Are Acorns Poisonous? (Poison Oak)

Oak trees are beautiful, big, luscious trees that offer a lot of shade. These trees produce Acorns that can be found on the ground around the tree in fall and winter. These trees are very popular on street corners, but are the Acorns they produce dangerous to our animals and us?

Acorns are edible for humans: however, consuming a large number of Acorns without preparing them properly first can cause damage to your liver and increase your risk for certain cancers due to the tannins in the Acorns. All animals should not be allowed to consume Acorns as they are toxic to them.

Related: 7 Plants That Look Like Poison Oak

Are Acorns Poisonous To Humans?

Oak trees are lovely and luscious trees that can be found in many different parts of the world. The Acorns from these trees are the fruit that the trees produce. There are about 90 different types of oak trees native to the United States, but there are hundreds more worldwide.

Oak trees tend to lose their Acorns easily when they have fully developed. When you have an Oak tree close to your home, you will find Acorns all over your garden, quite a fair distance away from the tree itself, as these fruits are made to roll away from the tree.

When there are so many Acorns lying on the ground, this can concern people, especially parents of young children who may try to eat the Acorns. Do you need to be concerned about these fruits, or are they fine for people to consume?

Little girl gathering acorns on autumn day
Yay Little girl gathering acorns on autumn day

Acorns are edible; however, you should not eat them straight from the tree as they do need some preparation before they are edible to humans. When Acorns are consumed in large quantities without being prepared, or even with certain species of Acorns when they are prepared, they can be mildly toxic to humans.

This is due to Tannins that are present in all Acorns. Tannins are dangerous when consumed in large amounts as they block your body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Consuming tannin-rich foods in large amounts has also been linked to the development of certain cancers and liver damage.

So, it’s not a great idea to consume Acorns straight from the tree, but it will not hurt you if one is accidentally eaten.

Are Acorns Poisonous To Dogs?

With the number of Oak trees increasing around the country, some trees may start to grow around your home; this can also be somewhat troubling for dog owners.

Oak trees are also extremely common in parks around the country, so they may be planted in your local dog park. They are also common on the corners of streets as the big trees offer great shade to pedestrians.

Oak Tree Quercus
David Burke Oak Tree Quercus

Oak trees are found almost anywhere; this can worry many dog owners as many plants, trees, and fruits are poisonous to dogs. Some of these poisonous plants and trees can even be deadly to dogs if they are ingested.

All this can grow your concerns for your dog’s health when you take them to your local park or any area where dangerous plants might be growing; so, should you be concerned about your dog playing with Acorns that they find on the ground?

Acorns and dogs do not go together as Acorns are toxic to dogs if they ingest them. This is due to the tannins and possibly a few other compounds found in Acorns. If your dog eats an Acorn, you need to take them to the vet as it can cause some nasty problems for your dog to go through.

Are Acorns Poisonous To Cats?

As Oak trees are a common sight around the United States and seem to be on most neighborhoods’ corner streets, especially in local parks, this can be as worrisome for cat owners as it is for dog owners.

However, with the popularity of this tree, Acorns could be more worrying to cat owners, as they have no control over where their cats go, what they do, and what they try to eat while their cats are traveling outside their homes.

some acorns on a wooden table
Yay some acorns on a wooden table

With the number of Acorn trees around your city and neighborhood, this can be highly troubling if you own cats, as many plants, trees, and fruits in the world are toxic to cats.

So, should you be anxious about your cat’s health with Acorns, or can your mind be put at ease about the Acorn trees around your home?

Cats should not eat Acorns either, due to the tannins in the Acorns. If your cat consumes a large number of Acorns, this can cause long-term effects on your cat’s health.

If your cat eats only one or two Acorns, you should still take them to the vet as they can cause other problems in the cat’s digestive system that will need to be treated by a vet.

Are Acorns Poisonous To Livestock?

Cat and dog owners in towns and cities are not the only animal owners worried about the ever-increasing numbers of Acorn trees growing everywhere, even in open fields.

People who own livestock, including animals like chickens, cows, horses, sheep, and goats, are just as anxious for the health of their livestock when it comes to the growing number of Oak trees.

Yay Acorns

Acorns are also poisonous to livestock animals, and so are the leaves and bark of the tree. Acorns are highly toxic to horses and cattle in particular. All parts of the Acorn plant are toxic to these animals, but it will take many Acorns to be ingested for them to develop any negative side effects.

So, if you own livestock, you need to ensure that the Acorns that have fallen off the tree are cleaned up before letting your animals into that field.

What Are The Indications Of Acorn Poisoning In Animals?

If your pet ingests Acorns or any other part of the tree in excess, they may develop a few symptoms you should look out for. If your pet shows these symptoms, you need to get your pet to a vet as soon as possible.

Here are the symptoms of Acorn poisoning in animals:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Intestinal blockage
  • Intestinal lacerations due to the sharp shell of the Acorn

One long-term side effect that your animals may face after consuming Acorns is liver damage, which can require life-long medication and treatment.