Breadseed poppy is highly toxic for dogs

Papaver somniferum highly toxic

Breadseed poppy is an annual plant that can reach 40 cm to 1.4 metres in height. Its flowers have a diameter of 4-6 cm and they can range from white to yellow, pink to purple. The flowering period is in summer from July to August. The stem of the opium poppy is very hairy and the slightly feathery grey-green leaves are oval. The breadseed poppy belongs to the poppy family (Papaveraceae).

Breadseed (opium) poppy is one of the oldest cultivated plants and has long been used as a painkilling medicinal plant. The white milky latex contains many alkaloids, the best known being morphine, codeine and narcotine. Opium poppy varieties with a high morphine content are used to produce opium and morphine. Heroin, however, can also be produced from opium poppies. The varieties of the opium poppy that contain little morphine are used to obtain poppy seeds for the oil and baking industries.

There is therefore both legal cultivation for the production of medicinal or food products and illegal cultivation for the extraction of opium. The United Kingdom does not require a license for opium poppy cultivation, but does for extracting opium for medicinal products. In the United States, opium poppies and poppy straw are prohibited.

Legal relative: Common poppy

The common poppy is closely related to the opium poppy and easy to confuse.

Breadseed poppy is also known as:
  • Opium poppy
Field of white opium poppies

What should I do if my dog ate Breadseed poppy?

How toxic is Breadseed poppy?

Toxicity:highly toxic (highly toxic)
Toxic parts:All parts of the opium poppy are poisonous, but the highest amount of poison is contained in the milky latex from the seed pod and stem.
Toxic time:-
If your dog shows symptoms of poisoning, it is always an emergency! Time is critical for your dog's life. You should immediately call your vet or the animal emergency services and make sure that a vet is on site and then go there immediately. For the treatment, it helps the vet a lot to know what your dog has ingested.

Occurrence Breadseed poppy

Plant species:flower, Garden and wild plant
Occurrence:Fields and farmland, Gardens, Meadows
Areas:Asia, Europe
Flowering time:summer
Fruit ripening:summer, autumn


Symptoms of opium poppy poisoning in dogs may include:

  • respiratory difficulties, shortness of breath
  • agitation
  • stomach and intestinal problems such as: nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea
  • constriction of the pupils
  • drowsiness, tiredness
  • cramps, tremors
  • slower heartbeat and breathing, lower blood pressure
  • death due to respiratory paralysis


The vet will always try to remove the ingested poison from the body and alleviate the specific symptoms of poisoning.

There are different methods to remove the poison from the body:

1. ACTIVATED CHARCOAL: Activated charcoal can absorb toxins. If possible, it should be administered within 2 hours after ingestion of the poison, so that the toxin does not enter the bloodstream.
2. LAXATIVES: The vet may combine the administration of activated charcoal with a laxative.
3. VOMITING: The vet can also induce vomiting using medication to remove the toxin from the body. 

If the dog has respiratory difficulties, the vet will consider artificial respiration to sustain breathing. In addition, the vet may give infusions and medication to stabilise the heart and against muscle spasms.

More information on dog poisonings can be found here: 

Preventing, identifying and treating poisoning in dogs

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