Many dog owners are unaware of the potential dangers that certain human foods can pose to their furry friends. One food that may come as a surprise is poppy seeds. These tiny seeds, often used as a topping for bread and pastries, may seem harmless, but can they be safely consumed by dogs?
In this article, we will explore the truth about whether or not dogs can eat poppy seeds, and what risks may be associated with this food.
The Danger Poppy Seeds Pose to Dogs
Poppy seeds come from the poppy plant, which is scientifically known as Papaver somniferum.
Poppies and their beautiful red flowers are only meant to be feasts for the eyes. Ingesting any parts of the plant, including its seeds can result in poisoning in canines.
Why are poppies poisonous to dogs? Poppies are toxic to dogs since they naturally produce harmful opiate compounds like:
The canine digestive system is incapable of breaking down and synthesizing these chemicals. While certain opiates like morphine and codeine have medicinal value, ingesting them in excessive doses leads to fatal poisoning.
Toxic Dosage of Poppy Seeds to Dogs
How poisonous are poppy seeds? Poppy seeds only contain small amounts of opiates. According to studies, 0.035 ounces of edible poppy seeds carry around 0.8 micrograms of morphine.
However, it does not make them less dangerous than other parts of the poppy plant. Poppy seeds possess lower concentrations of toxins, but they can still affect certain dogs.
Concerned dog owners frequently asked the question: “Will a few poppy seeds hurt my dog?” The fatal dose of poppy seeds to dogs is unknown.
However, small dog breeds are more at risk of their toxicity due to their small bodies. A few poppy seeds are potentially enough to cause life-threatening adverse reactions in these pooches.
Dogs dealing with heart problems are highly sensitive to opiates too and may suffer intense side effects. On the other hand, it would likely take a large amount of poppy seeds to induce serious poisoning in larger canines.
Symptoms of Poppy Seed Poisoning in Dogs
The poppy plant is best known for its iconic appearance in the Wizard of Oz movie and book. In the story, Dorothy falls asleep after she inhaled the sweet scent of poppies.
It is often asked: “What happens if dogs eat poppy seeds?” The symptoms of poppy seed poisoning are nearly similar to the ones mentioned in the Wizard of Oz. The opiates cause sedation and a feeling of sleepiness in canines.
These dangerous compounds also affect your dog’s central nervous system, triggering the following clinical signs:
- Lack of body coordination
- Pinpoint pupils
- Decreased heart rate
- Labored breathing
Severe poppy seed toxicity in canines can result in coma and death. If your dog is suspected of eating poppy seeds, contact the vet or Pet Poison helpline for advice.
In some cases, you will be suggested to monitor him for 1 to 2 days for symptoms of poisoning. However, if he ate too many poppy seeds, an immediate trip to the vet is necessary.
Before driving off, estimate the amount of poppy seeds he has ingested. The information will help the vet choose the most appropriate treatment for your canine companion.
Diagnosis of Poppy Seed Poisoning in Dogs
The vet will check your dog’s toxicity symptoms and vital signs by performing a physical exam. Laboratory work will be conducted to assess if your dog is metabolizing the opiates in his system.
To evaluate the status of your dog’s internal organs, the vet will run a chemistry panel and a complete blood count (CBC). They might also do a packed cell volume test to determine if he is dehydrated or not.
If necessary, a urinalysis will be suggested to check his kidney function. An electrocardiogram (ECG) or ultrasound will be needed if your dog exhibits symptoms of heart problems due to poppy seed poisoning.
Treatment of Poppy Seed Poisoning in Dogs
The vet will induce vomiting if your dog’s poisoning is detected early. This helps your dog expel any remaining ingested poppies in his stomach.
This method will be followed up by administering activated charcoal. The compound binds with the toxins, preventing their absorption in the bloodstream.
Your canine companion will be given an IV drip to keep him well-hydrated. To alleviate breathing difficulties, he will be given oxygen through flow-by. Other possible options are placing him in an oxygen cage or using intubation.
Medications will be prescribed if your dog is experiencing heart problems. The vet might also hook your dog to a piece of equipment that will monitor vital signs including his pulse and heart rate.
Frequently Asked Questions About Poppy Seeds
Can dogs eat poppy seed muffins?
No, they can’t. Poppy seed muffins can cause poisoning in dogs if eaten excessively. To make this quick bread, one has to use ingredients like butter and sugar, which makes it unhealthy for your furry pal.
Can dogs eat poppy seed bread?
No, eating poppy seed bread is not advised for dogs. Aside from the risk of poisoning, this human food can cause unwanted weight gain because it contains loads of carbohydrates and sugar.
Can dogs have poppy seed dressing?
No, they can’t. Poppy seed dressing tends to have other dangerous ingredients for canines apart from poppy seeds. Some recipes call for the use of mustard, shallots, and onions. All of these are toxic to dogs.
Prevent Poppy Seed Poisoning in Dogs
We have established by now that poppy seeds and dogs do not go well. Thus, pawrents need to take safety measures to keep their furry pals away from this poisonous human food. Here are a few useful tips to remember:
- If you are growing poppies in your back garden, keep them securely fenced. Make sure that it is sturdy and high enough to prevent your dog from gaining access.
- Do not leave food containing poppy seeds out in the open. The most common cause of poppy seed poisoning in dogs is eating the seeds from food products. So be sure to store them properly in the fridge or on a locked shelf.
- Keep track of when poppies are in season. These plants bloom during cool conditions, usually around spring and early summer. Be on high alert when walking your furry pal during this time of the year.
- Check which areas in your neighborhood grow wild poppies. Avoid these locations when taking your dog out for a walk.
If you do encounter a poppy plant, make sure to have a high-value treat that will redirect his attention away from it.