Can Dogs Eat Pine Cones?

Christmas decorations are incomplete without the presence of a pine tree. This tree, mainly growing in cold climates, is usually adorned with lights and ornaments.

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With the holiday season around us, you might see some edible decorations that humans can consume, such as pine needles and pine cones.

Today, kitchens have innovated pine cones as part of the diet. Most people bake pine cones or grill them with shrimp or salmon cubes.

They are undeniably delicious. But could dogs satiate and experience the goodness that pine cone brings to their tongues? Can dogs eat pine cones?

This question remains to be unanswered. But one thing is sure that, through this article, we will discover the nature of pine cones, their suitability for your dog’s diet.

Plus, we provide ways on how to prepare them safely for your dogs!

What is Pine Cone?

Pinecone is a coniferous fruit that consists of several scales. Each scale has a central woody axis surrounded by seeds, primarily found in the Northern Hemisphere.

Scientifically, pine cones are seed cones, fruits that are produced by pine trees.

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The overall shape of a pine cone is circular, with scales that are broad and flattened. The scales may be small or large, but they all have an up-and-down arrangement around the central seed axis.

Each scale has a spine on its upper side connected to it from the base of another scale. Thus, the scales of a pine cone are primarily symmetrical, except that they have varying sizes and shapes.

Resinous materials found in twigs and leaves hold the seeds in the pine cone. The resin protects and waterproofs the cone while it contains substances like terpenes to repel insects and prevent disease-causing fungi from attacking the plant’s tissues.

Pine resin is also used to make turpentine, which has several applications in industry and medicine.

Food family of Pine Cone

Pinecone belongs to the food family of Pinaceae. This food family comprises evergreen trees and shrubs known for their tasty pine nuts called “seed cones” or “pine cones.”

These plants can be either conical or needle-shaped, depending on the species.

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There are about 50 genera in the Pinaceae family which has more than 600 different types of species.

The most common types of pine trees are the Scots Pine, Lodgepole Pine, and Pinyon Pine.

The Pinaceae family has been commonly used as a food source and medicinal plant since the early days of human civilization.

Pine nuts are often used in cooking, either toasted or raw. They can be eaten separately, but they’re also commonly used as ingredients for various dishes such as pesto sauce, salads, and desserts like ice cream.

Can dogs eat Pine Cone?

Yes, dogs can eat pine cones. However, this should only be done in moderation, and you must ensure that your dog does not get ahold of unprocessed cones because they may contain substances that are toxic to the canine species.

Pine cones have very little nutritional value, but it is still beneficial to dogs in small amounts.

It is filled with carbohydrates from the tree’s sap, which are great for energy boosts.

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When dogs eat pine cones improperly, the fruit could bring upon symptoms of digestive problems, such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Your dog may also experience a loss of appetite and a lack of energy.

Pine cones contain sugar or starch, but these are not considered harmful to dogs because they have a low glycemic index.

That’s why to launch a promising start. But, first, we prepare the best ways to feed your dogs with pine cones:

Best Ways to Feed your Dogs with Pine Cone

Use pine cones as toppings. 

If you want to serve memorable oatmeal or a tasty bowl of soup, pine cone toppings are a great idea.

Just make sure that there is no resin on the fruit and never feed your dog with raw cones because they may contain substances that can be toxic to dogs.

Bake Pine Cone Biscuits for Your Dogs

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If you want to prepare an easy-to-make treat for your dogs, a pine cone biscuit is a way to go.

All you need are some flour, salt, and baking powder, then mix them with melted butter or cooking oil.

You can also throw in some pumpkin puree into this mixture for added flavor!

Gather all nuts hidden inside the pine cone

The nuts of a pine cone are edible. Hence, if you ever find some nuts inside the pine cone, gather them and feed your dogs with them.

This is a great way to eliminate all the seeds usually left behind after eating raw pine cones.

Reasons Why Dogs Can Eat Pine Cone

Pine cones are not only mere decorations during the Christmas season. Throughout the year, this food also has goodness your dog can benefit from:

Pine cones help weight loss.

If your dog is overweight, a pine cone can help shed some pounds! Pine cones contain fibers that are good for digestion, and they will make sure all the nutrients of food get absorbed into your pet’s body.

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Fiber also makes them feel full, so they won’t devour too much when eating their meals.

Pine cones have anti-inflammatory properties.

It is a known fact that pine cones have anti-inflammatory effects, which can help ease arthritis symptoms and alleviate pain.

It also helps your dog’s joints recover from wear and tear, preventing them from developing osteoarthritis as they get older.

Pine Cones have detoxifying qualities.

The dietary fiber found in pine cones can help detoxify your dog’s body. It can get rid of harmful substances and toxins that might accumulate in their bodies over time, helping prevent them from developing various diseases such as arthritis and cancer.

Pine Cone has antibacterial properties.

It may look like a pine cone is just another decoration on the Christmas tree, but it contains antibacterial properties that can help fight off various bacterial infections.

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There are also antifungal and antiviral benefits of pine cones which is why they’re used as ingredients in many disinfectants, ointments, and creams.

Possible Concerns When Eating Pine Cone

Not all dogs have an equal standpoint when it comes to table diet. For instance, a pine cone could trigger your dog’s health status rather than improving it.

So, we list down possible health concerns your dog may experience:

Food poisoning

Pine cones are not only filled with sugar and starch, but it is also known to contain some substances that can be harmful to dogs.

The presence of yeast may cause food poisoning symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea, so avoid feeding raw pine cones unless you want your dog to suffer from a sudden illness.

Allergic reaction 

Some breeds of dogs have hypersensitivity to pine cone’s components. It can affect their nervous system and trigger a series of allergic reactions such as skin rashes, itchiness, or even breathing difficulties.

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Lead poisoning 

When you feed your dog with raw pine cones, they may swallow tiny bits of resin. Resins are known as toxic, and they can cause serious health concerns such as lead poisoning.

If you suspect that your dog has swallowed resin, the first thing to do is bring them to a veterinarian immediately.

Signs your dog is sick from eating Pine Cone

Short-term warnings imply that you have to bring and consult your dog to a vet ASAP. Here are some signs your dog is sick from eating pine cones:

Vomit with Undigested Pine Cone in It 

If you notice some pine cones in your dog’s vomit, they may have ingested too much of the forbidden fruit.

It would be difficult to know how serious their situation is because there might also be other causes for vomiting, such as eating something disgusting or even an illness.

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If you find stools with bits and pieces of the pine cone, they might have diarrhea. The most common symptom of this condition is runny stools or loose bowel movement that can be watery in consistency, yellowish with a bit of blood, or mucus-like.

Difficulty in Breathing 

If your dog suddenly experiences difficulty breathing after eating pine cones, it may mean they’re experiencing respiratory issues.

It can be accompanied by other symptoms such as coughing or wheezing, resulting from inflammation in their bronchial tubes and lungs.

What to do if your dog is sick from eating Pine Cone?

Don’t let a day pass by when your dog suffers from signs of sickness. Instead, bring them to a vet and let the expert analyze what’s going on as soon as possible.

Your dog may have suffered from food poisoning or other dangerous conditions that can be treated immediately without further delays.

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In addition, they might need antibiotics to fight off infection since pine cones have bacterial properties, which means it is not safe for dogs after all.

So, when you have the chance to speak with your vet, please let him know about the history, condition, and development of your dog’s illness.

Avoid similar foods from this family.

Pine needles

Pine cones may contain yew which is a common ingredient in insecticides. Even if it does not work on dogs, the substance can cause serious health concerns such as vomiting and diarrhea, so avoid having them eat pine needles or cones with yews inside.


If you have larch trees around your house, keep an eye out for their fallen branches. They have toxic substances that can cause severe symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, or even seizures.

Pine Pollen

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Pollen is a light powder that comes from pine trees. Ingesting too much of it can cause allergic reactions such as skin rashes, itchiness, and difficulty breathing, which may require antibiotics to treat the infection caused by these substances.

How to Make Pine Cone Safe To Eat

Before we close our curtains and call it a day, we thank you for getting to the last part of this article.

As our kit of gratitude, we prepared effective ways on how to design safe pine cones to feed to your dogs:

Wash pine cones properly.

The first thing to do is wash them properly. You can also scrape off the outer bark of pine cones since it’s not suitable for dogs after all, and make sure you get rid of any sharp edge to avoid harm in case they decide to chew on it.

Boil Pine Cone

Instead, boil pine cones at least three times before giving them to your dogs. Make sure you remove all the resin after cooking it, so they don’t get sick because this substance is hazardous for canines.

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Bake Pine Cone 

Another option would be to bake pine cones before letting your dog eat them if there are no other options made available by vets since baking helps kill bacteria that can cause harm to your dogs.

However, if the fruit tastes bitter after baking it, don’t let them eat any of it since a strong flavor means there’s more pine resin present, which is toxic for their health.

Pack Pine Cone in Your Dog’s Snack Bag 

Last but not least would be packing small pieces of pine cones in your dog’s snack bag. Again, if you have a small breed, this is the best option for now since they can pack their favorite snacks, including those from the pine cone family, and eat them as soon as hunger strikes.

Key Takeaways

There’s a spirit inside each of us that increases excitement when we see Christmas decorations being in place on our walls, especially when we see the erection of a pine tree as a Christmas tree.

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Yet, there’s more than we have to get excited about: that parts of a pine tree are edible and ready to eat — like pine cones! And it’s best to share it with dogs!

To recap, dogs can eat pine cones. Pine cones have very little nutritional value, but it is still beneficial to dogs in small amounts.

This food improves weight loss, carries anti-inflammatory properties, provides detoxifying qualities, and engenders antibacterial properties for your dog’s health.

However, this should only be done in moderation, and you must ensure that your dog does not get a hold of unprocessed cones.

Otherwise, your dog may suffer from food poisoning, allergic reaction, or lead poisoning that may affect your dog’s vomiting of the undigested pine cone, occurrence of diarrhea, and difficulty in breathing.

In this holiday season, may we give love to our dogs by taking care and being responsible with their diet!

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