While sharing your food with your pup may seem like a good idea, many human foods are dangerous for your dog to consume. Before you split your poppy seed muffin with your dog, it’s important to know if poppy seeds are safe for your dog to eat.
Poppy seeds are harvested from the poppy plant, a unique red flower with over 70 different varieties. The kind of poppy seeds we eat come from the opium poppy plant, the same plant used to create opioids.
They can be consumed in many ways: eaten whole, sprinkled into baked goods, ground into meal, or even pressed into oil. While all these ways are safe for humans to eat, the same isn’t true for our furry friends.
Read on to learn whether poppy seeds are safe for dogs and other common questions you may have.
Are Poppy Seeds Safe for Dogs?
While you may think small amounts are harmless, poppy seeds can be toxic to your dog. Even though they may be prescribed hydrocodone (for kennel cough or as a sedative), which falls in the opioid class, these seeds still pose a risk.
Since these seeds are harvested from the opium poppy plant, they contain low levels of alkaloids, including codeine and morphine. Depending on how they’re harvested, each gram of poppy seeds can contain anywhere from 0.5 to 10 micrograms of morphine
Even trace amounts of these opioids can affect your dog, and too much can lead to poppy poisoning. Avoid feeding your dog poppy seeds if possible.
Facts About Poppy Seeds
Poppy seeds are small, black seeds that have been collected for Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food for thousands of years.
The world’s largest producer of poppy seeds is the Czech Republic, with Spain and Turkey falling shortly behind.
On Veteran’s Day, fallen soldiers are honored with red poppy flowers.
For humans, poppy seeds are a great source of protein and fiber, and they also contain many vitamins and minerals like calcium and magnesium.
To make a pound, you would need close to 1 million poppy seeds!
Poppy Poisoning: What to Watch For
Depending on the size, age, and breed of your dog, as well as how many poppy seeds your dog has eaten, their symptoms may vary. Your dog may recover quickly, or they may have symptoms for weeks at a time.
The smaller your dog, the fewer the poppy seeds they’ll need to eat before poison symptoms kick in. In general, here are the most common signs of opioid poisoning in dogs:
- Pinpoint pupils
- Walking “drunk”
- Decreased respiratory rate
- Lack of appetite
- Respiratory depression
If, at any time, your dog appears to have difficulty breathing, changes in their behavior, or any other signs of poppy poisoning, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Help, My Dog Ate a Poppy Seed Muffin and Bread!
If your dog scarfed down a poppy seed muffin (bread, bagel, etc.), their symptoms and your next course of action will depend on their size, age, breed, and current health condition. For most dogs, you’ll want to monitor their behavior for the next 24-48 hours, watching for any sign of poisoning. Also, most dogs will not have any symptoms and will be completely fine.
While you monitor your dog, and if symptoms start to show, call your vet. They will have a better understanding of your dog’s medical history, and they’ll be able to walk you through next steps and tell you whether your dog is in urgent need of medical assistance or if you’re okay to just keep a watch on them.
Do not try to treat symptoms of opioid poisoning at home. If your dog is showing signs of poppy poisoning, take them to the vet immediately.
Depending on their symptoms, your vet may use activated charcoal to remove the toxins from your dog’s bloodstream or induce vomiting.
They may also put your dog on oxygen to help stabilize their breathing. In most cases, if you get veterinary care as soon as possible, your dog will make a full recovery in a few days.
Common FAQs About Poppy Seeds and Canines
Because poppy seeds contain trace amounts of codeine and morphine, eating them can sometimes result in sedation or excitement in your dog that can resemble a high.
More than that, though, poppy seeds can poison your dog, leaving them with breathing difficulty and damage to your dog’s central nervous system.
Giving your dog any form of poppy seeds, whether they’re on an everything bagel or a poppy seed muffin, is not recommended. Not only can the poppy seeds affect your dog, but bagels themselves can cause adverse reactions as well.
Poppy seed bagels can contain too much salt for your dog’s body to handle, leading to sodium poisoning (same as with Play Doh and olives). The gluten and carbohydrates inside bagels can also lead to bloating, digestive issues, and weight gain if eaten too often.
It’s best to avoid poppy seed bagels, if possible.
All species of poppy flowers and all parts of the flower are toxic to dogs, not just the seeds. The entire plant contains alkaloids, and other parts of the flower have an even higher concentration of opiates than the seeds.
If your dog eats a poppy flower, they can experience symptoms of opioid poisoning, including sedation, hyperactivity, ineffective breathing, seizures, and—in severe cases—coma or death.
Keep poppy flowers of any form out of reach of your dog and call your vet immediately if any are ingested. The smaller your dog, the more at-risk they are of poisoning.
Can Dogs Have Poppy Seeds? Are They Safe?
Keep poppy seeds and poppies (the flowers) of any form out of reach of your dog. Poppy seeds contain trace amounts of codeine and morphine, opiates that can lead to dangerous symptoms in your dog and even small amounts can lead to poppy poisoning.
If your dog has ingested poppy seeds, contact your vet right away and monitor your dog for symptoms of sedation, difficulty breathing, or seizures. The sooner you can treat the poisoning symptoms, the easier and faster your dog’s recovery will be.
For whatever reason, if your pooch gets a hold of a muffin or bread that contains poppy seeds, they will most likely be fine. However, you will want to look out for poppy poisoning just in case.