Despite the cooling weather, crisp mornings and plenty of autumn leaves on the ground, it is also the season where we would advise pup parents to keep a close eye on their dogs during walkies especially when it comes to conkers. These dark brown nuts or seeds from horse chestnut trees are widely found in the UK from September onwards and we frequently get asked: Are conkers poisonous to dogs? Well, the short answer is yes.
Why are conkers dangerous to dogs?
They can pose a choking hazard due to their size and shape and if swallowed they can cause a blockage in your dog’s tummy.
Conkers are also highly poisonous to dogs if chewed and eaten because they contain a deadly toxin called aesculin, which is found in all parts of the horse chestnut tree, including the leaves. It is reported that in the late summer and autumn, emergency vets attend to many pups suffering from conker poisoning.
We know our four-legged friends love to forage and explore when they’re out and about, so please do watch over them if there are lots of conkers around. There are roughly 500,000 horse chestnut trees in the UK itself and are usually found in parks, along pathways, and gardens. Do not encourage your dogs to catch or play with them, and immediately contact your vet if your dog seems ill after a walk.
What are the symptoms of conker poisoning in dogs?
According to the Blue Cross, although fatalities in cases where dogs have consumed conkers are thankfully rare, it is still very serious. Dogs who have eaten or swallowed conkers, allowing the toxins to enter their stomachs can become very sick.
Symptoms of conker poisoning include vomiting, which may contain blood, diarrhoea, drooling, tummy pains, dehydration or wobbliness. Signs of illness usually arise after a couple of days but dogs can show signs of being poisoned within one to six hours of consuming the conkers.
What to do if your dog eats a conker?
We advise pup parents to contact their vet immediately for advice if they believe their dog may have eaten a conker or becomes unwell after a walk.
Just as we’re told that fresh food is the healthiest way to eat, the same applies to our furry friends. Even a little boost of nutrients in their diet will help to keep them healthy and happy. If you haven’t already, switch your dog to Poppy’s Picnic’s nutritious, raw dog food to experience improved digestion, reduced allergy symptoms, smaller less odorous poos, and more!