No, dogs should not eat acorns. In small amounts it’s nothing to worry about, but can be quite bad in a larger consumption. It may be tough to keep your dog away from acorns if they are in your yard, at the park, or come across them during a walk or activity. Try your best though, cause acorns most certainly can be harmful.
Risks From Dogs Eating Acorns
If your dog eats a small amount of acorns, he will probably just have some intestinal inflammation and recover fairly quickly, if you suspect more has been consumed, here are the risks.
One main reason to not let your dog have acorns is the gallotannin within them. Gallotannin is an acid and harmless to humans, but toxic to dogs if too much is consumed. This acid can be found in the shell of an acorn, also in coffee and tea.
Gallotannin can cause liver and kidney damage, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, pain and can even be fatal for a canine. A few years back a 4 year old dog, Max, was poisoned by acorns.
Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis or HGE, is another cause for concern with acorns. More commonly acquired in smaller dogs after eating a good amount, HGE will cause frequent bloody diarrhea. Dogs will need to go to the vet immediately to be placed on an IV and antibiotics or this could be fatal.
Other than harmful chemicals, just the acorns themselves are dangerous for pups. Shortly after consumption, acorns can create an intestinal obstruction regardless the size of your dog. You may be able to tell if your dog has an obstruction by these symptoms;
- Vomiting shortly after eating or drinking
- No bowel movements, or very few
- Abdominal pain
- Pale gums
Intestinal obstructions will be fatal if not attended to by a vet. So make sure to call your vet if you spot any of those symptoms or know your dog got into a large amount of acorns.
Minor obstructions may come free by pumping IV through the dog, while serious obstructions will more than likely require surgery.
Keeping Your Dog Away From Acorns
If you have an oak tree in your yard, I suggest cleaning up the acorns as frequently as possible. Another option would be to have their area away from the tree, so they don’t get into them.
The easiest way to avoid acorn poisoning is to train your dog to stay away from them. This may be harder if your dog is older, but it may be worth a try if you have oak trees around your home or where your dog plays.
Developing your dog’s knowledge, in my opinion, the best way to ensure he stays out of dangerous things and harmful foods. Start by laying an acorn down by him, if he goes to bite/ try to eat it, firmly say “No.” If he gets it in his mouth, pull it out quickly. Have his food or treats nearby and show him that his food is okay to eat. He will be confused and think you just don’t want him to eat if there is nothing around he can have.
What To Do If Your Dog Eats Acorns?
Assess how much he ate. If you do not expect he ate much, keep an eye on him and see how he does for a day or two. If any of the symptoms named earlier arise, call the vet. If you suspect he ate a lot, call the vet promptly and get him in as soon as possible.