Acorns and Dogs Don’t Mix

Keep puppies and dogs from eating acorns or drinking water with oak leaves in it.

By | Posted: October 1, 2014, 6 a.m. PST

Q. I have three dogs, a Border Collie-Australian Shepherd mix, a Border Collie and an Australian Shepherd. The mix has been eating dirt and acorns. The Border occasionally eats dirt or licks it, and eats acorns. The Aussie also eats acorns. I feed a good quality food, and they have water at all times. Any ideas? Are acorns harmful? Thanks for any information.

Dog and Leaves 

A. Many people do not realize that acorns are toxic to dogs. The toxic principle is unknown, but they do contain gallotanins, a combination of gallic acid and tanic acid. Oak trees are very common and most people don’t have problems, but they are not the trees of choice to have in a backyard full of pets.

Oak Tree 

Since their are a variety of oak trees, leaves and acorns can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Familiarize yourself with the trees in your area to identify them appropriately and ensure your dog steers clear. 


Acorns, oak buds, leaves, and drinking water that acorns and oak leaves have soaked in, have all caused symptoms of oak poisoning.

Dogs have been poisoned by drinking water that oak leaves have soaked in. Two Chihuahua puppies were seen chewing on a couple of acorns. They developed a bloody diarrhea and their kidney values became markedly elevated. In spite of emergency treatment, they died of renal failure.

Acorns could potentially cause an obstruction of the intestines, but this would probably occur in a smaller dog.

If possible, minimize your dogs’ exposure to acorns, and be especially careful that their water bowl is not contaminated.

More Dog Poisons You Need to Know About




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Jacqueline   TAMPA, Florida

12/6/2014 7:26:55 AM

My 4 year pug is a acorn-hog. We have many oak trees in my condo community so I can't get away from them. They are everywhere. So far she has had no ill-effects but I'm afraid the cumulative affect could be dangerous.

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Jessi   Ligonier, Pennsylvania

9/27/2014 9:49:50 AM

my 2 shep mix rescues are eating them. we just bought a house that has oak trees all in the back woods. too many to cut down nor can you even get to them. they have 3/4 of an acre fenced in to run in and these acorns fall by the hundreds every day!! No signs yet but its been about 2 weeks now they discovered them and they eat a very high quality food. Are they in danger???

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Maria   Scarsdale, New York

11/14/2013 3:45:24 AM

My dog is an 11 yr old Westie. He has eaten acorns and animal fecie throughout the years. Little bits here and there. Last number of days he has not pooped(4) days has become very dehydrated but still has an appetite. We have been to the vet had an ultrasound. Vet says he looks OK? I believe he has gradual acorn and animal fecie poisoning. He is drinking a lot of water, more than usual. He will need to get more fluids today. I feel desperate that I am loosing my very best companion. Any advice and I would be most grateful!! Many thanks! PS When in the past he ate these toxins acorns and fecie he would stop eating and drinking have diahrear with blood and his stomach would gurgle alot.

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Teresa   HSV, Arkansas

10/14/2013 2:31:20 PM

We have three CKC dogs all different sizes, and they have been eating acorns this fall for the first time. I can usually command them to "NO CHEW" and they drop them but they've broken by then or at least one eats it completely. I have not noticed any symptoms of upset or sickness. I hope this is not a habit that can not be broken.

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