Acorns are nuts of the oak tree and are a common sight on the ground during the autumn and winter months. Curious dogs may be interested in these unfamiliar objects while sniffing around in the grass and while owners might not think much of letting their dogs pick up an acorn, it’s important to be aware that acorns and dogs are a toxic combination.
Tannic acids are found throughout the plant world and stored in the leaf, seed, root, bud, and stem. Small amounts of tannins have a beneficial effect. They are found in many fruits and nuts and act as antioxidants. Tannins are also commonly found in certain foods, beverages, and medications and in smaller concentrations as either coloring, flavoring or a base for other compounds.
In higher concentrations, like in acorns, tannins exhibit toxic effects. In dogs, the worry is not only about an acorn (or part of an acorn) forming an obstruction that requires surgical removal, but also the effects of the tannins. In larger dogs,
So, if your Lab has eaten an acorn, symptoms can include stomach discomfort, vomiting and diarrhea. More severe poisoning may occur in smaller dogs or dogs who have eaten a larger quantity of acorns.
What are the symptoms of dogs eating acorns?
Signs that a dog has eaten acorns or oak leaves include drooling, retching, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and abdominal pain. These can occur within a few hours. The symptoms depend on the amount of acorns ingested and the frequency with which this happens. For example, eating a small amount just once may cause diarrhea, vomiting and lethargy, but dogs eating acorns regularly, or eating a large amount in one go, can result in more severe symptoms and may cause kidney or liver problems.
Are some dogs more at risk of acorn poisoning than others?
Dogs are most at risk if they eat a large number of acorns, however, what constitutes a large amount is relative to the size of the dog. For example, a small terrier will need to eat a lot less than a collie to have eaten a large amount. Curious dogs with a tendency to pick up and eat unsuitable items are most likely to ingest acorns and are therefore particularly at risk of acorn poisoning.