A dog with a concerned expression looking at pine cones, indicating it's toxic for dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Pine Cones?

No, dogs should not eat pine cones. Pine cones can be very harmful to dogs due to their sharp edges and potential for causing blockages in the digestive system. Additionally, pine cones are not digestible, and ingesting them can lead to serious health risks like gastrointestinal irritation or punctures.

A photo of Stefan Stumpfl, the co-author of this article.

By Stefan Stumpfl, in collaboration with Dr. Ali Raza.

Updated on Jun 24, 2024

Did You Know?

Pine cones may initially appear as fun toys for dogs, but they pose serious health risks if chewed and ingested.

Pine Cones



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Allergic Risk


Why Are Pine Cones Bad for Dogs?

Pine cones are dangerous because they can cause physical injuries to a dog's mouth, throat, and digestive tract. The sharp scales of the cones can lead to cuts or abrasions. If swallowed, pine cones can create blockages, and the rough texture can irritate the intestines. Additionally, some pine cones might contain toxic sap or pesticides, making them even more hazardous.

How Many Pine Cones Can Dogs Eat?

Ideally, dogs should not eat any pine cones. Even a small amount can pose significant risks, including gastrointestinal distress and possible blockage. Always keep an eye on your dog, especially in areas where pine cones are abundant, to prevent accidental ingestion.

Common Misconceptions

There's a myth that chewing on pine cones can help clean a dog's teeth. While chewing can sometimes be good for dental health, pine cones are not suitable for this purpose. They can break apart and splinter, causing more harm than good.

Similar Toxic Products

Pine cones aren't the only natural hazards out there. Be cautious of the following:

  • Acorns: Just like pine cones, acorns can cause intestinal blockages and contain tannins, which are toxic to dogs.
  • Walnuts: These can cause digestive issues and sometimes harbor mold that produces toxins harmful to your dog.
  • Fruit Pits and Seeds: Common examples include peach pits and apple seeds, which contain cyanide compounds.

What to Do If Your Dog Eats a Pine Cone?

If your dog eats a pine cone, call your vet immediately. Do not attempt to induce vomiting or give medication without professional guidance, as this could worsen the situation. Quick professional intervention is crucial.

Signs and Symptoms of Pine Cone Poisoning in Dogs

Keep an eye out for the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Obstructed bowel movements
  • Abdominal pain

How Long After Eating Pine Cones Will a Dog Get Sick?

Symptoms can appear within hours to a day after ingestion, but it varies depending on the size of the pine cone and the dog.

When to Contact Your Vet for Advice?

Contact your vet as soon as you notice your dog has ingested a pine cone or if any of the symptoms above appear.

How to Treat Pine Cone Poisoning in Dogs

Immediate veterinary care is essential. The vet may perform X-rays or ultrasounds to determine if there is a blockage. Treatments can include inducing vomiting, giving activated charcoal, or even surgery in severe cases. Recovery time can vary, but close monitoring is essential during the healing process.

There are costs involved in these treatments, ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, especially if surgery is required. This underscores the importance of having pet insurance to offset unexpected veterinary expenses.

What Are Healthy Alternatives?

Instead of pine cones, consider these safe alternatives for chewing and play:

  • Rubber Chew Toys: Durable and safe for dental health.
  • Raw Carrots: A healthy, crunchy treat that's easy on the stomach.
  • Kongs: Can be filled with treats and provide engaging play.


Pine cones are a no-go for dogs due to the risk of physical injury and toxic exposure. Always consult with your vet if your dog has specific health issues or dietary needs. Stick to safe and healthy alternatives to keep your furry friend happy and healthy.