Dogs are highly susceptible to poisoning throughout the seasons. One of the worst times of year for dogs is now Autumn, and one of the worst causes for poisoning are the things that have blessed many of us with happy childhood memories: conkers.
As a Finchley-based dog walker, I’ve heard a few not-so-pleasant stories about dogs and conkers, but the good news is that severe cases of poisonings that lead to fatalities are very rare. However, conkers can cause a dog to become very unwell with ailments such as vomiting, diarrhoea, retching, abdominal pain and excessive drooling.
It’s not just the toxins within the conkers that pose a risk, but also the actual conkers and their cases which can cause intestinal blockages – extreme pain and, potentially, huge veterinarian bills.
The main risk is if you haven’t detected your dog eating or chewing a conker – and even a single one can cause problems. Your dog may appear fine during and after the walk, but over the course of the following couple of days, the signs of illness will come out in the form of gastrointestinal signs. Once a dog becomes dehydrated, linked often to diarrhoea and vomiting, its health can decline at a rapid rate. If you leave a dog thinking nothing much of it for a few days, their throats will become extremely sore, putting them off eating. Without food or water, you could face huge problems.
Reduce the Risk
When out walking with your dog, deter them from sniffing or eating ANYTHING they find on the floor. There have been too many cases of unscrupulous people purposely trying to injure dogs through food traps for you to not be extra vigilant. Often conkers can be bought into the home by children or because they are quite beautiful seasonal ornaments. If you do this, then make sure that your dog is always supervised around the conkers and that they are out of his reach.
If You Suspect Your Dog has Eaten a Conker
- First rule: Don’t Panic! There are very few cases of fatal outcomes, also very few poisons act rapidly – meaning you have time to act:
- You should contact your vet for immediate advice, especially if your dog is acting unwell.
- Wash your dogs’ paws and mouth to eliminate any residue
- Monitor your dog closely and ensure that they are drinking and eating
If your dog becomes sick and lasts for more than 24 hours, then take them to your local veterinary surgery or call Vetfone, which will provide an anti-sickness injection to prevent dehydration.