Conkers that are also known as Horse Chestnuts, are round, dark brown nut that comes from the Horse Chestnut tree. These nuts are encased in a not so attractive spiky green shell that falls to the ground in the autumn time! opening on impact and releasing what is the conkers inside.
While most children pick up these conkers ready for the amazing childhood game that is conkers, which I’m sure we all remember growing up! they should be reminded never to eat them as they are toxic. But are these seeds also poisonous to dogs hmmm 🤔
ARE CONKERS POISONOUS TO DOGS?
The simplest one word answer to that question is… YES, conkers are poisonous to dogs if they are chewed or eaten. In fact, ALL parts of the horse chestnut plant are poisonous, that includes the leaves.
Horse chestnut trees and conkers contain a toxic chemical called aesculin which affects people and many animals, including dogs. There is no known antidote to counteract aesculin poisoning, meaning a vet can only give supportive treatment to help ease symptoms and give your dog the best chance of recovery.
Aesculin is a neurotoxin, meaning it damages the nerve tissues. If eaten in large quantities, aesculin can also be hemolytic, where it will rupture red blood cells. Both are incredibly serious and will make your dog very sick, so veterinary treatment must be given to your dog urgently!
Thankfully they say that horse chestnuts are meant to taste bad? I mean I’ve never tried them to say if it is true or not 🤷♂️ but this does mean it is uncommon for a dog to ingest large amounts. However, it won’t always stop your inquisitive pooch from eating the conkers, which in turn even ingesting a small amount can bring on serious illness.
Remember not only are conkers poisonous to dogs, but think of it this way nuts and the spiky shell can also cause damage and blockages in your dog’s gut if they are ingested. They also pose a significant choking hazard when your angel pooch decides it’s fun to grab and run with these in there mouths whilst out on there adventures in the woods.
If you suspect your dog has consumed conkers or any part of a horse chestnut tree you should contact your vet promptly for advice.
THE SIGNS OF CONKER POISONING
If your dog has consumed conkers and has been poisoned they may show any of these symptoms:
- Abdominal pain & discomfort
- Toxic shock
- Muscle twitching & spasms
- Excessive drooling
- Respiratory changes (Such as difficulty breathing.)
- But remember these are only a guilds line of the symptoms
Now that I’ve scared you which was not my intentions it’s now time to go enjoy your daily walks with your crazy four legged best friend, but remember… keep your eyes pealed when out and about for the crazy conkers!