Horse chestnut is toxic for dogs

Aesculus hippocastanum toxic

The horse chestnut is a deciduous tree that grows up to 25 metres high. Characteristic are the long, fingered leaf stalks with 5-7 leaves per leaf stalk.

The flowers consist of white, yellow or red cone-shaped panicles.

The fruits are chestnuts, which are in initially green and later brown spiny capsules. The seeds, i.e. the chestnuts, are brown.

All parts of the horse chestnut are poisonous to dogs, but especially the immature chestnuts and the still green chestnut shells. They contain toxic saponins that are poisonous to dogs. At the same time, the chestnuts can be attacked by a fungus that is very poisonous for dogs.

Dogs should not play with branches or twigs of the horse chestnut.

Horse chestnut is also known as:
  • horse-chestnut
  • European horsechestnut
  • buckeye
  • conker tree
  • Spanish chestnut
Horse chestnut in blossom

What should I do if my dog ate Horse chestnut?

How toxic is Horse chestnut?

Toxicity:toxic (toxic)
Toxic parts:All parts of the horse chestnut are poisonous to dogs, but especially the immature chestnuts and the still green chestnut shells.
Toxic time:winter, spring, summer, autumn
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 Horse chestnut

Plant species:tree
Occurrence:Avenues, Gardens, Parks, Forests
Flowering time:spring, summer
Fruit ripening:autumn


The following symptoms can occur in the case of poisoning with horse chestnut:

  • vomiting
  • stomach pain
  • diarrhoea
  • dehydration

In the case of very severe poisoning with horse chestnut, the following symptoms may occur:

  • restlessness and trembling
  • dilated pupils
  • disturbances of consciousness
  • movement disorders
  • paralysis
  • coma
  • shortness of breath may occur
  • in very severe cases, respiratory paralysis can lead to death


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. 

To alleviate the symptoms of poisoning, the vet can give infusions or, in case of shortness of breath, give artificial respiration with oxygen. Anticonvulsants and blood transfusions can also be useful.

More information on dog poisonings can be found here: 

Preventing, identifying and treating poisoning in dogs


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