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Are Poppy Seeds Toxic for Your Dog?

Have you heard that urban legend about people getting fired from their job and/or arrested because they tested positive on their drugs tests for opioids yet they claim to be drug-free? According to the legend, these unlucky souls tested positive because they had eaten something containing poppy seeds. The burning question is: do poppy seeds actually contain opiates? Can poppy seeds have the similar effect on your dog?

The Truth About Poppy Seeds and Dogs

It’s true that the types of poppy seeds found in grocery stores are derived from the P. somniferum plant, the opium poppy plant. The seeds do contain very small amounts of opiates like morphine, but your dog would have to consume a ton of seeds in order to feel the effects of the opiates.

Are Poppy Seeds Toxic to Dogs?

The Pet Poison Hotline and ASPCA agree poppy seeds are toxic to dogs and should never be given to them regardless of the amount. While it would take a lot of seeds to give your dog opioid poisoning, there’s no “safe” limit where your vet can definitively say your dog has reached a toxic dose.

Signs of Opioid Poisoning in Dogs

Opioid poisoning is dangerous to dogs and deadly if it isn’t treated, poppy seeds is just one of the sources dogs can ingest opiods from. Symptoms of opioid poisoning include significantly slowed respiration and heart rates, sedation, incoordination when walking, pinpoint pupils, and a lack of appetite or interest in the surroundings. This seems like a basic “high”, but it can kill your dog if you don’t get treatment for them right away.

What to Do If Your Dog Eats Poppy Seeds

If your dog eats anything with poppy seeds in it (muffins, bagels, bread, etc), seek veterinary treatment immediately. Don’t induce vomiting at home, especially if it’s been more than 90 minutes since ingestion. Your dog needs proper veterinary care with IV fluids and medications/monitoring to keep an eye on your dog’s respiration and heart rates.

Poppy seeds have a long and controversial history about their opiate effects, but there is no controversy that they’re dangerous to your pup.