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Poisons on dog walks

Autumn is the season for muddy woodland walks, kicking through piles of crunchy golden leaves and wrapping yourself up, ready to battle the wet and windy weather. Although autumnal walks with your dog can be beautiful, it’s important to be aware of the seasonal dangers that could be harmful to them.


Acorns contain a type of toxin called tannic acid that can make your dog sick or give them a stomach upset. In larger amounts, or if eaten regularly, tannins can also cause kidney and liver failure. Green acorns contain the highest amounts of tannins and are more poisonous than brown ones. As well as being poisonous, acorns can also block your dog’s stomach, causing further complications.


These hard shiny seeds contain a toxin called aesculin, which can make your dog sick or give them an upset stomach. Conkers have a bitter taste that might put some dogs off eating a lot of them. When eaten in larger amounts, aesculin can cause more serious effects, and in rare cases can even be deadly.

Clinical signs are usually seen between one and six hours after ingestion, although they can be delayed for up to two days.

Symptoms of conker poisoning include:

  • Vomiting, which may contain blood
  • Diarrhoea
  • Drooling
  • Abdominal pain
  • Increased thirst and reduced appetite.
  • Signs of restlessness, wobbliness and muscle tremors may also be seen.

Poisoning is not the only risk – Conkers are large and hard and may cause your dog to choke on them, or could cause a blockage in your dog’s intestines.

Fallen fruits

As the temperature begins to cool in autumn, many trees start to drop their fruits. Some seeds, pips and fruit stones (apples, cherries, plums etc.) contain toxins that can make your dog ill.

These fruits can also make your dog unwell if they’re eaten when mouldy or after they’ve begun to ferment.