However, if you do eat acorns on a more regular basis, or if you have a tree with acorns on or near your property, you may wonder if dogs can eat acorns or if they are toxic to dogs. In short, acorns are toxic to dogs in large doses, but the real issue is they can cause an obstruction in the intestines if they are swallowed whole.
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Signs of a Dog Getting Sick from Acorns
This is a kind of acid that is released when your dog chews on the whole acorn. If they get too much of this acid into their system, signs that it has made them sick include vomiting, diarrhea, and some painful stomach cramping. If your dog happens to get a hold of many acorns, they may even suffer from kidney failure. However, do not panic. A medium to a large dog would have to eat pounds of acorns to get extremely sick from them!
The biggest issue of concern is if they swallow a whole acorn. An entire acorn can get lodged in your dog's intestine and cause a blockage. A blockage is a serious issue because this may turn into a fatal condition. Signs your dog has a blockage include changes in appetite, increased thirst, weakness, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and being tired all the time. Your dog will require medical attention right away to make sure they recover from an obstruction.
- Low tail carriage
- Lack of focus
- Head bobbing
- Not acting like their normal self
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Sudden change in activity level
- Sudden changes in appetite or thirst level
History of Dogs and Acorns
Acorns grew in abundance in this state and may have made up to 50% of the Native American's diet. Acorns were such a favorite source of food because they were plentiful, easy to collect, and they stored well for long periods of time. Furthermore, acorns are nutritious and packed with protein, healthy fats, and tons of vitamins and minerals.
It is unlikely that wolves and undomesticated dogs ate acorns as a source of food even if there were lots of acorns around. Wolves and other animals would have focused their hunting efforts of animals and sometimes fish as their primary source of food nutrition. They would have also likely known that acorns were not a good source of food since eating too many of them can cause health issues as we discussed above. Dogs and wolves can use their sense of smell to tell whether food is safe to eat or if it will harm them. Pretty neat, right?
Science Behind Dogs and Acorns
Even though dogs should never eat acorns, it will take a lot for acorns to become fatal in dogs. If you suspect your dog has eaten a lot of acorns, please speak with your vet or emergency pet facility right away.
Training Dogs to Avoid Acorns
Where things get a little tricky is if you have an oak tree on your property that has acorns. These acorns will fall off your tree and lie in the grass. Dogs like to eat just about anything that may taste yummy, so it is likely your dog will attempt to eat the acorns on the ground. If this is your situation, you may want to go outside with your dog and keep a close eye on them. If you generally let your dog out alone to go potty, start going with them. You can also follow them on a leash when you take them outside to go to the bathroom as well.
Although inconvenient, you can also make sure to pick up any acorns on the ground before you let your dog stay outside alone. This will ensure they do not have access to the harmful acorns. If none of these solutions make sense for you, you may consider removing the tree from your property as well. It is always sad to lose a tree, but the health and safety of your dog are critical! You want to make sure they don't become poisoned by eating too many acorns or get an obstruction in their intestine if an acorn is swallowed whole.
How to React if Your Dog Eats an Acorn:
Take any other acorns away from them.
Determine how many acorns they ate.
Call your vet right away for advice and guidance.
Safety Tips for Having Acorns Around Your Dog:
Keep them out of reach if acorns are in your home.
Keep them in a closed cabinet.
If you have an oak tree, keep acorns cleared from the ground.
Consider removing the tree from your property if your dog seems to into the acorns.