Half Mag / Half Zine

Dog owners are being warned against allowing their pets to sniff under trees as their fallen seeds could kill their dogs. The Kennel Club has issued a warning about conkers – the shiny, round, red-brown seeds – commonly seen in parks, gardens and along the side of streets in the UK.

They explained how the seeds contain a toxin called aesculin, which can cause a dog to be sick or may upset their stomach. A statement reads: “If enough is eaten it can also produce more serious effects, and in rare cases can be deadly.”

As a conker’s toxicity will vary from tree to tree and year to year, owners have been urged to contact their vet if their pet has eaten a conker – even if they’ve only eaten a small amount.

“Conkers taste quite bitter, so it’s unlikely that most dogs will eat enough to make them very ill,” the statement adds.

“Eating small amounts may give your dog an upset stomach, but larger amounts could make your dog quite unwell. Very serious effects can occur, but they are rare.

“How your dog is affected by this toxin will also depend on their size, how much they’ve eaten, when they last ate, how much they chew up the conker and if they have any other health issues.”

Signs of poisoning include an upset stomach, being sick, dribbling, being thirsty, not wanting to eat their food, being restless, not walking in a straight line, shaking or tremors and not being able to move.

But poisoning isn’t the only risk from these seeds, as conkers are large and hard and could cause dogs to choke on them or block their stomach or gut.

Echoing this message, Alison Thomas, head of veterinary services at Blue Cross, said: “Many dog owners do not realise that these iconic symbols of autumn can make dogs very sick, in some cases even deadly.

“Encouraging your dog to play with conkers is dangerous and can lead to tragic circumstances.

“Be vigilant on walks to make sure they aren’t picking them up or playing with them.

“Keep them on a lead around conkers and acorns if you aren’t 100 per cent sure they would come back to you when called.

“Contact your vet if they appear unwell after a walk where there may have been conkers or acorns.”