Can Dogs Eat Poppy Seeds? (SAFETY Warning)

Dogs eat everything. But can they eat poppy seeds? Are pippy seeds toxic?

As a dog expert, I get asked all kinds of “can dogs eat” questions about dogs. You are not alone in wondering!

But your quick answer is – no dogs cannot eat poppy seeds. They are considered toxic and should form NO part of your dog’s diet.

Why Poppy Seeds are NOT Good For Dogs

Starting with the basics, what are poppy seeds? In simple terms, these are oil-rich seeds obtained from Papaver somniferum, popularly known as the poppy plant, and you can almost mistake them for mini kidneys.

can dogs eat poppy seeds
Can dogs eat poppy seeds? (SAFETY)

Poppy seeds, small as they are, are very valuable. Poppy seeds are employed in the food trade for cakes, pastries, and more. They have also added value to the production of paints and soaps.

Additionally, poppy seeds have stood out to be of great help for medical purposes and research. They have been proven to aid in stimulating proper digestion. They are known to enhance the skin cells and hair follicles and are great for curing headaches, coughs, and asthma, and are good pain relievers. 

In addition, poppy seeds are also used as an ornament that represents a symbol of remembrance for fallen men during wars. As useful as the poppy plants and seeds may seem, one would think they should have a negative side, but they do, especially when it comes to dogs.

With all these benefits in mind, you may be wondering, how then can this plant cost a person their career or means of living? Why is it a potential threat to your sweet four-legged friend’s life? Let’s find out.

Can I Feed My Dog Poppy Seeds?

You shouldn’t. Because poppy seeds are very toxic to dogs. The presence of opiates in the seed has the potential to hurt humans (if not appropriately handled or consumed in safe quantities) and is more hazardous to dogs.

The opiates contained in these seeds are poisonous to dogs, and the level of opiates in each seed differs with the species of the plant.

Beagle being fed by owner
A woman feeding a Beagle.

How Harmful Are Poppy Seeds to Dogs?

Before you get too worried, here’s what you need to know, large dogs have to consume large amounts of poppy seed before they can be affected by the opiates in them or be poisoned by them.

However, for smaller dogs or puppies, you need to pay more attention to them because they have smaller bodies. It takes just a little amount of poppy seeds to cause serious problems for them.

Nevertheless, under no circumstances should you let your pooch have poppy seeds, even in the slightest quantity, because they can cause lethal reactions, especially for puppies or small dogs like Chihuahuas.

sick dog sleeping
A sick dog sleeping on a pillow.

Why Are Poppy Seeds So Bad For a Dog’s Health?

The alkaloids (opiates) contained in these seeds are the main components of morphine and codeine.

These compounds can seriously affect your dog’s nervous system and damage your dog’s brain function. They also cause poppy poisoning in dogs and have the potential to kill them.

Chihuahua feeling sick in the car
Chihuahua is not feeling well inside the car. Heading to the vet clinic!

Is My Dog Able to Eat Poppy Seed Plants?

Dogs are not often fussy about food. It is not uncommon for them to find these beautiful plants attractive and keen to taste some. However, they must not be allowed to eat them.

Poppy plants are poisonous to dogs too, and let’s be honest, which dog would ever just go for the plant’s body and not eat the seed head or seed pod?

The seed head or seed pod encloses all the seeds for the poppy plant, which means a high quantity of opium, your dog eating this could be disastrous. So if you have some in your yard, you’ll want to set up fences to keep your dog away from them, or better yet, clear them from your surroundings.

fresh poppy seed plants
Poppy seed plants located in Poland. Are they safe for dogs to eat?

Can I Feed My Dog Poppy Seed Bread?

No, you shouldn’t. A small piece or slice of poppy seed bread may not contain the number of seeds sufficient to harm your dog. However, it can upset your dog’s tummy, and there are more reasons why feeding it to your dog isn’t a good idea.

In case you haven’t noticed, bread made from the seeds becomes sweeter, meaning it contains more sugar. Dogs shouldn’t consume this in excess as it can cause obesity, diabetes, dental problems, metabolic changes, pancreatitis, and heart disease. Generally, dogs should be kept away from baked foods because sugar and carbs can cause health problems.

poppy seed bread
Is it safe for dogs to eat poppy seed bread?

Can Dogs Eat Poppy Seed Dressing?

No, you should never let your dog have poppy seed dressing. Although the dressing may not contain enough poppy seeds to cause poppy poisoning, ingesting small amounts can still upset your dog’s stomach.

Furthermore, there are other ingredients like ground mustard, sugar, white wine vinegar, and onion salt in the dressing that aren’t healthy for your dog. Dogs shouldn’t be fed any kind of salad dressing or sauce. They contain carbs and too much sugar for your dog’s health.

dog eats dressing
Poppy seed dressing can be harmful to dogs.

Can My Dog Have Everything Bagel?

A striking “No!.” Bagels are topped with things like poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dried garlic, dried onion, salt, and cracked pepper and they aren’t healthy for dogs. The bagel itself is high in carbs, which is not what your dog needs in its diet.

There are endless lists of healthy snacks/food you can feed your pooch, examples include: apple, watermelon, bananas, kiwis, salmon, blueberries, pineapple, and so on.

homemade bagel
Do not give poppy seed bagel to your dogs!

How Do I Know My Dog Has Eaten Poppy Seeds?

If you’re worried that your four-legged friend may have made a snack out of the poppy plants in your garden or that poppy seed bread or bagel you left on your center table, here are some symptoms to watch out for:

  • Inappetence (poor eating pattern, or no desire for food)
  • Odd-looking eyes or staring into a void
  • Trembling
  • Clumsiness
  • Lack of coordination, also known as ataxia
  • Weakness
  • Breathing problems or collapse of your dog’s respiratory system
  • Unusual calmness
  • Unconsciousness
  • Indifference
  • Reduced heart rate

Poppy seeds can also cause death. These symptoms may not appear instantly after your dog eats poppy seeds.

Opioid symptoms in different dogs can differ largely. However, it only requires a small quantity for dogs to show symptoms ranging from temporary disorientation to comas and death.

dog sleeping with tongue out
Dog Sleeping With Tongue Out (5 reasons Why)

What Do I Do If My Dog Has Ingested Poppy Seeds?

If you notice any of these symptoms, we strongly advise you to take your dog to the vet as soon as possible. Do not try to treat them yourself or leave your dog alone and hope the effects will wear off. Do not try to make your dog vomit on your own, especially if your dog has ingested it for over an hour. 

When you get to the clinic, the vet will be able to examine your dog both externally and internally to check out vital signs. Your vet would conduct a series of tests, like Packed Cell Volume (PCV), Complete Blood Count (CBC), ultrasound, and urinalysis, to see how the internal organs of your dog are reacting to the alkaloids.

The vet would most likely administer activated charcoal to the dog because it acts as a good absorbent and it prevents alkaloids from further poisoning the body.

The vet might also place the dog on IV fluids or induce vomiting in the dog. You can also call the Pet Poison Helpline for professional support and advice, but preferably take your dog to the vet.

Yorkie being checked up
Yorkie having check up in a vet clinic.

Will My Dog Die If It Eats Poppy Seeds?

The crucial basis that determines whether or not they will, is the amount they consume and their size and sensitivity to it.

A big pooch may not die from eating a muffin with little poppy seeds sprinkled on it. However, it could intoxicate them.

Dogs metabolize faster than humans, so the level of concentration of opiates that gets into the dog’s bloodstream is higher than that of a human.

However, if you have a small dog or puppies and they gobble up about two, three, or more of those muffins, it could be disastrous for them. Their smaller bodies mean more opium in their bloodstreams.

It can also be lethal for bigger dogs if they consume huge quantities of poppy seeds, for example, a bag of poppy seeds you probably had plans to bake with.

The predominant cause of poppy poisoning in dogs is consuming the seeds from food products. Ingestion of a single poppy seed doesn’t often pose a severe risk to dogs, though it can make them sick, so you should still observe them closely. So yes, your dog may or may not die from consuming poppy seeds.

To be on the safe side, don’t let your dog eat poppy seeds.

Goldendoodle carried by her owner
Behaved Goldendoodle carried by her owner.


As harmless as these attractive little plants may seem, do your best to keep them away from your dog. The ASPCA and the Pet Poison Helpline have made it clear that there are no safe amounts when it comes to feeding poppy seeds to your dog. 

If you have poppy plants in your yard, fence them in. Although you shouldn’t plant them. If you have poppy seed food in your house, keep it from your dog’s reach. 

Don’t take chances; find better and tastier treats for your four-legged pal. Keep a watchful eye on them when you take them for a walk in the park, especially if it’s a place where you know poppy plants are grown.

You don’t want your four-legged pal to fall victim to opium poisoning, right? It’s just as severe and deadly as any other poisoning for dogs.