Can Dogs Eat Poppy Seeds? Informative Guide To Dog Safety

We often want to give our dogs part of the food we are eating, but some foods can be bad for dogs. If you’ve baked a nice poppy seed bread for yourself, you might want to share. But can dogs eat poppy seeds?

Dogs should not consume poppy seeds. They contain compounds that can potentially lead to symptoms like lethargy, upset stomach, or something worse. But there are great alternatives you can offer to your dog.

What are poppy seeds?

Edible seeds come from the opium poppy, or the papaver somniferum. They have a long history of culinary use. From ancient civilizations to modern baking, they’ve been a part of human cuisine.

These small black seeds are more than just a garnish. They can be eaten whole, added to baked food, or ground into a meal. Some people also make poppy seed oil. There are also people that make dressing from these seeds, or just add them to certain salads.

What are the risks of feeding poppy seeds to dogs?

Besides food, poppies are known for one other thing. And that is their role in the making of opium. Each gram of these little black seeds contains high amounts of opiate alkaloids. To be more precise, Dr. Marta Concheiro, et al. doing a study on the seeds, concluded that:

The seeds, consumed raw or cooked, contain opiate alkaloids, primarily morphine (0-450 μg/g seeds) and codeine (0-57.1 μg/g), but also lower concentrations of thebaine (0.3-41 μg/g), noscapine (0.84-230 μg/g) and papaverine (0-67 μg/g).

Humans need to eat a lot of these to get the opiate effect. However, dogs might need to eat less. Poppy poisoning is a condition where a dog eats so many of these seeds, that the alkaloids pile up and attack its central nervous system. This will lead to various symptoms like a lack of appetite, sedation, and trembling. You will notice that the dog starts slowly breathing and its heart rate is slowed down. Looking closely, its eyes will have pinpoint pupils. Some dogs might also seem euphoric and excitable.

What should you do if your dog eats these seeds?

The first thing you should do is to stay calm and take them away from your dog. Try to figure out how much it had. Some dogs don’t know when to stop eating, even though they experience problems.

If your dog ate a poppy seed cracker, it’s likely that it will only suffer some mild digestive problems. Some symptoms that do appear might be caused by other ingredients that make the cracker. If you keep a bag of these at home and the dog eats half of it, you might have a more serious problem.

Keep an eye out for any symptoms that your dog might show. The best thing you can do is to call your vet and tell them what happened. They might end up calling you to their office so they can diagnose the dog.

What will the vet do in this situation?

Your veterinarian will do all needed tests to see if the dog is okay. In some situations, they may decide to induce vomiting. Giving activated charcoal might also help bind the toxins in the stomach and prevent further absorption. “Activated charcoal is most efficacious when given within one hour of ingestion of the toxin.”, according to Dr. Jason Silberman, et al.

If your dog is really sick, it will need to get hospitalized and stay for treatment. The doctor will give it intravenous fluids and oxygen, while also scheduling additional tests. Blood and urine tests will be really useful in order to decide the amount of opiates in the dog’s blood. Your dog will get hooked up to machines in order to measure its breathing rate, heart rate, and blood pressure. Depending on the severity of the situation, you will get your dog in a few days.

What are some safe and healthy food alternatives for dogs?

Because poppy seeds and dogs are not a good combination, you can consider giving other seeds to your dog if you choose to. There are some great dog-friendly seeds that offer many benefits without causing serious damage.

For example, chia seeds and flax seeds are a great and healthy option for dogs, providing omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Pumpkin seeds are also great, considering pumpkin helps dogs with diarrhea. Sesame seeds and sunflower seeds are other healthy seeds that provide a nice crunchy texture to your dog’s meals.

All these can be sprinkled on the regular meals of your dog. They can even be baked into some homemade dog treat recipes that you can give to your dog from time to time.

How can you prevent dogs from consuming poppy seeds?

To prevent any further accidents in the future, you have to take care of where you keep your food. Make sure you have the sealed bag stored in a place that your dog can’t reach. This can be a high cabinet or a well-secured cupboard. When cooking, do not leave your seeds unattained, and keep an eye on your dog around them. Be aware of any other products in the house that contain poppy and store them accordingly.

Poppy seeds are not safe for dogs even if found on plants. Be aware of when poppies are in season and look around your area if any of your neighbors are growing some in their yards. Usually, spring and early summer is the season of poppies, and you have to be extra cautious at that time. If you have these flowers in your yard, consider removing them or restricting your dog’s movement in the area.

Lastly, you need to train your dog in a way that you can control what it does and doesn’t eat. Teaching it the “drop it” command works wonders. If your dog does not listen to you, hiring a professional dog trainer may be a good option.

Can dogs eat poppy seeds? – Final thoughts

Even though small amounts will not cause serious problems, they can be really toxic in higher amounts. The seeds contain a high dose of alkaloids, which makes them useful for medicine, but very bad for dogs. Morphine and codeine are present in the highest doses besides other known substances.

If your dog gets a high dose of opiates, it might start becoming lethargic and uncoordinated. In high enough amounts, it will start breathing slowly, as its heartbeat also becomes slower. A very giving sign is the pinpoint pupils that appear in the dog’s eyes. This can be a very serious condition that can kill your dog.

Calling a veterinarian is essential in these kinds of situations. They can diagnose what the problem is and come up with a treatment plan for the dog. Make sure to follow all practices to prevent your dog from eating these.


Can dogs have poppy seed dressing?

No, you should not. Poppies are known to have properties that can harm dogs, but other ingredients of the dressing can also be bad. Adding stuff like salt, onion, and garlic powder are all toxic foods for dogs.

Can dogs eat lemon poppy seed muffins?

No, dogs can not eat poppy seed muffins. Besides the seeds that are known to cause toxicity in dogs, muffins also contain other harmful foods for dogs. The high amounts of sugar are bad for dogs and can lead to them developing diabetes.

Can poppies cause allergies in dogs?

Yes, some dogs prone to allergies can develop an allergic reaction when they come in contact with the poppy seed allergen. Typical signs of allergies are rashes, itching, vomiting, and diarrhea. Symptoms can range from mild to severe depending on the dog.

Is there a specific type or brand of poppy seeds safe for dogs?

No, all of them contain the same substances that will cause problems for dogs. If you really want to add some seeds to your dog’s diet, there are some great healthy snacks for dogs that are beneficial.

How many poppy seeds are dangerous for dogs?

Dogs can not eat poppy seeds in any amount. Smaller amounts can only be responsible for the dog developing digestive issues. However, higher amounts of pure seeds will require medical attention.

More dog nutrition resources

Here are a few other resources talking about giving certain foods to dogs and the effect they have on their health.

You can find a lot more information on the types of food you can feed your dog on our site Dogisa!

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