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Can Dogs Eat Poppy Seeds? Everything You Need To

No, dogs cannot eat poppy seeds. They are toxic and harmful to dogs due to the presence of opioid content. The toxicity level of these seeds varies depending on the species and the quantity consumed. Hence, it is always safe to keep your dogs away from these poppy plants as a whole.

What Are Poppy Seeds? 

Poppy seeds are tiny, kidney-shaped oil seeds derived from the poppy plant species Papaver somniferum. These herbaceous plants are cultivated as ornamental plants due to their resplendent flowers. They belong to the family Papaveraceae. Further, they are the prime source of the narcotic drug opium, packed with powerful medicinal properties. This narcotic drug constitutes powerful alkaloids such as morphine. 

Poppy seeds have been used since olden times, as mentioned in the Egyptian medical text Ebers Papyrus which lists the seeds as a sedative. Further, the Minoan civilization dating back to the Bronze age, who thrived on the island of Crete, cultivated poppies to soothe crying babies. 

With a rich medicinal value, the nutritional profile of poppy seeds in a 100 g serving is as follows:

Carbohydrates28.13 g
Proteins17.99 g
Total Fat41.56 g
Dietary Fiber19.5 g
Folates82 µg
Niacin0.896 mg
Pantothenic Acid0.324 mg
Pyridoxine0.247 mg
Riboflavin0.100 mg
Thiamin 0.854 mg
Vitamin C1 mg
Vitamin E1.77 mg
Sodium26 mg
Potassium719 mg
Calcium1438 mg
Copper01.627 mg
Iron9.76 mg
Manganese6.707 mg
Magnesium347 mg
Phosphorus870 mg
Selenium13.5 µg
Zinc7.9 mg

Are Poppy Seeds Safe for Dogs? 

It is unsafe for dogs to consume poppy seeds as they are pretty toxic if ingested. The quantity of consumption, your dog’s size, and the poppy species consumed play a vital role in determining the amount of toxicity. However, most large breeds must have consumed these seeds in larger quantities to be affected. On the other hand, smaller puppies can show quick reactions to even smaller quantities of these seeds.

Why Are Poppy Seeds Bad for Dogs?

Despite the rich nutritional profile of poppy seeds, they are toxic to dogs as they contain:

  1. Morphine is an active component of these seeds. They have an adverse effect on your pet’s central nervous system.
  2. Alkaloids also damage your pet’s nervous system and disrupt their brain function. Therefore, it results in opioid or poppy poisoning, which is fatal to dogs.

Symptoms of opioid poisoning or poppy poisoning

  • Lack of movement coordination (more like drunk walking)
  • Having breathing difficulties
  • Slower heart rate and breathing
  • Sedation
  • Zoning out
  • Watery eyes
  • Increased level of hyperactivity, sudden energy rush out of nowhere
  • Lack of appetite
  • Pinpoint pupil, long staring
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Trembling
  • Ataxia
  • Weakness
  • Inappetance

What if My Dog Ate Poppy Seeds?

Firstly, concentrate on prevention as it is always better than cure. Accordingly, put anything that contains poppy seeds out of your pet’s reach. Further, when taking your pet out to the garden or for a walk, always be mindful of the plants they go near. Finally, if these strategies fail, always have an eye on them for possible symptoms of poppy or opioid poisoning. 

Once you suspect the symptoms, take them to the vet immediately without further delay. This will happen especially when your dog accidentally gains access to a bag of poppy seeds or munches on a poppy plant. However, even if they consume these seeds in smaller quantities, it is to have an eye on them for possible symptoms of poppy poisoning. 

Once you reach your vet, she will examine your dog physically to know if her vitals are stable. Then, she will proceed with laboratory work to understand how your dog’s body metabolizes the toxic contents. For this purpose, she will order the below tests:

CBC Count (Complete Blood Count) To check if your dog’s vital internal organs are properly functioning.
Packed Cell Volume (PCV)To assess your dog’s hydration status.
UrinalysisTo  assess kidney functions
ECG or ultrasoundTo check for heart abnormalities

Meanwhile, your veterinarian will try to induce vomiting to empty your pet’s gut off poppy seeds. Alternatively, she will administer activated charcoal to arrest the absorption of toxins into the bloodstream. Further, your pet will be hospitalized as she will be put on IV fluids (Intravenous ). 

In case of breathing difficulties, your pet will be supplied oxygen via flow-by or will be kept in an oxygen cage. For severe difficulties and swelling, he will be intubated with oxygen supply until her vitals are stable.

If your dog exhibits mood-related symptoms like: 

  • lethargy
  • depression
  • constricted pupils

He will be kept in a calm and dark place until the toxic effects subside. However, in case of heart issues, your canine will be monitored with specialized equipment to warn if his heart rate drops. If need arises, he may even be administered with additional medications to arrest complications. 

Alternatives to Poppy Seeds

Healthy options that are excellent alternatives to poppy seeds include:

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can Dogs Eat Poppy Seed Heads?

No, dogs cannot eat poppy seed heads. They are poisonous as they contain higher toxicity levels since the seeds are concentrated. 

Can Dogs Eat Poppy Seed Plants?

No, dogs cannot eat poppy seed plants as they are extremely poisonous. 

Can Dogs Eat Poppy Seed Bread?

No, dogs cannot eat poppy seed bread. Although they are comparatively less harmful, they could still cause an upset stomach for your pet. 

Can Dogs Have Poppy Seed Dressing?

No, dogs should not eat poppy seed dressing. Although they don’t cause a toxic reaction, their other ingredients can harm your dog.  

Can Dogs Eat Poppy Seed Muffins?

No, dogs cannot eat poppy seed muffins as this will upset their tummy, and having it excessively can result in a toxic reaction. 

Can Dogs Eat Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins?

Lemon and its flavors are not harmful to dogs. However, they can experience an upset stomach when fed lemon poppy seed muffins. Hence, dogs cannot consume lemon poppy seed muffins. 

Can Dogs Eat Almond Poppy Seed Muffins?

No, dogs cannot have almond poppy seed muffins as some of them may be prone to nut allergies. Further, the inclusion of poppy seeds can disturb their digestive process. 

Can Dogs Eat Poppy Seed Pound Cake?

No, dogs cannot have poppy seed pound cake. Although non-toxic, this popular food is not recommended for their health.

Conclusion

In summary, poppy seeds are toxic to dogs and offer more harm than good. Hence, it is good to avoid keeping any products containing poppy seeds out of their reach. This ensures you prevent any emergency. However, accidents are bound to happen. Therefore, monitoring your pet for possible poppy seed poisoning is also good if you suspect it has consumed these seeds.

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