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

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 9, 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 are known to love exploring their surroundings and trying new things. So, it’s not uncommon for them to get curious about natural snacks like acorns, the nuts of oak trees (Quercus species). But as pet owners, it’s important to understand the potential 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. Let’s discuss.


Are Acorns Safe for Dogs to Eat?

No. Acorns are considered toxic to dogs. Acorns 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 found 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, dogs that are bored or under-stimulated 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 health problems. If they consume many acorns, they can experience more serious health issues. Signs of acorn poisoning in dogs can vary depending on the number of acorns ingested and the size of the dog. 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 important to seek veterinary care immediately.

Other Potential Dangers of Acorns for Dogs

In addition to the toxic risks associated with eating acorns, there are other potential dangers that pet parents should be aware of. 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. It’s important to supervise your dog when they’re playing outside 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 simply keep dogs away from acorns. So, if you have oak trees in your yard or nearby, it’s important 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 any acorns you see on the ground.

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

Tips for a Healthy Diet

Maintaining a healthy diet for your dog is essential for their overall well-being and can help to prevent them from ingesting other things 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 but also a good amount of carbohydrates and about 5% of fats. They have their own specific nutrient requirements which should be covered with their diet. Avoid feeding your dog table scraps or human food, which can cause digestive issues and lead to 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, not to mention they pose a digestive foreign body hazard. So, if you suspect that your dog has ingested acorns, it’s best to speak to your vet immediately. Early intervention can help prevent serious health complications and improve your dog’s chances of a full recovery.


Featured Image Credit: 1195798, Pixabay

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