Have you heard that urban legend about people getting fired from their job and/or arrested because they tested positive on their drug 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 a similar effect on your dog?
Poppy Seeds Are Toxic for Dogs?
Poppy Seeds are very toxic to dogs. Even though dogs have to eat a lot of poppy seeds for any effects of opioid poisoning, as Smart Dog Owners, you should always avoid giving your dog any quantity.
Dogs are sensitive to a lot of foods, and poppy seeds toxic for dogs no matter what is the size or age of your dog. In fact, there is a long list of healthy dog treats that are wholesome and good for pets, including watermelon, apples, bananas, kiwis, blueberries, pineapples, and salmon.
Poppy Seeds Contain Alkaloids
Alkaloids are severely damaging to your dog’s central nervous system, yet another reason why poppy seeds are toxic for dogs to have. It is best not to have poppy plants around the house, as the whole poppy plant poses a threat to your dog and not just the seeds.
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.
What is Poppy Poisoning?
In the famous movie “The Wizard of Oz,” we can see the effect of red poppies on Dorothy as she falls asleep. The reality is not very different for poppy seeds; ingesting them can mean depression, sedation, coma, and even death. Your dog will gulp down whatever he finds on the floor.
For more information on these nasty poisons keep reading or scroll down.
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 are just one of the sources dogs can ingest opioids.
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. Find out how to protect your dog if he eats rat poison here.
Symptoms of Poppy Poisoning in Dogs
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.
CAN DOGS EAT POPPY SEEDS? WHAT IS POPPY POISONING?
Our dogs are not picky eaters, which is why, unlike cats, they don’t shy away from food items that might not be good for them.
For this reason, as pet owners, we need to be extra careful with what items we have displayed on the shelves and what items we will keep inside the cabinets. I can guarantee you that poppy seeds are one food item that must be kept away from your dogs.
Poppy seeds are commonly found in baked goods like muffins, bread, and sometimes even pizza dough because it somehow enhances the flavor of all these food items, but these wild seeds come from the poppy flowers, which are pretty known for their high concentration in opioids.
Funnily enough, some people received a positive opioid drug test. Even though they had not consumed opioids once in their life, searching for their food history found that they had consumed poppy seeds before their test results.
However, not all poppy seeds are the same and contain different levels of opioid concentration. In fact, some poppy seeds are even poisonous to humans, so we now ask ourselves, are they good for dogs, and can they eat them without experiencing any issues?
CAN DOGS EAT POPPY SEEDS?
If you want the short answer, then no. Poppy seeds are not suitable for dogs, but there’s more to this issue, which is why we recommend reading the full article!
ARE POPPY SEEDS GOOD FOR DOGS?
Let’s start with a childhood story we’ve all probably heard of—Wizard of Oz. If you remember, the wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz put a powerful spell on a bunch of red flowers so that Dorothy could fall asleep.
So that she could steal her sister’s magic ruby slippers that Dorothy had been wearing. Those red flowers were actually poppy flowers.
Let me point out that even though the story was exaggerated, it is also true that poppy flowers and poppy seeds were used in ancient times to induce sleep and even given as a form of relaxant.
The reason is that poppy seeds within the flower are full of opiates, which is why it was used as a relaxant, but that doesn’t mean that it is good to consume daily, even for humans.
Since poppy seeds contain high opiates, it’s not just bad for humans, but it’s beyond dangerous for your precious puppy because, upon consuming it, you might witness your dog either becoming completely still, fainting or becoming overly active.
In this instance, you can assume that the opioids within the poppy seeds have done their work and might cause more issues for your precious pup.
Poppy seeds are known to cause poppy poisoning in dogs which can even cause higher health risks like slowed heart rate or, in a worst-case scenario, death.
WHAT IS POPPY POISONING?
Many humans consume poppy seeds by adding them to their baked goods like lemon muffins, bread and if you’ve eaten pure Italian pizza, then you’ll find some poppy seeds sprinkled on that too; however, poppy seeds aren’t dangerous for our health since our bodies are larger as opposed to dogs.
On the other hand, dogs have smaller bodies with smaller stomachs, so if they consume poppy seeds in large quantities, it is bound to cause poppy poisoning in them.
The most common symptom of poppy seed poisoning in dogs is that they will have a slowed heart rate, or some might become overly active, which isn’t good.
Suppose your dog is a curious fellow, and you’ve found it munching on some poppy flowers in your garden or even poppy seeds. In that case, we advise you to take the dog to your nearest veterinarian immediately.
WHAT’S WORSE? POPPY SEEDS OR POPPY FLOWERS?
Many people debate that poppy seeds are still consumable, but the poppy flower is not. We are here to restate all the debates and tell you the difference between the two.
Poppy seeds are found in the head of the poppy flowers, and since they are situated in the poppy seed head, it means that consuming the head in one bite is bound to cause poppy poisoning in your dog; however, keep it in mind that small quantities of poppy seeds are not highly dangerous.
For example, if your dog has taken a bite of the lemon muffin, which contains poppy seeds, then you might not witness any symptoms in your dog, but if it eats the entire head of the poppy flower, then it is bound to harm your harm.
In short, poppy seeds are not as dangerous as poppy flowers because the entire flower runs with poison, while seeds have a lower concentration of opiates.
Do keep in mind that although small quantities of poppy seeds are not as dangerous, it really depends on your dog’s size as well; for example, some dogs with tiny tummies like a corgi might experience severe symptoms even on eating a small piece of muffin filled with poppy seeds as opposed to a German Shepherd.
To summarize, both poppy seeds and poppy flowers are poisonous for dogs, but the flower has a higher concentration of poison, so even taking a small bite of the flower can cause heavy sedation in your dog, so it’s best to avoid any form of poppy flowers or seeds in your home.
SYMPTOMS OF POPPY POISONING IN YOUR PUP
The poppy seed essentially contains alkaloids like morphine and codeine, which is why these types of seeds and flowers are considered toxic for your dog, and even though the poppy seeds are not as poisonous as the flower itself.
They can lead to opiate poisoning in your dog if seeds are consumed in large quantities, so it’s best to avoid them.
Some dogs are curious by nature, so there’s a high probability that they’ve gotten their hands on a pack of poppy seeds that you had safely hidden away, or maybe they ate the whole bread filled with poppy seeds while you left them unattended.
But regardless eating high quantities of poppy seeds can cause poppy poisoning, so here are a few symptoms to keep a look out for:
If you witness your dog experiencing any of these symptoms, we advise calling a VET as soon as possible and taking your dog to them because they might need to induce vomiting for your dog to get rid of any poppy poisoning.
Note: Remember that even though there are many different types of poppy flowers and poppy seeds, almost all of them are dangerous and poisonous to your dog, so we recommend not keeping any poppy seeds nearby if you have a dog in your house.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR DOG CONSUMES POPPY SEEDS?
While this situation may be highly devastating but just remember that you and your little pup can get through this, and in almost no time, your dog will be back to its usual self and eating all the foods that it loves (especially those homemade treats you made).
If you find your dog has consumed poppy seeds or flowers, immediately contact the VET and take the dog to the emergency unit.
Before doing so, we recommend throwing away any poppy seeds and washing the mouth of your dog so that it doesn’t ingest more poppy seed particles stuck between the teeth.
Give your dog some water and immediately take your puppy to the vet. Don’t fret about the recovery because once your dog is in the safe hands of the VET, your dog will recover in no time.
But remember to be patient because if the quantity consumed is large, then the recovery period might be longer. If the amount consumed was less, then the recovery would be quick, so just don’t worry.
TREATMENT ADMINISTERED BY THE VET
Many people are confused by what exactly the VET might do, so we have created a list of procedures that might be performed on your dog to remove any poppy poisoning or stop it from spreading into the bloodstream. These are the things you should expect might happen:
- The VET, first of all, might induce vomiting to remove any poppy pieces from the dog’s stomach, and they might even give activated charcoal to remove the toxins from spreading into the blood.
- The VET might start intravenous fluids to remove those harmful toxins and help in the recovery of your dog.
- If your dog happens to be feeling symptoms like difficulty in breathing, then in this scenario, the VET might start oxygen, but if the breathing is worse, then the VET might even have to administer oxygen through intubation until the breathing of your dog stabilizes.
- If your dog has a slowed heart rate, they might attach units to monitor the heart rate and give medication and IV fluids accordingly.
- Your vet will almost immediately run some tests to check the exact level of toxicity and start with medications accordingly.
We know how daunting this experience can be, but don’t worry; your precious dog will get through this and will be free from poppy poisoning, so don’t worry.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Many pet owners ask specific questions regarding certain food items, so we have listed down all the food items containing poppy seeds that are not recommended and their reason for not being good.
Can dogs eat bread containing poppy seeds?
Generally, poppy seeds are something that needs to be kept far away from your dog, and while small amounts might not trigger adverse health issues, they still aren’t good for your dog, so why even feed them something that isn’t good for them?
Poppy seed bread is not as harmful as causing sedation, but it might trigger an upset stomach, and if in case your dog has a sensitive stomach, then it might even cause diarrhea, so it’s best to steer clear of it.
Can dogs have poppy seed dressing?
Many pet parents like their dogs to eat tasty food, which is why sometimes we think about adding that delicious American garden sauce, but before you do, it’s best to check the ingredients to see if there are any poppy seeds within the dressing.
If the sauce contains poppy seeds, then do not give your dog that dressing because it might cause a toxic reaction in their stomach.
Furthermore, dressings are not recommended when it comes to dogs because they contain other harmful chemicals that might cause an upset stomach.
Can dogs have muffins containing poppy seeds?
One small muffin might not affect your dog but remember this depends on the breed and size of your dog as well. If your dog is small, like a pug, then even consuming one muffin might lead to an upset stomach, while for a large dog, this might not be the case.
Regardless, consuming one too many cupcakes can lead to poppy poisoning, so it’s best not to feed your dogs any muffins containing poppy seeds. A better alternative for treats would be giving them peanut butter, or maybe pumpkin puree treats.
Another issue with consuming cupcakes is that they contain high amounts of sugar, so if your dog is suffering from obesity or diabetes (since it is now quite common in dogs), then don’t feed them any more carbs and instead go for other food items.
Can dogs eat lemon muffins or almond muffins with poppy seeds?
The artificial lemon flavors used in muffins are not as bad for dogs, but if you’ve used pure lemon, then lemon paired with poppy seeds is like a walking crime, so don’t do that to your dog because it will indeed cause sedation and might even increase the heart rate of your dog causing them to faint.
Almond muffins are also as dangerous, but it depends in your dog has any nut allergies. Nut allergies are quite common in dogs, in addition to obesity and diabetes, so we recommend staying away from almond muffins as well that include poppy seeds.
We hope you found this article helpful and understand the dangers of feeding poppy seeds to your precious little pup. There are better alternatives to give them as treats, but if in case your dog does consume any poppy seeds or flowers accidentally, then it’s best to take them to the VET instantly.