If your pooch just stole the last of your bagel while you were briefly distracted, you might be wondering if dogs can eat poppy seeds at all. The answer is a resounding no. Poppy seeds contain alkaloids which can cause severe and immediate health problems in dogs, if they eat enough of them.
Keeping your dog away from leftovers and unattended food can be quite a task with a persistent four-legged shadow who wants a taste of your plate and wants it now. Poppy seeds are a common topping on bread, buns, sandwiches, salads, and even desserts like muffins. But they are not good for dogs under any circumstances.
Can Dogs Eat Poppy Seeds
Are Poppy Seeds Toxic to Dogs?
So why are poppy seeds bad for dogs? Poppy seeds come from the poppy plant (commonly Papaver somniferum) and are a staple ingredient in many cuisines. If it also sounds familiar for another reason, it’s because Opium is produced from this plant.
Poppy seeds contain chemicals called Alkaloids, which you may also know as Opiates, including Morphine, Codeine, Papaverine, Noscapine, Thebaine, etc. When eaten, these cause mild to severe, even fatal effects on dogs’ cardiac, respiratory, and nervous systems, depending upon the amount eaten and the size of the dog.
Although poppy seeds themselves contain lower concentrations of these alkaloids, it’s enough to consider them poisonous for dogs.
Are Poppies Poisonous to Dogs?
Yes, all parts of the poppy plant are bad for dogs. Specifically put, poppy seeds are a risk because they are a common part of our cooking. But they cause Opioid Poisoning in dogs. Dogs who have eaten poppy seeds in biologically significant amounts can show symptoms like:
- Uncoordinated or uncontrolled movements
- Watering of the eyes
- Constricted pupils (look for pinpoint pupils)
- Bradycardia, or decreased heart rate and slowed pulse
- Labored or slowed breathing
- Inexplicable hyperactivity
- Loss on consciousness
How Many Poppy Seeds Does It Take to Produce Effects in Dogs?
The problem is that the exact amount and concentration that constitutes a fatal dose isn’t known. So, for teacup dogs or toy dogs, a few poppy seeds will be sufficient to start producing effects.
In a large dog, the entire incident may pass unnoticed, except for a little diarrhea afterwards. Or, if your dog has a pre-existing heart problem, even that minuscule dose may trigger effects.
The exact amount and concentration that constitutes a fatal dose isn’t known. Which is why if your dog has eaten poppy seeds, try to induce vomiting immediately, and take him to a vet ASAP.
How Bad Are Poppy Seeds for Dogs?
Because of the uncertainty of dosage, you should pay more attention to your dog even if you suspect that he has eaten a few seeds off the floor.
It’s tempting to think that large dogs have larger body sizes, so they might escape having consequences. You might find yourself wondering if dogs can eat poppy seed muffins and get away with it if they’re on the larger side.
But as mentioned, the size of the dog and the amount of seeds eaten does not follow any fixed pattern. Even a few seeds may contain enough alkaloids to trigger respiratory depression and slow your dog’s heart.
So, you might think that he’s alright and simply sleeping it off, but in reality his body is being actively affected by the opiates – sometimes with fatal consequences. This is why it’s best to let a vet take a look and decide the course of action.
Can Dogs Eat Poppy Seed Bread?
There is some confusion regarding poppy seeds in dogs’ diets, because although poppy seeds on breads and muffins is a no-no for dogs, they themselves have no qualms about stealing unguarded poppy seed buns or digging them from the trash.
However, dogs really will eat anything, if not trained against this behavior. So, it should not come as a surprise that they eat poppy seeds on bread or buns even when it’s bad for them.
In fact, even bread isn’t the best thing for dogs to eat, with or without poppy seeds. But at the very least plain bread is not poisonous to dogs, unlike poppy seed bread. The same question can be asked about muffins – can dogs eat poppy seed muffins? The same applies as it does for bread – not allowed.
When Should You Take A Dog To The Vet?
If you know that your dog has eaten poppy seeds, it’s advised that you take him to the vet right away, or at least call and consult the vet for further advice.
If you catch your dog right after he’s eaten the seeds, you can try getting him to throw it up. But if your dog has eaten the seeds more than an hour ago, you should not try to induce vomiting.
A dog who is already suffering symptoms of opiate poisoning from poppy seeds, even mild symptoms like diarrhea, will not benefit from vomiting. In fact, the forced vomiting will worsen his condition and dehydrate him even more.
Dogs who are actively showing signs of opiate poisoning need supportive treatment, such as IV fluids, electrolytes, etc. to boost their body fluid volume. Depending on their symptoms and the severity of the poisoning, they may need medications to counter the opioid effects and stabilize their breathing and circulation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What happens if your dog eats poppy seeds?
Poppy seeds contain chemically active compounds called Alkaloids like Morphine, Codeine, etc. Ingesting these can have effects on dogs’ heart, lungs, and brain and exert depressive action.
Depending on how many seeds are eaten, the effects can range from mild drowsiness to difficulty in breathing, slowed heart rate, and even coma and death.
Can a dog eat an everything bagel?
No, dogs cannot eat bagels, especially with seasoning on them. While your dog could get away with a couple of bites of a bagel made with plain flour, everything seasonings are a major no-no.
Not only are poppy seeds poisonous for dogs, but other ingredients in it like garlic, onion, etc. are also exceedingly bad for dogs.
Can dogs have poppy seed dressing?
No. Regardless of the form in which poppy seeds are a part of food, whether ground, fried, toasted, or simply added to dressings, dogs should not be allowed to eat them. The Alkaloids in poppy seeds are toxic for dogs regardless of how they have been cooked.
How poisonous are poppies?
The exact amount of opiates from poppy seeds that constitute a lethal dose for dogs is not known. However, every part of the poppy plant is bad for dogs.
So, if you suspect that your dog has eaten a couple of poppies in the park, you should get him checked out by the vet.
Is seeded bread OK for dogs?
Dogs can eat bread with seeds on it depending on the kind of seeds. Poppy seeds and chia seeds, for example, should not be given to dogs. Others like flaxseed are actually beneficial sources of Vitamin E for dogs.