Do you have oak trees in your yard, with lots of acorns around? Or do you walk in an area that’s full of oak trees and acorns? If so, then you need to be aware that acorns are dangerous for dogs.
What’s the Problem with Acorns?
Who would think something that looks so innocent could be harmful to dogs? We often use them in fall and holiday decorations. And acorns were once used as a food source by Native Americans. So, why can’t dogs have acorns?
One issue is that acorns contain substances called tannins. These substances are toxic to dogs. At the very least, acorns can cause an upset stomach; however, they can also cause kidney failure, an intestinal blockage, and even death.
Acorn poisoning ins called quercus poisoning. Dogs can even get this by eating oak leaves.
Symptoms a Dog is Sick from Acorns
You may notice these symptoms if your dog has eaten acorns:
- Abdominal pain/swelling/cramping
- Loss of appetite
These symptoms can come from the tannins in the acorns, or if the acorn(s) has become lodged in the digestive tract, causing an intestinal blockage. The symptoms will be in proportion to how many acorns the dog has eaten. In other words, you will notice worse symptoms the more acorns the dog has ingested.
Also keep in mind that just one acorn is enough to cause an intestinal blockage. So, if you notice these symptoms in your dog, then call the vet immediately. This is could be a life-threatening medical emergency.
Treatment of Acorn Poisoning and/or Intestinal Blockage
When you reach the vet’s, they will perform a complete physical and note your dog’s symptoms. They may also order certain lab tests such as blood work, imaging, and more. The imaging tests will show the vet where the acorn(s) may be lodged in the digestive tract. Blood work and other tests will show the condition of your dog’s organs.
In case of an intestinal blockage, your dog may require surgery to remove the blockage. In most cases, dogs who receive prompt medical care have an excellent prognosis.
One of the best ways to ensure your dog doesn’t eat acorns is through avoidance and training. For instance, avoid walking in areas that are full of oak trees. If you must walk in those areas, then keep a keen eye on your dog to make sure he doesn’t eat anything off the ground.
Also, if your yard is filled with oak trees, try to keep the acorns and oak leaves cleaned up on a regular basis. You may also need to watch your dog out in the yard, rather than letting him run free.
When it comes to training, teaching your dog the command for “leave” or “drop” is an excellent way to make sure your fur baby puts the acorns down, without eating them.