Are Pine Cones Good or Bad for Dogs? This Explains

A German Shepherd Dog lying in the grass with a pinecone.

Dogs like to chew on things and use their senses of taste and smell to learn more about the world around them.

If your dog comes across a pine cone, he may scoop it up to chew on or eat, but it’s not something you should allow. 

Are pinecones bad for dogs? Pinecones are not toxic to dogs, but they are still dangerous if eaten. Pinecones are not easily digested, and their edges can be very sharp. Consumed pinecones could scrape the stomach and intestinal lining during digestion or cause an intestinal blockage.

If your dog has found a pine cone or a lot of pine cones around your home and you are worried that playing with them may lead to trouble, read on to learn more about how they affect dogs.

Dogs and Pine Cones – What To Know

It’s common for dogs and puppies to chew on things they find. Pine cones may seem like a good option for chewing because they are natural.

However, pine cones can be dangerous to dogs if swallowed, so it’s a good idea to monitor your dog closely any time he’s around pine cones. 

Why Do Dogs Like Pine Cones?

Dogs like pine cones because they are curious about new things. Pine cones may also have a smell or texture that is interesting to dogs.

Dogs learn about things by sniffing and tasting them, so they may sniff, lick, or chew pine cones to figure them out.

Are Pine Cones Toxic to Dogs?

Unlike many other plants and plant parts, pine cones are not toxic to dogs, but pine oil, pine sap, and pine needles can be.

The pine oil, sap, and needles can be attached to the pine cones, which would cause them to make the dog sick if swallowed.

Can Pine Cones Kill Dogs?

Pine cones can kill dogs if they are swallowed. Pine cones are not toxic, but the sap, needles, and oils that stick to them can poison a dog if consumed.

Small amounts could cause an upset stomach and lethargy, but large amounts could be fatal.

The shape of pine cones also makes them dangerous for dogs. They can easily fit down a dog’s throat and cause them to choke or cause a blockage in the intestines.

The razor sharp edges could cut your dog’s mouth easily, even if the dog doesn’t actively chew on it at all.

Is It Okay for Dogs To Chew on Pine Cones?

You should not let your dog chew on pine cones. The sharp ends could wreak havoc on your dog’s sensitive mouth.

The oil, sap, and needles on the pinecones could poison them, and the small pieces could break up and cause them to choke or get lodged in the intestines and cause digestive problems.

Is It Okay for Dogs To Play With Pine Cones?

Dogs can play with pine cones as long as they don’t keep them in their mouths for long periods of time, chew, or swallow them.

Playing fetch, batting them around, and playing keep-away are sometimes okay, but always monitor your dog carefully whenever he is playing with or near pine cones to ensure he doesn’t chew them. 

A Cocker Spaniel running along a dirt road with a pinecone in her mouth.

Potential Pine Cone Hazards

Pine cones themselves are not toxic to dogs, but there are some potential hazards you should be aware of before you allow your dog to play with them.

Choking

Small pine cones may fit in a dog’s throat and get stuck. Small pieces can also break off. If your dog is chewing on a pine cone, it could swallow pieces or the entire pine cone and become choked. 

Intestinal Blockages

If the dog does manage to swallow a pine cone, he may not be able to digest it. The pine cone could get stuck in the dog’s intestine and cause a blockage, which could be dangerous.

Pine Toxicity

While pine cones are not toxic to dogs, pine oil, pine sap, and pine needles are. Where you find pine cones, you will also find the others.

If your dog eats or licks a pine cone, he could ingest these toxic parts and become sick.

Physical Injuries

Pine cones can be sharp, and they also attract insects.

If your dog eats or plays with a pine cone, there is a chance a sharp piece could cut him, or an insect hiding inside could sting or bite your dog.

What To Do If Your Dog Ate a Pine Cone

If your dog has eaten a pine cone, you should call your veterinarian immediately. The vet may ask you to bring the dog in or may tell you what to watch for while you monitor him.

Provide plenty of fresh water while monitoring your dog for any signs of a problem. You should also remove all the pine cones and needles from your yard and, if possible, remove the pine tree.

There’s always a chance your dog could eat a pine cone in the future if you leave them around your yard.

How To Stop Your Dog From Eating Pine Cones

The best way to prevent your dog from eating pine cones is to keep all the pine cones out of your yard. You can remove the tree or remove the pine cones and needles regularly.

If your dog is in an area where there are pine cones, be sure to keep a close eye on him and do not let him chew on or play with pine cones.

You could easily train your dog to not touch pine cones if you live in an area where they will always be a hazard.

Related Questions: 

Why Do Dogs Chew on Sticks?

Dogs like to chew on sticks because of the texture and even perhaps the flavor. They may also chew on them just because they can.

If a dog finds a stick, he may chew on it out of curiosity, and puppies may chew on sticks because it relieves discomfort during teething.

Are Deer Antlers Safe for Dogs Teeth?

Deer antlers are not toxic to dogs and contain nutrients that can actually be good for them, but there is always a chance that the dog could bite off and swallow small pieces.

The pieces could cause bowel obstructions or even cut the bowels or stomach and cause internal bleeding.

Wrapping It Up 

Pine cones may not be toxic for dogs, but that doesn’t mean that they are safe. If you have pine cones in your yard, monitor your dog closely to ensure he doesn’t eat or chew on them.

If you decide to allow your dog to play with the pine cones, ensure he doesn’t swallow them.