Our four-legged friends have a lot of strange habits, but one of the oddest things that continue to baffle dog owners is an obsession with pine cones.Pine cones are an organ of the pine tree that have a woody cone shape with bracts arranged in rows.
Dogs are attracted to pine cones because of the terpenes oils they release which smells good. Pine cones are not safe for a dog to eat or chew, since it’s bad for your dog’s stomach and can lead to internal bleeding and intestinal blockage.
Pine cones, as exciting as they may be for your dog, aren’t a good chew toy or tasty treat. The rest of this article I will discuss why dogs will eat pine cones and the dangers of pine cones when consume.
Why Do Dogs Like Pine Cones?
There are various reasons why your dog like and obsessed with pine cones. Here are three reasons why:
1. Attractive – Dogs are attracted to just about anything they can fit in their mouth, and for quite a simple reason: their mouth is their primary way of gathering information about the world. From an early age, dogs learn that putting objects in their mouth tells them a great deal about the object.
2. Appearance – Similarly, chewing is a way that dogs can stimulate their minds and destress. Pine cones are the perfect storm when it comes to an appealing object to chew due to their size, smell, and taste.
3. Scent – Pine cones are a perfect size for dogs to chew, and the attractive by the scent of the pine sap or the pine oil on the pine cone makes a dog want to carry the pine cone close to their nose so that they can smell it. If that wasn’t enough, pine cones are delightful shaped and crunch and make a great toy to them, making them the complete package for doggy delight.
Are Pine Cones Bad for Dogs?
The short answer is Yes! Pine cones are bad for dogs to eat and aren’t safe for them to chew either. Ingesting pine cones can cause damage to the stomach lining, and the sap can cause vomiting or a loss of appetite. Similarly, the sharp edges on the pine cones can cause swelling in the throat, and trying to ingest a pinecone can cause choking.
Dogs aren’t able to discern what is and isn’t safe for them, which is why you need to stop your dog whenever they are chewing pine cones. Here are some hazards of pine cones to keep in mind.
Hazardous sharp points
Are Pine Cones Toxic to Dogs?
Pine cones are not toxic to dogs, but they are very difficult to digest, increasing the risk of intestinal blockage. A dog will eat a whole pine cone without a thought, and those sharp edges on the bracts pose serious problems to your pup’s stomach. Be on the lookout for these symptoms to know whether you need to take your dog to the vet:
Loss of appetite
Inflammation of the throat
Are Pine Trees Toxic to Dogs?
Pine trees can be toxic to dogs due to a component in them called andromedotoxin, which stimulates the heart and increases the heart rate of a dog who ingests them. While most dogs are ok after eating a small amount of pine needles, the same amount is highly toxic to cats.
Even though the needles aren’t necessarily going to poison your dog when ingested in small amounts, it’s still not advisable to let your furry friends eat them or chew on them since they can cause gastrointestinal issues and internal blockages because of their sharp spines.
Are Pine Cones Poisonous to Dogs?
Pine cones are thankfully not poisonous for dogs if they are ingested, but it’s the sap that’s often a concern in this event. The sap isn’t something a dog should be eating and can cause the dog to vomit. If your dog starts vomiting, immediately seek medical help – take your dog to the vet right away.
Are Pine Trees Poisonous to Dogs?
Pine needles from conifer trees are not poisonous to dogs, but it’s still ill-advised to let your dog chew on pine needles. These needles don’t contain anything poisonous, but they are sharp which can cause discomfort in your dog’s throat, digestive tract and gastrointestinal irritation.
It’s also worth noting for both pine cones and pine trees that there is a risk of chemical fertilizer having been used on them.
This can be poisonous to your dog and is yet another reason why you shouldn’t let your dog chew pine cones or pine needles.
What to Do If Your Dog Eats a Pine Cone?
If you notice that your dog is chewing or eating pine cones, the best thing to do is call away their attention with a treat or something else of higher value to distract them. That will help you reduce the risk of your dog experiencing serious health problems from indigestion or choking on the pine cone.
The severity of the situation often depends on how much of a pine cone your dog has eaten. If they’ve tried to scarf down the whole thing in a single bite, then you should take your dog straight to the vet. Pine cones are very sharp. If your dog has ingested a lot of pine cones, taking your dog to the vet is the best way to care for any health issues.
If your dog swallows and chewed a little bit of the bracts on a pine cone, it can cause bowel obstruction. It is a good idea to monitor your dog closely. If your dog hasn’t pooped within 24 hours it’s wise to go to the vet to pre-empt any intestinal blockages.
Ways to Keep Your Dog from Pine Cones
If you’re in your backyard, it’s advisable to take some time to clear out any pine cones before letting your dog out.
On walks, always keep your dog on a leash and be aware of your walking paths. Remember, dogs don’t have any impulse control when it comes to picking up new things. Having golden retrievers I have to be extra careful as they are known to pick up “things” and enjoy carrying them throughout the walk.
A reminder to all dog parents : it’s your responsibility to be on the lookout for hazardous objects and avoid them simply by walking away from them. Next time on your walk, bring your dog’s favorite toy like a tennis ball or any rubber ball to distract his attention.
Pine Cones Safer Alternatives – Fun Toys (Chew Toys)
Of course, if you’re walking through a wooded area with lots of pine cones on the ground, then avoiding the temptation is going to be much more prevalent. In this case, you should prioritize teaching your dog the “leave it” command and rewarding them with a more valuable treat than the pine cone itself.
Dogs and Pine Cones
Pine cones are an extremely attractive and fun object to a dog, but unfortunately, they’re not safe for them to eat. Even just chewing a pine cone can cause irritation in your dog’s mouth and upset stomach. The worst-case scenario is when your dog eats an entire pine cone. In this case, the best option is to take your dog to the vet immediately to make sure your dog doesn’t suffer any adverse effects from eating a pine cone.