Are Conkers Poisonous to Dogs? Signs, Symptoms and What to Do!

2nd November 2019Dog CareLeave a comment

Horse chestnut trees drop hard conkers (dark brown nuts) from September onwards. In autumn you will find a large number of conkers in the woods and streets. If you are a dog owner you should keep a close watch on what your dog eats when you take it walking.
A chemical named aesculin is found in conkers. At present, there is no antidote to the toxin found in the nut.

Are Conkers Poisonous to Dogs? Signs, Symptoms and What to Do!

When ingested conkers are toxic to dogs but your pet dog will need to ingest several of these nuts to cause severe poisoning.

Signs of Conker Poisoning

The signs and symptoms of poisoning usually occur after a couple of days. In some cases, the dogs will show signs of illness within 5 – 6 hours of consuming the brown nut. Delay in treatment can also result in death.

– Difficulty breathing
– Restless with pain and discomfort
– Vomiting
– Diarrhoea
– Collapse
– Excessive drooling
– Lack of coordination
– Loss of appetite
– Seizures
– Dilated pupils
– Muscle twitching
– Sudden death

The additional complications that occur when your pet dog ingests conkers include:
– Bowel Obstruction

The hard nuts may prevent the movement of food through the intestines. If the condition worsens it will decrease blood flow to the bowels. This often leads to necrosis of tissues.

– Choking Hazard

The hard nut can cause an obstruction in the throat of your dog. It is advisable to contact your vet for emergency instructions in such a case.

If your pet is choking on the nut take all steps to ensure that the situation doesn’t turn life-threatening. Take the pet to the vet immediately. Avoid doing anything that may complicate the situation.

What to Do?

If you fear that your pet dog has eaten a conker, it is best to immediately contact the vet. Don’t panic and go to the vet as soon as possible.

Consult the vet irrespective of the quantity of conkers the dog has ingested. Most pet owners make the mistake of not consulting the vet if the dog had eaten only a small amount of the toxic nut.

The vet will examine the dog and prescribe treatment depending on the severity of the problem. The pet will need to be medicated and rehydrated.

If there are any conker remains in the stomach, the vet will remove it. Medication is given to the dog. This makes them vomit. Gastric lavage (washing of the stomach) is also done to remove any trace of the toxic nut.

In some rare cases, your pet dog will need surgery to remove any remaining trace of conkers. The large nuts can also block the stomach. Surgery is necessary to remove the blockage in the stomach.

A quick visit to the vet will reduce symptoms and speed up the recovery process. Quick treatment will also prevent death.

How to Stop Your Dog Eating Conkers?

Keep an eye on your pet dog when you go walking. If you see conkers on the ground, ensure that your dog doesn’t play or bite them. Encourage your pet to play with toys instead of conkers. Never throw these nuts at your dog to fetch them.

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