Can Dogs Eat Poppy Seeds? Here’s What Experts Want You to Know

Certain “human foods”, such as chocolate and macadamia nuts, are toxic to dogs. But others can be quite tricky to determine. One thing is certain; your dog will nibble on anything when hungry. If you’re wondering, can a little treat of poppy seed muffin hurt your dog? Should you be worried when your dog devours a big poppy seed bagel? Do you call the vet or let your pup sleep it off?

Read on to find out if poppy seeds are safe for your dog, the symptoms showing harm, and what to do if you suspect poppy poisoning.

Did You Know?

Poppy seeds are tiny kidney-shaped seeds of the opium poppy plant with the scientific name Papaver Sominferum L., and Afghanistan is the largest cultivator.

Consuming poppy seeds before a drug test can give a false positive because of opium alkaloids which are also present in the illegal drug opium.

Eating or holding poppy seeds in countries like Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, and Singapore will result in arrest or punishment because they contain opiates.

Poppy seeds are rich sources of B-complex vitamins, dietary fiber, and minerals such as copper, magnesium, calcium, zinc, potassium, iron, and manganese.

Dry poppy seeds contain minimal levels of opium alkaloids such as thebaine, morphine, papaverine, and codeine which are beneficial to the human nervous system.

Poppies come in many colors, from red to yellow, white, pink, salmon, and lilac.

Poppy plants symbolize both sleep and death. According to Roman and Greek ancient mythology, tombstones were decorated with poppies to symbolize eternal sleep. Moreover, they symbolize the blood of World War 1 fallen soldiers.

Are Poppy Seeds Bad for Pups?

The poppy plant contains alkaloids: Codeine, Thebaine, and Morphine. Although these opiates have medicinal value, they are detrimental to the central nervous system if ingested in excess.

If ingested “unwashed” by pups, the seeds can cause intoxication, sedation, coma, and even death.

Poppy seeds contain tiny amounts of these alkaloids, but we still don’t recommend you feed them to your dog. Dogs should not consume poppy seeds because even tiny amounts can be fatal. If you suspect your dog ingested some poppies or witnessed your dog chewing the flowers, you need to alert a vet. However, you can observe your dog for the next 24 – 48 hours to see if there’s any adverse reaction.

Different dog breeds have varying sensitivities to foods. You might find one pup not affected while another has a severe reaction to the smallest quantity of poppy seeds.

If you’re growing poppies in your yard, we suggest you put up a fence to prevent your furry pal from snacking on the flowers and plants. The poppy flower, which also means “sleep bearing,” caused Dorothy in Wizard of Oz to pass out.

What Effect do Poppy Seeds have on Your Dog?


As we’ve mentioned already, your canine is likely to experience opioid poisoning if they ingest poppy seeds. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, here is a list of signs to look out for when your dog ingests poppy seeds:

  • Inappetence
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Ataxia
  • Coughing
  • Depression
  • Sedation
  • Watery eyes
  • Seizures
  • Diarrhea
  • Euphoria
  • Respiratory depression
  • Lethargy
  • Slow heart rate (Bradycardia)
  • High heart rate and cardiac arrest (Tachycardia)
  • Coma
  • Death

If your dog is displaying any of these symptoms, you need to rush them to the vet to reduce the risk of further health damage.

What Steps to Take if Your Doggo Eats Poppy Seeds?

If your dog chews anything containing poppy seeds (bread, bagels, muffins, etc.), it’s best to seek veterinary treatment. As much as you might be tempted to take matters into your own hands and induce vomiting, this is a bad move.

Forcing your furry pet to vomit can cause more harm than good, especially if he ate the seeds 2 to 6 hours ago. This can cause discomfort and more complications. Induced vomiting should only be done under the guidance or presence of a veterinarian.

The best approach is to immediately contact your vet so they can advise if you need to bring your pet in. The vet will administer the most effective treatment based on the number of poppy seeds your dog has eaten.

What Treatment Will Your Dog be Given for Poppy Poisoning?

The first treatment the vet will administer to your dog when you visit the clinic is to induce vomiting. This is to eliminate any remaining poppy seeds from their stomach. Alternatively, they can also give your pup activated charcoal to bind any present toxins before they are absorbed into the bloodstream.

Fluid therapy (Intravenous fluids) may also be administered and your pup may be hospitalized. If your dog has trouble breathing, your vet will administer flow-by oxygen or stash them inside an oxygen cage. And if there’s swelling and difficulty in moving, the vet may have to intubate your dog until he’s stable.

Your pup will also likely be kept in a quiet, dark place to calm down the toxic effects of ingesting poppy seeds, such as lethargy, depression, constricted pupils, and mood swings.

How Long Will Your Dog Take to Recover?

Two main factors will determine how fast your dog recovers from poppy toxicity: the number of poppy seeds eaten and the time frame before receiving veterinary care. If your dog only ate a bagel sprinkled with a small number of poppy seeds, the prognosis for a full recovery is good.

Also, if your pup ingested many poppy seeds but received immediate or timely veterinary care, the prognosis may be fair or good. But, if you didn’t take your dog to the vet and he ingested a lot of poppies, the prognosis for full recovery ranges from guarded to poor.

Once the vet confirms your Fido is in perfect health, you can take him home. However, prevention is still the best treatment, so keep your dog away from the entire poppy, including the plant, flowers, and seeds.

Wrapping up

No doubt: You know what to eat to stay healthy. You can choose a green smoothie over a bag of potato chips. And even when you find yourself elbow-deep in a bag of cheese sticks, you have a choice about what you feed your body. On the other hand, your furry friend doesn’t have a choice.

As your furry pal’s owner, you are responsible for his health and well-being. So, you must keep them from munching the wrong things. Even though poppy seeds are a healthy treat for humans, they don’t do any good for your dog. Get a top-quality chew designed for pups instead of treating your dog to a poppy seed muffin.

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