs and can pose a serious health risk if ingested in large quantities, and they are also choking hazards. So, if you suspect your dog has ingested acorns, it’s best to speak to your vet immediately. Early intervention can prevent serious health complications and improve your dog’s chances of a full recovery.


Featured Image Credit: 1195798, Pixabay

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