When summer comes to an end and the trees wear their brightly colored leaves in autumn, the daily walk with the dog is particularly fun. Many dogs love to play in the rustling leaves or with fallen acorns. But be careful: autumn harbors an underestimated danger for dogs. Acorns contain a toxic substance that can cause poisoning, gastritis, and kidney failure.
What are Acorns?
Acorns are the fruit of the oak, a deciduous tree that is widespread in Germany. It can be found in most German forests, but also in parks, gardens, and streets. Especially in strong winds, the fruits of the oak fall from the treetops and lie in large quantities on the ground. It is tempting for dogs to play with the small fruits or even to eat them.
Is It Dangerous If My Dog Eats Acorns?
If the dog eats acorns, the autumn walk can come to a bad end. Acorns contain poisonous tannins which, if consumed, can cause poisoning in dogs. If the dog chews on the acorns or swallows them, the tannins get into the dog’s organism and lead to digestive problems and even severe gastritis.
The poisonous tannins can lead to kidney failure and subsequent death of the dog.
If the dog swallows an acorn, the foreign body can also cause life-threatening intestinal obstruction. Sharp edges of bitten acorns can also seriously injure the dog’s mouth, esophagus, stomach, and intestinal wall.
What are the Symptoms of Acorn Poisoning?
How dangerous the green fruits are for the dog depends on the amount consumed. While a single eaten acorn may not cause symptoms at all, consuming larger amounts can even be life-threatening. Puppies, elderly or sick dogs in particular are susceptible to the life-threatening consequences of eating acorns. Typical symptoms of acorn poisoning are:
- Diarrhea (with or without blood);
- Loss of appetite;
- Increased drink intake and increased urination.
What to Do If the Dog Has Eaten Acorns
If you experience any of the above, or if you have observed that your dog has eaten acorns, contact a veterinarian right away. Especially if intestinal obstruction is suspected, every minute counts. In the worst case, complications from foreign bodies and poisoning can lead to the death of the animal. If the danger is recognized in time, the dog can be treated with medication or surgically with an operation.
Dog Eats Acorns: How to Prevent It
To prevent an emergency from occurring in the first place, you should prevent your dog from eating acorns. When taking an autumn walk, make sure not to walk directly under oak trees and avoid the fruits lying on the ground.
Keep an eye on your pet, especially if you are walking off-leash and the dog is free.
It is even better if you teach your fur nose not to eat any food or foreign objects, fruits or parts of plants that the dog finds outdoors. With the right training, your dog is safe on the move.