Care with conkers and acorns

1st November 2017

Autumn – for some it’s a great time of year, nights drawing in, the changing colour of the leaves on the trees and big piles of fallen crispy leaves to kick through! Autumn also means that as well as the leaves falling, the fruits of the Horse Chestnut and Acorn trees also fall to the ground and there will be lots of conkers and acorns, in parks, wooded areas and even in your own garden which in return can cause problems for your dog if chewed or swallowed.

Acorns contain tannic acid which in can cause damage to the liver and kidneys. The tannins in acorns make them taste bitter so dogs do not tend to like eating them but ingested they can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, abdominal pain and lethargy. They can also cause intestinal blockages.

Conkers (fruit of the horse chestnut tree) contain a chemical called aesculin which is found in all parts of the tree including the leaves and this chemical is toxic to dogs. Fatalities are rare but the chewing or swallowing of conkers is still very serious. Dogs who have ingested them can become very unwell. The toxins can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, retching and excessive drooling. They can also become restless from abdominal discomfit and pain, due to the very tough skins and the rough and spikey shells of the conkers which can also cause intestinal obstruction.

When out walking with your dog you should ensure that you deter them from sniffing or eating ANYTHING – fungi are exceptionally prevalent at this time of year and are highly toxic; as are piles of fallen rotting fruits such as apples, pears and plums.

You should contact us for help and advice if you suspect your dog has eaten anything ‘suspect’ especially if acting unwell