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What is Poppy Poisoning?

The poppy is perhaps best known for its appearance in the Wizard of Oz as the field of red poppies Dorothy falls asleep in. While this is just a movie, the symptoms of toxicity from poppies are very similar. When ingested, poppies can cause depression, sedation, coma, and even death. This flowering plant is not found in many places but is still extremely dangerous to anyone or anything that consumes it. If you believe your pet sampled the poppy or if you witnessed your dog chewing on or ingesting this plant, you need to alert your veterinarian and head to the clinic.

The poppy plant has a distinct red flower and is possibly one of the best known wildflowers. While the poppy may be aesthetically pleasing, it is toxic if ingested. If your dog eats this plant, you need to contact your veterinarian immediately for an evaluation of your pet’s health.

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Average Cost

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Symptoms of Poppy Poisoning in Dogs

The onset of toxicity symptoms will vary depending on the amount your dog ingested. Symptoms of toxicity include

  • Inappetance
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Trembling
  • Ataxia
  • Weakness
  • Depression
  • Sedation
  • Respiratory depression
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Coma
  • Death

If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, you should seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.  

Types

The poppy plant belongs to the genus Papaver.  Plants in this genus have a widespread, bowl shaped flower that comes in many colors.   The poppy is most commonly recognized when seen in the red hue.   There are numerous species of poppy, all of which are toxic to your dog if consumed.

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Causes of Poppy Poisoning in Dogs

The poppy contains the alkaloids morphine and codeine. While these substances do have medical applications, detriment to the central nervous system occurs if given in excess. The seeds of the poppy plant are not considered toxic, but it would still be unwise to let your dog consume them.

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Diagnosis of Poppy Poisoning in Dogs

Upon arrival, your veterinarian will start by conduct a physical exam on your dog. This will allow her to assess your dog’s symptoms and vitals. Laboratory work will be performed to evaluate how the body is metabolizing the toxin. A complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel will provide a baseline of how the internal organs are functioning. A packed cell volume (PCV) may be performed to assess hydration status. A urinalysis will be done to assess kidney function.  

If the heart is experiencing abnormalities, the veterinarian may decide to take radiographs, an EGC or perform an ultrasound. Each of these methods will provide her with different information on your dog’s condition as well as determine the effect on his heart.

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Treatment of Poppy Poisoning in Dogs

The veterinarian may induce vomiting in your dog to rid him of any remaining poppy pieces in his stomach. If this is unsuccessful, she may administer activated charcoal to bind to the remaining toxin before it can be absorbed by the blood stream.

If your dog is experiencing breathing difficulties, your veterinarian may start your dog on oxygen via flow-by or place him in an oxygen cage. If your pet is experiencing severe difficulties and swelling, the veterinarian may have to intubate him and maintain oxygen administration via intubation until he stabilizes.

If your dog is experiencing lethargy, depression, dilated pupils, or anything else related to mood, keeping him in a quiet, dark place will help keep him calm until the toxic effects wear off. He may be put on fluids to flush the toxin from his system efficiently and effectively, and to shorten recovery time.  

If your dog is experiencing heart problems, he will be put on monitoring equipment. This will provide the veterinarian with a constant display of his vitals, including his pulse, and will allow for quick intervention if his heart rate were to suddenly drop. If necessary, the veterinarian will administer additional medications to prevent further complications.

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Recovery of Poppy Poisoning in Dogs

There are two main factors that will affect your dog’s recovery of poppy toxicity: the amount of poppy that was ingested and in what time frame he received veterinary care. If your dog only chewed on the foliage or ingested a small amount, prognosis for a full recovery is good.  If your dog ingested a larger amount but you received veterinary care in a timely manner, prognosis may be good to fair. However, if your dog ingested a large amount or didn’t receive veterinary care at all, prognosis of a full recovery is guarded to poor.  

Once all his laboratory work comes back normal, and he is acting like himself and has regained his appetite, your dog will be able to go home. The poppy is not found in many regions due to its potential for illegal uses. If you are out on a walk with your dog, steer clear of this plant if you come across it. Prevention is the best form of treatment.

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Poppy Poisoning Average Cost

From 510 quotes ranging from $1,200 - $2,500

Average Cost

$1,500

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Poppy Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Yorkie

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Two Years

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Unknown severity

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15 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

None

I was eating a poppyseed bundt cake and gave my dog a piece will she be OK?

Oct. 5, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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15 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. There should not be enough poppy seeds in a bagel to cause any kind of toxicity, and the only possibility maybe GI upset as far as I can tell. It would be best to monitor her for the next 24 hours, and if she shows any signs of vomiting or diarrhea, or lethargy, then having her seen by her veterinarian would be a good idea. I hope she is okay and everything goes well.

Oct. 5, 2020

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Shih Tzu

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Two Years

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Unknown severity

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9 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

None

My dog ate a small piece of poppyseed muffin

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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9 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I do not think that that small amount of poppy seed should cause any toxicities for your dog, but if you see that she is having any vomiting or diarrhea, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them and see what might be going on, and get treatment if needed.

Oct. 12, 2020

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Chihuahua

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Four Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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None

4 yr, 12 lb chihuahua AND 7 mo, maybe 50 lb german shepherd decided to help themselves to a poppy seed muffin for lunch. No symptoms other than sleeping but this is their usual napping time. Every now and then, the chihuahua will look up really quickly and look around like she hears something and then puts her head back down and goes back to her napping. Do I just keep observing them and for how long ?

Sept. 25, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay in my reply, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. I hope that they are both okay. I don't think that the muffin would have caused any toxicities for them, but some GI upset might be possible. If they are having any problems, it would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 20, 2020

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Shepherd & lab

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Six Years

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Unknown severity

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8 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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Not Sure If Any Yet. A Very Laid Back Animal

Ate half a poppyseed hot dog bun.

Aug. 3, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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8 Recommendations

Hello Poppyseeds are not generally toxic but a large ingestion can cause a urine toxin screen to come up positive for opioids. You should not expect to see any symptoms but still continue to monitor your pet.

Aug. 4, 2020

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Pitt bull mix

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Six Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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Panting And Shaking

He might have eaten 4 poppy seed muffins from costco

July 11, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If he ate 4 muffins, it isn't likely that he is having a toxic event from the poppy seeds, but he may have some stomach upset from the fat in the muffins. You can try fasting him for 12 hours and then feed a bland diet of boiled white chicken and boiled white rice for 2-3 days. If he continues to be uncomfortable, or is vomiting or having diarrhea, it would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian.

July 11, 2020

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Butters

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Yorkie

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11 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

I was eating crackers with poppy seeds and broke off a few pieces and gave them to my dog not know poppy seeds were poisonous. He vomited about 25-30 mins after. He had about 15 poppy seeds totally and he is 13lbs. Will he be okay??

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Derby

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Retriever

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6 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

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Vomiting And Diarrhea For 24 Hours

My retriever ate five poppy flowers while out walking. He was vomiting for about 24 hours. Every time he sees a poppy, he tries to eat it and I have twice opened his mouth to remove poppy flowers !!

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Burlie

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Yorkie

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7 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None So Far

My 7 lb yorkie at a whole poppyseed Costco muffin... she’s acting fine aside from hiding but I assume because she thinks she’s in trouble for eating table food. Do I need to be worried that such a small dog ate a while poppyseed muffin?

Poppy Poisoning Average Cost

From 510 quotes ranging from $1,200 - $2,500

Average Cost

$1,500

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