Can Dogs Eat Poppy Seeds? Is It Safe?

Contained in various food products such as muffins, bread, desserts, bagels and more, poppy seeds are a major part of diets around the world. Derived from the P. Somniferum plant, poppy seeds, surprisingly, contain a bit of an opiate known as morphine.

As they are safe for human consumption, since we are able to break the opiates down, poppy seeds pose an alarming health risk to your dog, due to the contained morphine in the seeds. If your dog happens to consume an excess of poppy seeds, they may experience poppy seed poisoning, and their life could potentially be at risk.

Risk Of Poppy Seeds + Poppy Seed Poisoning

Listed as toxic by the ASPCA and the Pet Poison Helpline, there isn’t much debate as to why poppy seeds should be avoided by dogs altogether.

Due to the toxicity of poppy seeds, all foods containing the seed should be avoided in your dog’s consumption. These include foods such as bagels, rolls, salad dressing, granola, cake, etc. It is relatively safe to say that a very small amount of poppy seed ingestion will not harm your dog very much, but there is no current safe threshold, and any amount can affect different dogs to different degrees.

Derived from the P. Somniferum plant, the opiates found in poppy seeds can have varying degrees of effect on your dog. In excess consumption, your dog may experience poppy seed poisoning, a potentially life threatening situation. If you believe your dog ate a lot of poppy seeds, check for signs such as;

  • Incoordination
  • Sedation
  • Respiratory Issues
  • Lack of Interest / Appetite
  • Small Pupils

If not treated as soon as possible, these issues could lead to possible seizures and death. Immediate contact with your veterinarian or local animal hospital is needed if you believe an excess amount was consumed by your dog.

For humans, it is possible that eating just one poppy seed bagel is enough to make them fail a drug test for morphine. This puts into perspective how much toxic substance is in poppy seeds, as an amount that will make a human fail a drug test will certainly harm a dog to a great extent.

Your dog’s inability to properly break down and dispose of the toxic opiates contained in poppy seeds is the main reason why they can not, and should not, be eating poppy seeds from any food that contains them. There is no safe amount, so the risk should be avoided at all costs.

Health Benefits Of Poppy Seeds In Other Foods

Despite its toxic properties, poppy seeds contain a considerable amount of healthy minerals and some B-vitamins that can be beneficial for your dog’s health, such as Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc and Thiamin. Obviously, your dog can not eat poppy seeds, but luckily, there are plenty of other dog-friendly human foods that contain these minerals and vitamins. These include, but are not limited to;

  • Rice
  • Green Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Meats
  • Eggs
  • Pork
  • Liver
  • Mango + Papaya (w/ seeds and core removed)

Just as with all human foods being fed to dogs, always be sure to feed in moderation, and supervise their reaction, especially if it is their first time eating the food. Nutritional supplements such as small amounts of these foods that will help your dog reach a well-rounded diet are beneficial, but they should always be receiving most of the vitamins, minerals, proteins and fats they need from their commercial or home-cooked meals.

Conclusion; Keep Your Dog Away From Poppy Seeds

It is clear that poppy seeds can have an ill effect on your dog, due to the opiates contained in them. The contained opiates such as morphine can give your dog poppy seed poisoning, causing a cascade of health issues if not treated quickly and properly. There are plenty of other foods out there that are safe for your dog that will help provide them with the healthy minerals found in poppy seeds. Be aware of your dog when you are handling foods with poppy seeds, and be sure to never feed it to them intentionally. Their health is at risk!

Sources

Longhurst, Adrienne. “Why Poppy Seeds Affect a Drug Test and What You Can Do About It.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 23 May 2019, www.healthline.com/health/fitness-nutrition/poppy-seeds-drug-test.

“Poppy Seed.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Dec. 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poppy_seed

“Poppy Seed: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1503/poppy-seed.

 

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