Are Acorns Bad For Dogs? Are They Toxic For Your Pet?

Are Acorns Bad For Dogs? Are They Toxic For Your Pet?

If you live in an area where there are oak trees, and a dog owner, you may wonder, are acorns bad for dogs? If you have a curious dog, and who doesn’t, then if acorns are poisonous to dogs, it’s a subject that needs answering.

Dogs tend not to be too picky when it comes to eating trash and other things that can harm them. With a dog, it’s eating now and worry about any harmful effects later. At least, if a dog could speak, that’s what he would say.

The short answer is acorns do pose a serious threat to dogs that eat them.

Continue reading to discover why acorns are toxic to dogs, what are the symptoms of acorn poisoning and how to try and stop your dog from eating acorns.

Why Are Acorns Toxic To Dogs?

Acorn poisoning has another name, and that’s Quercus poisoning, which can occur after a dog has eaten acorns or the leaves from an oak tree. The leaves and acorns contain tannins and possibly other compounds that can be toxic to dogs. When the acorns are young, they are even more harmful.

It’s true dogs would have to eat a significant amount to suffer from severe poisoning; nevertheless, even one or two can cause a nasty tummy upset for a susceptible dog.

Why are acorns toxic to dogs

If a dog has a nasty reaction to eating acorns or eats many of them, then there could be kidney failure or liver damage in a severe case, and if not treated quickly enough, death can occur.

There’s also how the dog eats the acorns. If a dog breaks them open with his teeth and swallows them, the hard shell casing is a sharp object and may slice or puncture his bowel.

Should he swallow them whole, he may choke if one lodges in his throat or may cause an obstruction. Obstructions such as these can interfere with the blood flow to vital organs, which causes tissue to die in the bowels. If peritonitis occurs, the dog rarely survives.

Symptoms Of Acorn Toxicity In Dogs?

If you know for sure or suspect your dog has eaten acorns, what are the symptoms you should watch out for in your dog?

The list of symptoms below will give some good insight into what you’re looking for:

  • Diarrhea, you may or may not see blood
  • Lethargic
  • Pain in the abdominal region
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Retching

How bad the symptoms are will depend on a few different factors. How many acorns your dog has eaten? Obviously, how big your dog is will have a significant impact on the seriousness of the situation. A large dog would have to eat considerably more than, say, a Chihuahua.

Is this something he might have been doing over some time? If so, then there could be an accumulation of toxins in his blood. When this happens, and he becomes ill, it’s not immediately apparent it’s because of acorn toxicity, and only your vet will be able to determine this with tests.

Symptoms of acorn toxicity in dogs

If you do see these symptoms, you need to take him to the vet or hospital immediately.

The vet will more than likely give your dog an emetic injection. This type of injection will induce vomiting in your dog and cause him to expel whatever he’s eaten. If he has eaten acorns or anything else that put him in this situation, you will see the culprit in his vomit.

Your vet will probably want to schedule a series of tests to ensure there’s no permanent damage.

Don’t Worry If Your Dog Eats Acorns

Let’s talk about the positive side of this issue.

First, you stopped your dog from eating or swallowing any acorns. Your dog was about to try one, but you quickly put a stop to it and removed the offending acorn. Most dog owners are aware of what might be toxic to their dogs, and I’m sure if you have an oak tree in your yard, you make sure to clean up any acorns or leaves.

Dogs are far more likely to show interest in something dead or very smelly than a few acorns lying on the ground. Your dog might nose them around for a while, but probably not try to eat them. If you see your dog doing this, you can always control him with the “Leave” command.

In reality, acorns don’t taste very nice; they are very bitter. Dogs are more prone to eating fruit that’s sweeter and better tasting. Of course, I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, that’s the point of this article, but generally, a dog will not be disposed to eating an acorn. That’s not the same as swallowing one, though. Your dog might swallow an acorn, so what we talked about earlier in the article applies in that case.

Preventing Acorn Poisoning In Dogs

Prevention is better than finding an ill dog, especially when it comes to dog poisonings. So here are a few simple guidelines to help you prevent your dog from any acorn toxicity.

Avoiding being around acorns is the best plan. Some home decorations include acorns in their design. It would be better to choose a different design and leave off acorns.

If you like to walk your dog in woodland areas and he goes off-leash, then take a route wherever possible that avoids oak trees.

Preventing acorn poisoning in dogs

An excellent training command to teach all dogs is “Leave,” “Leave it,” or “Drop it” this puts a dog under no illusion that what’s in his mouth shouldn’t be. If you teach him correctly, he should drop whatever is in his mouth. Of course, this is not only relevant to acorns. This command is so useful for many other objects he may pick up.

If you have an oak tree in your yard, whether or not your dog eats the acorns or leaves, keep his food and water bowls away from the tree. Acorns and oak tree leaves may contaminate his water if they fall into his bowl.


Dogs are frequently curious, and it’s impossible to watch them every minute of each day. If you do happen to notice your dog paying too much attention to acorns, then keep him away.

He might not get ill; they may have only a little effect on him. But his health should take priority, so take him away from them.