Are Acorns Good For Dogs? — Tips and More

Dogs by nature are very friendly, energetic, and playful. Sometimes, we can’t prevent dogs from chewing random objects that they find. I bet that as a concerned pet owner, you’re wondering what things may be good or bad for your dog. In order to avoid emergency trips to the veterinary, pet owners should be aware and responsible for a pet’s needs. I’m going to answer the question, “Are acorns good for dogs?” and include other dietary concerns that you may have about your furry little friend. In the event that you find your dog swallowing something they shouldn’t, you will be prepared.

Are Acorns Good For Dogs?

If you’re an athletic person who likes taking their dogs on long nature walks or hikes, it’s important to be aware of the things that your pet may eat out of curiosity. Of course, since dogs aren’t aware that some food items are toxic for them, it’s your job as the pet parent to keep them from chewing or eating whatever they find.

While acorns may look harmless, they’re very toxic to pets when they’re ingested raw. So make sure that you keep an eye on your dog! Your backyard tree may be the source of the acorns that your dog finds. 

Acorns contain tannins which, even in humans, is an antinutrient that is toxic. An antinutrient takes away the human or pet’s ability to take in the healthy nutrients that we get from food. In humans, consuming very high amounts of tannins may lead to severe liver damage and in worse case scenarios, cancer.

For pets, high consumption of tannins may lead to an upset stomach and diarrhea. If your dog has eaten too many acorns, he or she may have an abdominal obstruction (also known as gastrointestinal obstruction). It makes it harder for your dog to poop.

High consumption of tannins (which is found in acorns) may also lead to internal damage for dogs. In the worst-case scenario, your dog will get kidney disease.

Note: It depends on what size your dog is. If you have a big dog and they eat only a few acorns, they might have little to no stomach complications at all. However, if you own a small-to-medium-sized dog, that’s a different story. The number of tannins that a dog consumes will determine if there will be adverse effects on its body.

Keep in mind that your dog is only in danger when he or she has eaten a high amount of raw acorns. Usually, you will start to see your dog’s discomfort after a week or two after he’s eaten the raw acorns.

What About Cooked Acorns?

If you feed your dog properly cooked acorns, there won’t be any bad side effects that will harm them for good. There are a lot of safe ways to cook acorns that you can do at home. All you’ll need is a pot, colander, a nutcracker or hammer, and water!

Otherwise, store-bought cooked acorns are alright to feed your dog as they do not contain tannins anymore.

What Should I Do When My Dog Swallows Raw Acorns?

First of all, don’t panic! Take note of how many acorns that your dog has ingested. If they only consumed one or two, the most that they’ll get is an upset stomach. There are not enough tannins in one to two acorns to cause any permanent damage to your dog’s digestive system.

However, if you think that your dog has eaten more than two, you should take him to the nearest veterinarian. That way, your pet can receive immediate treatment and avoid severe complications like liver damage.

What Do I Do When My Dog Vomits?

When your beloved pet vomits, it’s usually caused by gastroenteritis or an inflamed stomach. Most of the time, our dogs don’t know that what they’re eating is bad for them. When they sniff something interesting, curious dogs like to bite at the random object that they find. In the case that happens, your dog is lucky that what they ate doesn’t contain harmful toxins that cause them discomfort and vomiting.

When your dog begins to vomit, you should first identify if your dog is vomiting its food or regurgitating it.

  • Vomiting – The dog uses effort and uses force to expel food or liquid through its mouth.
  • Regurgitating – The dog doesn’t exert effort and doesn’t use force to expel food or liquid through its mouth.

Seek a veterinarian if you see your dog vomiting several times in one day. You should also seek help if your dog vomits more than once a day in a row. Besides consuming something bad like acorns, your dog could be vomiting because of other reasons such as:

  • Allergies
  • Kidney Failure
  • Addison’s Disease
  • Liver Failure
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pancreatitis
  • Intestinal Parasites
  • Gastrointestinal Obstruction
  • Diabetes
  • Parvovirus
  • Cancer

Home Remedies For Vomiting Dogs

You should only do home remedies if your dog has vomited only once or twice. Check if your dog isn’t vomiting more food/liquid every time he vomits. When your dog seems fine (still energetic or alert), you can still use home remedies.

Home Remedies:

  1. Limit their food intake – This means to stop feeding your dog for a while. If there is no food in its stomach, your dog’s gastrointestinal tract will be able to rest and will recover on its own. I encourage limiting their food for a day. If the vomiting persists, it’s time to take them to the vet.
  2. Give them a bland diet – Don’t give them their normal food. Prepare a special diet for them that consists of boiled chicken or boiled ground beef mixed with rice. Make sure that there is no skin, bones, and fat in the mixture.
  3. Let them stay hydrated – Always make sure that your dog is drinking enough water. If your dog is vomiting the water, feed it ice chips. The ice chips are less likely to cause more vomiting.

Again, only do home remedies if your dog only vomits ONCE or TWICE. Below I’ll talk about the signs you need to take your dog to the vet.

What Are The Signs That I Need To Go To The Vet?

If you aren’t sure that your dog has eaten acorns, these are the signs that you need to take him to the vet. These signs are usually symptoms of poisoning due to eating acorns.

Diarrhea – The consistency of your dog’s poop should be normal. You know when your dog has diarrhea when its feces is watery and if your dog poops several times during the day.

Drooling – Take your dogs to the vet if you see them drooling more than usual.

Lethargy – Lethargy is when your dog doesn’t seem to be in the mood to do anything. You will notice that your usually energetic dog will only lay down instead of running about.

Retching – Retching is when your dog tries to vomit but cannot. Excessive coughing may also turn into retching.

Vomiting – You should take your dogs to the vet if you see them vomit several times per day or more than one day in a row.

Treatment For Your Dog

Once you take your dog to the vet, the veterinarian will give him the proper treatment and perform the necessary procedures needed to get rid of the toxins in your dog’s body. During the checkup of your pet, the vet may conduct x-rays, abdominal ultrasound, blood tests, or a fecal analysis to determine the severity of your dog’s condition. You can also ask your vet if acorns are good for dogs, along with other substances that may be toxic for your furry little friend.

That way, the veterinarian will be able to successfully diagnose your dog and conduct the right treatments. Surgery may be needed if the vet sees that your dog has an internal obstruction.

If your family’s vet is closed, there are available emergency pet hospitals in the USA that are open 24/7 in case immediate treatment is needed.

How To Prevent Your Dogs From Eating Acorns

For future reference, pet owners should prevent their dogs from nibbling on things that shouldn’t be nibbled on. However, you can’t always keep an eye on your dog, especially if you have your own life to live. 

What you can do as a responsible pet parent is limiting walks during autumn and winter, especially near areas with a lot of oak trees. If your backyard has an oak tree, make sure to clear the area near the tree every once in a while so that your dog doesn’t pick up any fallen acorns.

Make sure to inspect your dog’s mouth for any items that he may be hiding after long walks. If your dog loves to chew on random things, it’s best to get him a chew toy that will distract him. You may also opt to train your dog to stop his chewing habits.

Final Words

It may be hard to always keep an eye on your dog. However, one of the most responsible actions that we can do to prevent dire circumstances like these is to educate ourselves. Hopefully, this article will have educated you and answered your question, “Are acorns good for dogs?”

What are your personal home remedies for sick dogs? Has your dog ever eaten acorns? If you’ve found this article helpful, please leave a comment down below!

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