Can Dogs Eat Acorns?

For many of us, fall is our favorite season; and who could blame us? The slightly chilly evenings and the pleasant daytime temperatures make a welcome relief from the blazing temperatures of summer and the ice-cold of winter. In particular, this is a popular time of year for dog owners since it is a fantastic time to take their furry friend on long, brisk strolls.

Despite the delightful bonding time, fall can be a worrisome time for dog owners. This is as acorns are falling off the trees and pose a serious risk to our canine friend’s health.

Acorns are nuts that come off oak trees, and they contain the oak tree’s seed within a tough shell, which is cup-shaped and features a cap. Acorns are common during the winter and fall months when they fall from trees, and it is at this time when dog owners need to be most careful.

Acorns Close Up

Can Dogs Eat Acorns?

Unfortunately, Acorns are bad news for dogs and they cannot eat them. Although Acorns appear as just typical nuts to the uninitiated they can pose a serious risk if they are consumed by dogs. Dogs cannot eat Acorns safely as they are poisonous and harmful.

Why Are Acorns Bad For Dogs?

According to the ASPCA, dog owners are warned against the consumption of Acorns since their consumption can lead to gastrointestinal upset and vomiting for both cats and dogs. In fact, when it comes to acorns, there are two significant reasons why they are harmful:

What Is Gallotannin?

Gallotannins are the main reasons why acorns are rendered potentially dangerous to our furry friends. They are a chemical compound belonging to a broader category of chemicals known as tannins.

Tannins, which are found in numerous plants, are known to be potent antioxidants; and while antioxidants are generally considered an excellent addition to a humans diet for their cancer-fighting properties, it is however not the case with dogs.

This is since the gallotannins levels in acorns are so concentrated that they can have toxic effects on our furry friends. Typically, the gallotannins in acorns are mostly concentrated on their hard outer shell, and as such, once a dog chews or bites an acorn, they directly release gallotannin into their mouths and in extension their digestive systems.


The Problem With Dog Digestion

Dogs are known to swallow as much food as they chew and with this in mind, there is no telling how much damage can be done if a dog was to take an acorn or even a few acorns.

When large dogs consume an acorn, the acorns are not broken down by their digestive systems. Usually, the acorn will just stay in their tummies, which could result in other numerous concerns over time. What’s more, with small dogs, it can even get worse since if the acorn is big enough, it can result in severe blockage as well as damage to their relatively smaller digestive tracts.

What Are The Side Effects Of Dogs Consuming Acorns?

Acorns are harmful to dogs, and some of the most severe side effects in dogs after consuming acorns include:


This is a condition that results from the dog’s stomach being inflamed or irritated usually when their digestive system is attempting to breakdown and digest an unfamiliar’ material.

As such, dogs will exhibit several similar symptoms which we humans show when we have acute food poisoning, including excessive vomiting, abdominal pains, dehydration, loose stool, and lethargy, among other symptoms.

Gastrointestinal Obstruction

This is a condition caused by acorns being mostly indigestible’ meaning that with the acorn being stuck in their system, it can result in intestinal and digestive blockages.

This will instantly affect the ability of your dog to break down the food they have consumed and effectively process’ the food because the blockage can prevent both the nutrients as well as the waste products from passing through the system correctly.

Kidney Failure

The increased gallotannin presence in a dog’s system can subsequently cause harm to the kidneys resulting in kidney failure.

Kidney failure can display as a range of symptoms including severe pain.

Acorns – The Bottom Line

As highlighted above, the consumption of acorns can result in severe symptoms in your dog. As such, there is a need to ensure they are not exposed to an environment with these elements to avoid any harsh reactions.

In the end, the deal is to ensure that you not only refrain from feeding your dog acorns, but you also take the precautionary measures such as teaching your pet not to consume them, if you live near an oak tree.

Note: ASPCA represents the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

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