Effects of Buckeye Nuts on Dogs

by Elizabeth Muirhead
    Buckeyes are toxic to dogs, causing signs ranging from vomiting to seizures.

    Buckeyes are toxic to dogs, causing signs ranging from vomiting to seizures.

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    Buckeyes -- also known as horse chestnuts -- are highly toxic to dogs. All parts of Aesculus glabra, called the American buckeye tree, the Ohio buckeye, horse chesnut tree, fetid and stinking buckeye, are toxic due to chemicals in the tree’s nuts, leaves and bark. The nuts can also pose a choking hazard to dogs.

    Buckeyes contain several toxic chemicals, including aesculin and aescin, a glycoside and a saponin, as well as alkaloids. These chemicals can produce a multitude of different signs in your pooch. Gastrointestinal signs are common and include vomiting, diarrhea or drooling. It typically takes a sizable ingestion of buckeyes or buckeye plant parts to cause neurological signs, but they may develop and include depression, twitching, seizures or coma. You may also notice dilated pupils in your pup.

    If your dog shows any signs or if you suspect he ate parts of the buckeye tree in your yard, contact your veterinarian immediately. She may induce vomiting in your canine to remove the toxic components. She may also give a medication -- activated charcoal -- to prevent his intestines from absorbing the toxic compounds.

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    About the Author

    Elizabeth Muirhead is a practicing veterinarian with an undergraduate degree in biological sciences. She has real-world experience with the husbandry, grooming, training and feeding a variety of household pets.

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