Food & Diet
The Most Toxic Foods Your Dog Should Never Have
Even though we are tempted to feed our pets all of our yummy human food, we have to be careful. This is because many foods that you wouldn’t think are harmful, are in fact very poisonous to dogs. I was very surprised by how many foods that would seem benign can cause our little furry friends an emergency visit to the vet.
Below I will list the foods most commonly asked if harmful to dogs.
Dogs should never be given any alcohol, whether it’s wine, beer or liquor. Dogs weigh considerably less than us and their livers are not equipped to handle alcohol in the way that we do. If dogs consume too much it could lead to coma or even death.
Signs to look for if a dog has alcohol poisoning:
- Slowed movement or difficulty walking
- Increased thirst and urination
- Slowed breathing
What is Xylitol and which products contain it?
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that has a crystalline, granular structure with a sweetness comparable to sugar. It is used in many common food products that we aren’t aware of. These products include certain gums, sugar-free foods, toothpaste, mouthwash and many types of OTC medicine. The Pet Poison Helpline cites gum as the source of nearly 80% of cases involving xylitol.
Why is Xylitol poisonous to dogs?
When a dog ingests Xylitol it is quickly released into the bloodstream and causes a massive spike in insulin. This puts a lot of stress on the dog’s pancreas and can cause many harmful side effects.
Xylitol Side Effects on Dogs:
- Acute weakness
Grapes & Raisins
It is yet unknown the exact chemical in grapes that causes it to be so harmful but we know it is extremely toxic to dogs. No matter what kind or size of dog you have, grapes and raisins should never be fed to your dog. The toxicity in grapes can cause kidney damage and sudden failure.
Signs to look for if your dog ingested grapes or raisins:
- Loss of appetite
Avocados are marketed as one of the healthiest fruits for us but unfortunately the same does not go for our dogs. Avocados contain persin which is the ingredient that is toxic to canines. Let’s not forget about the giant seed in the middle which could be a choking hazard and intestinal blocking.
Signs to look for if your dog has eaten too much avocado:
- Vomiting (this is a sign of GI obstruction)
This is the most commonly known food that is toxic to our pets but I wanted to include it on this list just for safe measure. You can’t be too safe when it comes to our dogs, who love to eat everything in sight.
Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, which can cause our dog’s heart rate to rapidly increase and affect their nervous system.
Signs of chocolate poisoning usually appear within 6 to 12 hours after your dog has eaten it, may last up to 72 hours
Signs of chocolate poisoning:
- Collapse and death
Onions & Garlic
These are one of the lesser toxic foods on our list. A small amount of onions can be consumed by dogs safely but is dangerous in larger amounts. It builds toxins in the dog’s system which can cause many unwanted side effects. It’s best to just stay away from onions and garlic to be safe (plus, their breath will be much more pleasant).
Side effects to look for:
- Decreased appetite
Coffee & Caffeine
Your dog wakes up groggy in the early morning and can’t quite seem to wake up to start playing fetch for the day. So you brew him/her a nice hot dog bowl of coffee to start the day (how sweet of you). Sorry, I couldn’t help it, the imagery alone just makes me laugh. But all joking aside, don’t do this!
Caffeine is very dangerous for dogs. Dogs are much more sensitive to it then we are. It has a similar effect that chocolate does. It increases their heart rate and affects their nervous system.
Signs your dog has had too much caffeine:
- Elevated Heart Rate
The main part of the cherry is okay for dogs but the other parts such as the stem and pit contain cyanide. Cyanide disrupts cellular oxygen transport which means that your dog’s blood cells can’t get enough oxygen. So it’s best to just avoid cherries altogether since there are much healthier fruits you can give to your dog.
Signs your dog has cherry poisoning:
- Difficulty breathing
- Red gums
- Dilated pupils
There are thousands of different types of mushrooms out there and only about a hundred of them are toxic to dogs. Certain types of mushrooms are extremely poisonous with even a small amount ingested. Generally, mushrooms sold in grocery stores are safe but instead of having to memorize all the mushrooms that are safe for your dog. I advise to just stay away from them.
Signs of mushroom toxicity:
- Weakness and Lethargy
If you suspect that your dog has eaten any of the following foods, please note the amount ingested and contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
If there are any other foods that most dog owners don’t know are poisonous, please share in the comments below so we can make sure our dogs are eating healthy and safe foods.
The Dog Diet Answer Book
The Dog Diet Answer Book will help you to better understand your fur baby’s dietary needs and help you to discover if addressing some of the health problems that he’s been having is as simple as changing the type of food that he’s eating, how many calories he’s consuming, or adding a bit more moisture to his fare.
- Food & Diet