Are Pinecones Bad For Dogs? (3-Minutes Read)

Most dogs are playful and they enjoy chewing things such as wood, stones, etc. Although it looks fun to them, things such as pine cones that are often seen in your yard may be harmful to your dogs.

Pinecones are bad and dangerous for dogs. It could present different health issues once it is chewed or eaten. 

The fibers of these may break off. Thus, it can be a choking hazard for pets. Its large sizes can obstruct their digestion. 

The pine saps and needles have a substance that may cause allergies and irritation to dogs. Some pinecones may be covered with pesticides or fertilizers which are poisonous to dogs. It can also scratch the eyes of your dogs.

For pet owners living in areas near pine trees, this is one of the most common problems they have encountered.

These pinecones are a product of conifer trees, which are also known as pine trees. It protects the seeds from cold weather, winds, and animals. These are cylindrical or shaped eggs which measure from small to very large.

Thus, it looks great to play, especially for dogs. Its texture and size are fun to bat around and chase. But, there’s nothing to worry about if your dog just carried and played it around.

The problem starts once they chewed or swallowed it. Here are some of the problems that may arise if your dogs swallowed pinecones and how to stop them from doing so.

Are Pine Cones Toxic To Dogs?

These pine cones alone are not toxic to dogs. But the sap and needles attached to the cone make it poisonous for dogs and even cats.

Moreover, eating or chewing it also carries a great problem for your pets.

Chewing or swallowing these pine cones can lead to intestinal blockage, vomiting, and depression. It causes internal blockage because of its size, and they are hard. 

Thus, it makes it difficult for dogs to digest it.

It can lead to surgery in order to get rid of the pine cone from your pet’s stomach. Its sharp points may puncture your dog’s intestine. This makes your dog feel sick, which will lead to vomiting or even diarrhea due to its size and texture.

Also, the pine trees and needles produce oil. These oils are toxins for a canine. It can be an allergen to dogs, which can cause them irritation. 

Though it is not fatal, it may still upset your dog’s stomach.

Symptoms Of Pine Cone Poisoning

Your pet may have experienced the following symptoms once they have ingested a pinecone. The symptoms may manifest immediately or a few hours after the incident. These include the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Drooling
  • Excessive thirst or urination
  • Mild Gastrointestinal Distress
  • Skin Reaction
  • Reddened or Itchy Skin

If there’s an allergic reaction, symptoms that might be observed include – difficulty breathing, throat swelling, coughing, and trouble walking.

What Do I Do If My Dog Ate Pine Cone?

Sometimes, as pet owners, your adrenaline rush can get things complicated. If you have suspected that your dog has eaten a pine cone, don’t rush off in forcing your dogs’ stomach to get rid of that thing.

Another is to make sure that water is available for your dog. But do not ever induce vomiting to your pet because it might only lead to further damage or irritation.

If symptoms of poisoning manifest, then the best thing to do is to call your veterinarian immediately.

Your veterinarian is the expert in – using a solution that will induce vomiting in your dogs, decontaminating them if there are signs of skin irritation, and using IV fluids to help your dog recover.

dog and pinecone

Why Is My Dog Obsessed With Pine Cones?

Chewing or swallowing, not edible things, sometimes starts from your dog’s younger years when they are just a puppy. Then, they can grow out of it that becomes a habit when dogs become adults.

If your dog continues to eat stuff that is not actually food, then your veterinarian may conclude that it’s pica.

Pica in dogs is a health condition that is characterized by compulsive ingestion of non-food items such as cloth, wood, paper, plastic, or stones. 

A dog that has pica may be obsessed with eating certain types of non-food material like pinecones. Worse, they may eat anything that gets into their paws. Thus, it puts dogs in danger of developing gastrointestinal blockages or poisoning.

The onset of this condition is from adolescence to adult years of dogs. This is much like pica in humans. 

If babies put anything to their mouth, you don’t consider it a disorder because normally, infants place everything in their mouth. This applies to puppies as well since they use their mouths to explore the environment.

As a pet owner, symptoms are easily spotted, especially if you are around with your dog eating non-food items. It may include the following:

  • Swallowing of non-food items
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite

This type of condition to dogs can be either due to behavioral or medical reasons. Your dogs may want to ingest non-food things due to boredom, stress, or anxiety.

In medical cases, it can be due to side effects of medication or a result of nutritional imbalances in your dogs, gastrointestinal parasites, or liver disease.

How To Stop A Dog From Eating Pine Cones?

There are various tips to stop your dogs from eating things they are not supposed to. It will train them to avoid ingesting objects like rocks, sticks, and those pine cones. The following are ways to help them stop eating pine cones:

1. Put Leash On Your Dog

Sometimes swallowing things such as pine cones happen when dogs are off-leash. Putting a leash on your dogs will help you become aware of what they are doing. Thus, you can interrupt them from eating things.

2. Get Your Dog Daily Exercise

If eating non-food items such as pine cones happen out of boredom, then you can get your dog a daily exercise like a walk or jog outside.

In addition, ensure mental stimulation, feed them with a balanced diet, and create a low-stress environment.

3. Clean Out Your Environment

If living in a place far from pine trees is impossible, then you can try to clean your environment instead. You may pick up all the sticks, logs, and as well as pine cones that you will find.

Though it’s a bit tedious to do, it’ll keep your dog away from them.

4. Reward System

You may use treats to reward your dog for their good behavior. Every time they don’t eat or chew non-food items like pinecones, you give them a treat. 

This method is effective for pets, especially dogs. This will condition their minds that in order to get treats, they have to avoid things such as pine cones.

5. Get Them A New Toy

Give your dog with interesting toys to play with or other acceptable chew items. You can rotate it by giving the toy in an interval of weeks or days and give it back to them. In that way, it’ll prevent your dog from getting used to the toy.

You can also leave their toys outside the yard. This will encourage your dog to chew the toy instead of the pine cones.


Naturally, dogs love chewing things. You can see dogs play with chew toys and the like. However, there are times that your pet may ingest stuff that they are not supposed to.

Chewing or swallowing non-food items can be dangerous. Just like ingesting pine cones can be harmful to your pet. Its size and density can be interesting or fun for them to play with.

As pet owners, you have to prevent your dogs from chewing or eating pine cones they find. If your dog just accidentally swallowed it, it will still cause a problem to them. Even if they have eaten a small piece only and they just look fine, later problems might precipitate if not monitored.

If you think they have eaten, control your urge to induce vomiting, for it may harm your dog even more. What you need to do is to consult your veterinarian immediately to prevent further health damage. 

At the end of the day, it’s best to clean up your environment because even if pinecones are not eaten or swallowed by dogs, it can still become a problem.


Image credits – Canva


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